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May supports Yorkshire World Road Championships bid

Theresa May

Theresa May, by DFID, Licence CC BY 2.0

Prime Minister Theresa May is backing Yorkshire's bid to host the 2019 World Road Championships. Her support was set out in an article published in the Yorkshire Post yesterday.

The article, headlined 'Theresa May: My vision for Yorkshire's bright future', and apparently written by May, states: 'So today I can announce that we have backed a Yorkshire-led bid to bring cycling's World Road Championships to Britain. This week, British Cycling's bid to hold the event in Yorkshire was delivered to the sport's governing body, the UCI. The Government will underwrite the event and back it with £24m of investment so that we can get even more people to visit the region. Our backing will include £15m for cycling infrastructure projects, to encourage even greater participation in the sport and continue the proud legacy that has seen our athletes excel at the Rio Games.'

On a first reading, it seems that there is £24m for the event, and another £15m for cycling infrastructure projects. However, the use of the word 'include' could mean that the £15m is part of the £24m, not in addition to it. It's not clear.

British Cycling's article about the bid offers some further clues about the £15m. It says, 'The bid promises to not only deliver a world class cycle race but also a £15 million package of nationwide investment to further develop cycling facilities, inspiring the nation to get on bikes.' British Cycling president Bob Howden is quoted as follows, 'Backed by substantial government investment, our bid promises not only to host the biggest UCI Road World Championships in history, it will secure new facilites across the country to ensure that even more people get to experience British Cycling programmes and opportunities to get on their bikes.'

May's piece includes some general warm sentiments about Yorkshire: 'But Yorkshire doesn't just have industrial strengths - it is also naturally and architecturally beautiful. It has the stunning landscapes of the Dales, the North York Moors and the East Riding. That's why we are backing rural tourism and events like the Yorkshire Festival.'

It's clearly better that the Prime Minister should make positive noises about Yorkshire, rather than saying that it's a fleapit which will never amount to anything. Nevertheless, it's nothing more than flannel designed to get Yorkshire people onside. When David Cameron wrote a similar piece about the joys of Yorkshire in March this year, it transpired that he had written very similar articles for other local newspapers in Cornwall, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, and Northumberland, with just a few details and place names changed.

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Chris Grayling

Chris Grayling, by LadyGeekTV, Flickr, Licence CC BY-ND 2.0

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Andrew Jones MP with Chris Boardman

Andrew Jones MP with Chris Boardman, by Carlton Reid, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

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