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Monday, 21 February, 2000, 13:08 GMT
Dome an 'embarrassment' say Tories

PC exhibits deter the public say the Tories


Labour are responsible for turning the Millennium Dome into a "source of national embarrassment", say the Conservatives.

The Tory's fresh assault on the government's handling of the showcase project comes ahead of a Commons debate on the Dome on Monday evening.

The shadow culture secretary, Peter Ainsworth, will open an opposition debate in which the Tories will argue that ministerial meddling is responsible for the project's current crisis of confidence.

Mr Ainsworth will also tell the House that the Dome's poor attendance figures are the result of exhibits that are politically correct but which mean nothing to anyone.


Peter Ainsworth: The Dome is suffering from meddling
He will add that children can still have a good time in the Dome, but he thinks they can have more fun in a theme park and learn more in a museum.

Despite their criticism of the dome, the Conservatives still support the concept, an initiative of the previous Tory government, but they say its only chance of becoming more successful is if there's less ministerial interference.

The government has already responded to the attacks by saying the work of the New Millennium Experience Company, operators of the dome, and other millennium activities represent an excellent celebration for the country and a tangible and enduring legacy for future generations.

But the Dome is so far failing to get sufficient visitors and has resorted to screening sport events in an attempt to get more people to its Greenwich site.

The decision to schow England's Six Nations rugby match against France last week came after the appointment of new Dome chief Pierre-Yves Gerbeau who ministers are hoping will breath new life into the already ailing attraction.

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18 Feb 00 |  UK
Dome shows rugby to tackle crisis
07 Feb 00 |  UK
New Dome chief outlines vision

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