BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: UK
Front Page 
World 
UK 
England 
Northern Ireland 
Scotland 
Wales 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 

Sunday, 16 November, 1997, 16:54 GMT
The transcript of Tony Blair's meeting with Bernie Ecclestone
Tony Blair has published notes of his meeting with Formula One bosses at Downing Street on October 16, 1997.

The development is part of his response to criticism of his handling of events which saw the revelation of a 1m donation from Bernie Ecclestone to Labour Party funds, at the same time as the Government's decision to exempt Formula One from a proposed ban on tobacco advertising and sponsorship.

The notes state that apart from the Private Secretary, the meeting was attended by Mr Blair, Formula One's Max Mosley, Bernie Ecclestone and David Ward, and Mr Blair's Chief of Staff, Jonathan Powell.

Notes from the Prime Minister's Private Secretary

Prime Minister

You asked for a typed version of my handwritten notes of the meeting with Max Mosley and Bernie Ecclestone. This follows:

The meeting raised no new issues of substance that had not previously been discussed between the FIA and Government and therefore no formal minute was made. However, for completeness and accuracy, the text below includes (in bold) my recollection of points made during the meeting, but not included in my handwritten notes. Of necessity, however, this is not an exhaustive account.

"HANDWRITTEN NOTES BY PRIVATE SECRETARY OF MEETING ON OCTOBER 16, 1997

Present:
Prime Minister
Max Mosley
Bernie Ecclestone
David Ward
Jonathan Powell
Private Secretary

MM: Proposals for EC Directive put forward by Luxembourg Presidency make no sense. If F1 leaves Europe, you will get more, not less sponsorship on TV. A perverse consequence. Subsidiarity suggested national legislation better anyway.

Great pressure for F1 to (move) to Far East. Ran through list of countries wanting a Grand Prix. Tobacco companies building circuits. Had been to see Tessa Jowell and Tony Banks. Not sure if we understood.

PM: Don't need persuading about basic case in favour of F1. But also in favour of a ban on tobacco ads. Asked why we were pursuing a directive, not national legislation?

PS: Because it is best way of getting ban quickly.

BE: FIA has made F1 every hi-tech. If tobacco money goes, lose this. He has put a lot of effort into developing TV. Digital technology coming. TV will go with the races.

PS: Can you not find alternative sponsors? eg car manufacturers.

BE: No. (They do not have the resources.)

PS: Did you realise Directive had four year phase-in. Would not come into effect for another two years, so six or so in all. (No response).

BE: Met Kohl (in Luxembourg) and Prodi. They agree with us that it is impractical Directive and will say so.

PM: Why do other countries not see the problem?

BE and DW: some of them do, which is why we cannot understand why they are arguing for the directive. Italy had ban in place, but it did not stop GP taking place. At beginning of GP weekend the organisers paid a fine of about 10,000 dollars and that was the end of it.

PS: Not unusual for Health Ministers in other countries to take hard stance on this.

DW: What about other sports? eg motorbikes.

PM: do other sports have the same scale of dependence? (general discussion: some did have tobacco sponsorship, but not on same scale)

PM: Thank you for coming in. Recognise the problems. We would think about what they had said."

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

Links to more UK stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more UK stories