Date: 20th October 2007
Release date: Immediate
Subject: Gordon receives reassurance on Red Arrows “ban”.
GORDON Henderson has received an assurance that the organisers of the 2012 Olympics have not banned the Red Arrows from performing at the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics because the RAF display team is considered to be “too British”.
The assurance was given by the Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Jeremy Hunt MP, who explained that the issue was raised with Lord Coe and Hugh Robertson, MP for Faversham and Sports and Olympics Spokesman, at the London 2012 fringe meeting at The Conservative Party Conference.
Lord Coe stated quite unequivocally that the issue had never even been raised with him and that the Red Arrows would be extremely welcome as part of The London 2012 Olympic Opening ceremony.
Furthermore, he pointed out that a fly past by The Red Arrows had been a key part of the celebrations in Trafalgar Square when we won the right to host The Games and that the London 2012 Organising Committee had not even settled on the format for our eight minute handover slot in Beijing in 2008 - let alone begun to consider possible formats for 2012.
Mr Hunt went on to say:
‘On a personal level, I would only add that I am a strong supporter of our Armed Forces in general, and The Red Arrows in particular, and would certainly wish them to have an appropriate role in the London 2012 celebrations. As the Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport I have been closely following this issue and will continue to do so in order to ensure such a role is secured.
‘I hope that this reassures you about the current position, however we will continue to monitor the government closely as ever!’
‘I am happy to accept the reassurance from Jeremy Hunt, however, I haven’t yet received a response from the Government itself, so I am still slightly nervous that the politically correct brigade in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport will try to twist the arm of the 2012 Olympic organisers in an effort to change their minds. I hope I am wrong and that the Red Arrows will play a part in the 2012 Olympic opening ceremony.’