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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 May, 2005, 20:32 GMT 21:32 UK
Mayor's 'prat' jibe over Eye row
London Eye
Mr Livingstone dismissed rumours Paris would buy the Eye
London mayor Ken Livingstone has stepped into a row over the future of the London Eye, branding the chairman of the site's landlords "a prat".

Last week the Eye's future was reported to be in doubt amid rumours of rent rises and a claim that Paris had hoped to buy it to enhance its Olympic bid.

Mr Livingstone has now attacked South Bank Centre (SBC) boss Lord Hollick following talk of possible eviction.

SBC has denied it has plans to raise the annual rent from 65,000 to 1m.

Urging Lord Hollick to step down, Mr Livingstone vowed to keep the landmark in the capital.

Dismissed rumours

Speaking to the London Assembly, he said: "Now, with the bid from France to take it over and park it in the middle of Paris for their Olympic bid, it just shows what a complete prat Lord Hollick has become and how damaging he is to Britain's interests and he should go."

He also dismissed rumours that Paris hoped to buy the Eye.

He said if the row was not resolved soon he would use his powers to ask the London Development Agency to issue a compulsory purchase order.

A spokeswoman for the Mayor said: "The London Eye is widely regarded as an iconic attraction, which has captured the imagination of people around the world and reinforced the image of London as a contemporary city.

"The Mayor is very clear about the need for a swift resolution to the confusion surrounding its location on the South Bank."

An SBC spokesman said it had nothing further to add to its original statement which said there was "no likelihood" of the Eye facing eviction.

Paris 2012 chief executive Philippe Baudillon said the city had "absolutely no interest in anything to do with the London Eye".

"It's absolute nonsense, it's laughable," he said.

London Eye 'safe from eviction'
24 May 05 |  London

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