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Casino plans “a shambles” as Lords reject plans

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29/03/2007

Culture, Media and Sport minister Tessa Jowell is considering her options after peers rejected the Government’s plans for 17 new casinos, including the first ‘super-casino’ planned for Manchester.

Jowell said there was “no plan B” for the proposal, which was backed by MPs and, although she could force through the proposals, despite the wishes of the Lords, it would take many months at the least.

On the other hand, she could reconsider the scheme, including the decision to award the super-casino to Manchester, and take a fresh look at the entire issue, which has caused controversy across the country, especially from the anti-gambling lobby.

Tory Lord Strathclyde said that ministers were wholly to blame for the “shambles” of the casino proposals and accused the Government of launching an initiative that has descended into “chaos”.

Other peers, especially the Church of England bishops, had raised strong objections to the principle of encouraging people to gamble at all, while others were against the proposals because favourite Blackpool was denied the licence.

The wrangling between the Commons and the Lords, and within the parties themselves, on the issue has characterised much of the process of launching the casino initiative.

Manchester Labour MP Graham Stringer said: “The Tories were initially supportive of the plans but as soon as they saw there were some Labour backbenchers in the Commons likely to rebel, they completely changed their position.”

 

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