Milton Keynes dealt massive blow in European Capital of Culture bid

Milton Keynes' bid to become European Capital of Culture in 2023 was only launched a few weeks ago
Milton Keynes' bid to become European Capital of Culture in 2023 was only launched a few weeks ago

Milton Keynes looks to have been dealt a huge blow in its bid to become the European Capital of Culture in 2023.

The European Commission has informed the British government that the title cannot be awarded to one of its cities following the Brexit vote.

European politics website Politico has seen the letter from Martine Reicherts, who is the director-general for education and culture at the Commission, in which she states that the 'participation of the United Kingdom in the European Capital of Culture action will not be possible'.

The letter has put a massive dent in MK's bid for the title, which was only launched at the end of October.

Last June, Milton Keynes Council leader Peter Marland said that Brexit wouldn't kill off the city's bid to become European Capital of Culture.

Mr Marland pointed out that as the UK would still be in Europe, if not the European Union, then they would be entitled to bid.

And cities including Istanbul, Reykjavík and Stavanger have all been awarded European Capital of Culture titles despite not being within the European Union.

But the letter states the scheme is only open to EU countries, countries intending to join the Union and members of the European Economic Area. Britain would leave all three under its current hard Brexit plans of 2019.

The decision to exclude British cities from the bid could result in hundreds of thousands of pounds being wasted, as British cities were urged to bid in December 2016, after the Brexit vote was cast.

Dundee, Nottingham, Belfast and Leeds had joined Milton Keynes in submitting official bids.

Milton Keynes Council has said it is 'disappointed' with the European Commission's stance, but hopes that 'a compromise can be found in the future'.