MP 'stonewalled' on dome project

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The Independent Online
Peter Mandelson's handling of the controversial Millennium Dome project was attacked by Labour MPs in a Commons motion last night.

Robert Marshall-Andrews, Labour MP for Medway and a QC who specialises in commercial law and fraud, drafted the motion after he had received Commons answers this week, in which Mr Mandelson "stonewalled".

The answers, which had been stalled by more than a fortnight, provided none of the detailed information that Mr Marshall-Andrews had requested about the dome project.

In direct response to the minister's non-answers, Mr Marshall-Andrews and at least seven other Labour MPs put down a motion expressing concern, "that pounds 450m of Millennium Commission money is being spent on substantial contracts awarded by the New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC), a company with one issued share, which has no direct lines of information or accountability to this House."

The motion - a rare display of backbench criticism of a Labour minister - then asked Mr Mandelson, Minister without Portfolio and the Prime Minister's troubleshooter, to place regular detailed interim accounts for NMEC in the Commons library, so that MPs can see them. Mr Marshall-Andrews said last night: "The purpose of this motion is to achieve transparency in the dealings of NMEC with such a large sum of public money."