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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 October, 2004, 10:29 GMT 11:29 UK
Plea to SNP over London Games
London 2012 flag
The bid backers say Scotland will benefit from the event
A London Olympic bid chief has urged Scotland's nationalist politicians to get behind the campaign to bring the games to England's capital in 2012.

Mike Lee's plea came after polls indicated that people north of the border were less supportive than those in the rest of the UK.

He said political unity from all politicians was important.

But SNP MP Pete Wishart said more needed to be done to convince Scots the bid was a good one for their country.

The International Olympic Committee is set to conduct a Mori poll in late November to help judge the level of national support to host the games in Britain for the first time since 1948.

But private polling by the London backers has already indicated the lukewarm approach by people in Scotland.

Lottery help

Mr Lee, communications director of the London bid, said: "The national figures would be much higher if you took out Scotland. The levels of support in Scotland are not great."

But he said support could be built and needed to be built.

Mr Lee added: "The challenge from now until July is to map out the benefits of the bid and perhaps in Scotland that will be a tougher challenge."

Mr Wishart, who is MP for North Tayside, said that, so far, it seemed that Scotland was paying while London seemed to be gaining.

He said: "This is all down to the ludicrous arrangement for paying for the London Olympics - paying for it out of a London Olympic Lottery gain which will divert something like 41.8m from our good causes."

But Mr Lee believed Scotland would benefit from Olympic preparation camps, a boost in tourism and the chance to win contracts.

Position clarified

The Scottish Executive has restated its support for London's bid.

First Minister Jack McConnell is currently in China, but a spokesman for him repeated the view that London's success would benefit Scotland in many ways.

Alastair Dempster, chairman of sportscotland, released a statement clarifying the organisation's position on bringing the Olympics to London.

He said this was contrary to the position implied by Mr Wishart in a range of media interviews on Wednesday and Thursday.

"I wish to make it quite clear that sportscotland and I believe Scottish sport as a whole, is fully behind London's bid to bring the Olympic Games to the UK in 2012," Mr Dempster said.


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