Why They Should Say Sorry Then Quit; COMMENTARY by William Hague Leader of the Conservative Party

Daily Mail (London), May 25, 2000 | Go to article overview

Why They Should Say Sorry Then Quit; COMMENTARY by William Hague Leader of the Conservative Party


Byline: WILLIAM HAGUE

EVERYONE in Britain wanted to celebrate the Millennium in style. With so much public money at stake we also wanted the Dome to be a success. But now the public has lost patience and time has finally run out for the Millennium Dome.

Sad though it is to have to say it, there can no longer be any dispute that it has been a huge financial failure. All that remains are the answers to two questions. Is any Government minister going to take responsibility for the mess? And does anybody in the Government possess enough common sense to pull the plug on further grants of public money?

The chief executive has been sacked.

Now the chairman has been sacked. But what about Peter Mandelson, the minister personally responsible for the vacuous contents of the Dome?

What about Lord Falconer, the minister personally responsible for overseeing the whole Millennium experience?

What about Chris Smith, the Culture Minister who chairs the Millennium Commission which continues to dole out the money?

This Government has mismanaged this project from the day it came into office.

It is time at least one of them apologised to the British people and then did the decent thing and resigned.

My own candidate would be Dome Secretary Lord Falconer. After all, his only qualification for ministerial office is that he once shared a student flat with Tony Blair. Instead, the Government continues to pour good money after bad. A staggering [pounds sterling]500million of public money has already been wasted on the Dome.

THIS week we learned that the Government is giving a further [pounds sterling]29million in emergency aid - money that is being taken from other causes that desperately need it.

For example, the British Olympic team travelling to Sydney in three months time is having to look for sponsorship from overseas because its lottery funding has had to be cut back.

Ask most British people if they think their money should be spent on supporting our Olympic heroes or throwing more money down a drain in Greenwich and I think we all know what the answer would be.

The Conservatives say enough is enough. …

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