Stuart Andrew said: “It is such a shame that Leeds may no longer be able to participate in the European Capital City of Culture initiative. It is a scheme which has galvanised local communities, with people working together across Leeds to come up with exciting ideas for what could happen, if the bid were to be successful in 2023.
I have seen some absolutely fantastic work and I have made it clear to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport that I hope that they can do everything they can to change the mind of the European Commission and let us remain in the scheme.
If, however, it does prove that the decision from the European Commission stands, we must use all those ideas and put them into practice in a new project, which will showcase our culture on a truly global scale. There are so many fantastic and interesting countries in the Commonwealth, that we could start our own city of culture for all of those countries, which would be a chance for celebration in a truly inclusive new initiative.
It is so important that we do not let any of the positive energy so far go to waste and I will be channelling all my efforts into making sure Leeds’ case is heard going forward.”