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BBC Wales's David Cornock
"The political deal means that Wales will get a new city in 2002."
 real 56k

Monday, 18 December, 2000, 13:58 GMT
Towns miss out on city status
Newport, south Wales
Newport's bid was backed by Welsh Secretary Paul Murphy
Six Welsh towns have lost out in the race to be named millennium cities.

The six entries - St Asaph, Aberystwyth, Wrexham, Machynlleth, Newport and Newtown - will now be automatically reconsidered in 2002.

And at least one of them is guaranteed the honour in 2002 to mark the Queen's golden jubilee.

Aberystwyth
Aberystwyth was among the six applicants
The compromise has been negotiated by the Welsh Secretary Paul Murphy who was said to have been "furious" after Wales was left out of the original plans.

"This is good news for Wales and splendid news for the new city, whichever it will be," he said.

In October 1998, Home Secretary Jack Straw announced that the Queen intended to mark both the millennium and the 50th anniversary of her accession to the throne - her Golden Jubilee in 2002 - by grants of city status.

While successful applicants stand to receive no extra royal or governmental privileges they can realistically hope for an economic boost from the kudos of becoming a city.

Two towns in England - Brighton and Hove and Wolverhampton - and Inverness in Scotland, will become new cities.

Paul Murphy
Welsh Secretary Paul Murphy
The announcement - made on Monday in the House of Commons - followed a number of embarrassing hitches and delays.

The main one came when a leaked memo from the Home Office appeared to mock some of the 39 applications.

Mr Straw announced in October 1998 that the Queen had expressed her intention to mark both the millennium and the 50th anniversary of her accession to the throne - her Golden Jubilee in 2002 - by grants of city status.

Grants of the status are few and far between. The last to be conferred in Wales was St David's in Pembrokeshire, in 1994.

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18 Dec 00 | UK
City winners named
16 Jul 99 | Wales
South Wales help for city bid
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