Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Olympics Count Down - speech to the House of Commons on the coming Olympics

I had the opportunity to speak on the coming Olympics in the House of Commons this week. You can watch the debate by clicking on

I speak 2 hours 26 mins in

Half the world’s population will be watching the Olympics; 83% of our schools are involved in the Get Set programme, Newcastle will host nine football matches, including the men’s quarter final. I reminded my fellow MPs that these match will take place at St James’ Park, not in some place that none of us have heard of called the “Sports Direct Arena”.

I also took the chance to rise the number of business opportunity which the Olympics is bringing. Sotech in Durham, which has provided the roof cladding for the aquatics centre; Hart Door Systems Ltd, which has provided the roof shutters for the Olympic stadium; Hathaway roofing in County Durham, which has provided roof cladding for the international broadcasting centre, keeping all those 40,000 journalists nice and dry and warm; and International Paint in Newcastle, which has supplied the paint for aquatics centre.

The other good thing is that the north-east will see the torch almost more than any other region. We will have it for five days, when it will take in things such as the angel of the north in Gateshead, the Penshaw monument in Sunderland, and Hadrian’s wall. Friday 15 June will be a spectacular day—I recommend this to people above all else—because the torch will travel from the Tyne bridge to the quayside by zip wire. I have doubts about this, because I am nervous that the torch might fall into the water but they tell me that that will not happen; on Saturday 16 June, I and many of my constituents will be welcoming the torch—indeed, many of them will be carrying it—as it travels across the Hexham constituency and down into County Durham.
I am a big supporter of the East Tynedale games, which are organised by the chair of Wylam parish council and various other organisers in the Prudhoe, Wylam and Bywell region. They are having some difficulty with the rules around Olympic branding which is very tightly controlled but this won't be enough to dampen their or my enthusiasm for what will be a great chance to show of Great Britain at its best.