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Olympics will be supreme test of Coalition’s competence, Jeremy Hunt tells ConIntel reception

Event date: 25 January

Last Updated: Thursday, January 26th, 2012

The Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP was guest of honour at the ConservativeHome/ConservativeIntelligence New Year Reception last night. Nearly one hundred Conservative MPs mixed with journalists and clients at the St Stephen’s Constitutional Club in Westminster to hear the Culture Secretary preview the 2012 Olympic Games.

After being introduced by Mark Field MP, Chairman of ConHome’s Accountability Board, Mr Hunt said the Coalition had taken the bold decision to ensure London’s third Olympics were not a cut-price, austerity-era Games but that they would show Britain at its best. Mr Hunt said that the opening ceremony would celebrate the scientific inventiveness of Britain and the fact we had invented or codified most of the world’s major sports. With the biggest TV audience ever he hoped the world would see a dynamic, confident and proud nation and that the Games would be the best in history. Over the next few years he hoped that the spotlight on Britain would attract an extra four-and-a-half million tourists to our country’s hotels and attractions. The government was actively seeking to seize every marketing opportunity that the Games represented. He wanted 2012 to end with holidaymakers and global investors viewing Britain in a more positive light.

If the deficit reduction programme was the supreme test of the Coalition’s toughness and resolve the Games would be the supreme test of the Coalition’s competence, a bold Mr Hunt predicted. ‘We will remember that’, joked a heckling Justin Webb from within the reception throng. The Culture Secretary smiled and said that he wouldn’t just be worried about the Today programme. 40,000 journalists would be covering the Olympics and they’ll all be ready to praise or bury London, depending upon how the Olympics went.

A few facilities were still to be completed but everything was nearly in place. Britain’s Olympians like Sir Chris Hoy, Rebecca Adlington and Tom Daley wanted to make their fellow countrymen proud, said Mr Hunt. So, too, did Britain’s Government.

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