Page last updated at 01:10 GMT, Sunday, 13 December 2009

Lord Coe rules out return to politics if Tories win

Lord Coe
Lord Coe also spoke about his athletics career on Desert Island Discs

Lord Coe has ruled out a return to the political front line if David Cameron wins the next general election.

The Conservative peer served as William Hague's chief of staff during his leadership between 1997 and 2001.

He told BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs: "I don't have any political ambitions at all."

It follows speculation that he could be invited to join a Tory government after the 2012 Olympics. Lord Coe chairs the organising committee for the Games.

The two-time Olympic gold medallist was asked whether he envisaged a future at Westminster, to which he replied: "No, I really don't."

I want to go away and do some serious writing and have the time to do that and I just don't want to combine that with politics
Lord Coe

He said during the next three years he would be "absolutely focused on delivering a great Games", adding, "even after that, no".

"I really want to go off and do some of the things that I haven't had a chance to do," said the peer.

"I want to go away and do some serious writing and have the time to do that and I just don't want to combine that with politics. I sort of feel I've done that."

Lord Coe discussed a wide range of issues during the interview, including his love of jazz and his 1980s rivalry with fellow middle distance runner Steve Ovett.

He revealed that the pair scarcely knew one another until after their competitive running was over.

Genuine secret

And the former athlete provided an insight into the moments shortly before London was named as Olympic host at the 2005 International Olympic Committee session in Singapore.

Lord Coe revealed he was called on his mobile phone by the then prime minister Tony Blair, who appeared unable to understand the result would be kept secret until the announcement.

"He couldn't actually understand, somehow, that we didn't actually know, that there were no exit polls here. We didn't know the result," recalled the peer.

"I literally had to hang up and get in there and we sat down and a few minutes later the envelope was opened."

Desert Island Discs will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 at 1115 on 13 December and be available on the BBC iPlayer for a week after. It will also be repeated at 0900 on 18 December.

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