Thursday, July 06, 2006

With the latest revelations about Prescott in the last 24 hours, we now know he did try to press the case for Greenwich to host the Supercasino at the Dome. As I said yesterday, I am far from happy that this has tainted the Greenwich bid with allegations of improper influence, and may actually have damaged our chances of getting the licence.

I have now written to the Leader of Greenwich Council, Chris Roberts, expressing my anger at the behaviour of his Party's Deputy Leader. My letter is as follows:

'Dear Chris,

The recent media focus on John Prescott and his role in the bid for the 'Supercasino' to be sited in Greenwich has caused me some concern.

Many people - myself included - believe a casino at the Dome will be a huge boost to the regeneration of the peninsula, and bring great benefits to Greenwich. But I am sure you agree it is vitally important that the Casino bidding process is seen as fair and above-board.

John Prescott's clumsy and ill-advised interventions have tainted Greenwich's bid, and my great fear is that they could actually damage our chances of winning the licence. If we do win, we want to win on the merits of the arguments, not be said to have benefited from private influence the Deputy Prime Minister may have had.

I would be interested to know what contacts or discussions you or Council officers have had with Mr Prescott or his officials on the specific subject of the Anschutz bid. I note that you feature in TV coverage of his visit to the Dome site last year, and I am sure the media will be seeking this sort of information themselves. I would hope the Council could show itself to be more forthcoming than Mr Prescott has been in volunteering such information willingly.

I look forward to hearing from you. I will be informing the press later today that I have written to you on this matter.

Nigel Fletcher'

I gather from his out-of-office email reply that Cllr. Roberts is away at present, but I await his reply on his return with interest.

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