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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 May, 2003, 17:53 GMT 18:53 UK
Ticket row over Sir Paul's show
Sir Paul McCartney
Sir Paul McCartney is playing Liverpool's Kings Dock on 1 June

Thousands of council staff have been able to buy tickets for Sir Paul McCartney's Liverpool show ahead of the public, it has emerged.

The tickets officially went on sale on Thursday, but 4,000 of the 5,000 tickets earmarked for a council-run hotline had been reserved by staff.

BBC Radio Merseyside has revealed an e-mail about tickets was distributed to council staff on Wednesday - Liverpool City Council's designated "no e-mail day" - for the 1 June show.

The council was allocated 5,000 tickets for the 40,000-seat show to ensure local people had a chance to get in to the show at Kings Dock.

A further 5,000 tickets were also issued to city outlet Cavern City Tours, for the same purpose.

It is understood the e-mail to council staff offered them the opportunity to order tickets for themselves, friends and family, in advance.

What we want to do is try to make sure as many of our tickets as possible go to local people
Phil Halsall, Liverpool City Council

It also stated there was "no limit" to the number staff could order, but it was stipulated that they could not be then offered for re-sale.

An hour after the tickets went on sale at 0900 BST on Thursday, it is understood all had been sold.

Callers to the main ticket line, which is selling the other 30,000 tickets, were also reportedly being told Sir Paul's UK tour is a complete sell-out.

Sir Paul's spokesman Jeff Baker said he was surprised that all the tickets for the concert had gone so quickly.

Phil Halsall, the city council's Director of Resources, has defended the council staff ticket allocation.

Extra date

He said: "The promoter has given tickets to a number of agencies and the council is one of those agencies.

"Sir Paul was determined that as many tickets as possible went to local people.

"What we decided to do with our allocation was to make them available to staff who are big fans of Sir Paul and live locally.

"What we want to do is try to make sure as many of our tickets as possible go to local people."

Mr Halsall added that he hoped that Sir Paul would add an extra Liverpool date to the tour.

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