Falconer under new pressure to resign

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Indy Politics

Lord Falconer of Thoroton faces renewed pressure to resign from Tory peers who are planning to force him to face them in a formal debate on the "mismanagement" of the Dome.

Lord Falconer of Thoroton faces renewed pressure to resign from Tory peers who are planning to force him to face them in a formal debate on the "mismanagement" of the Dome.

Lord Strathclyde, Conservative leader in the House of Lords, has accused Lord Falconer, the minister for the Dome, of running scared because of his failure to give a full account at the House of Lords dispatch box. Tory peers are planning to introduce a Parliamentary motion to make Lord Falconer attend a Dome debate.

They say his failure to give a formal statement to Parliament about a damning National Audit Office report is unacceptable. The report accused ministers of financial mismanagement and squandering money on an "inherently risky project.

"We hope to force a debate in the House of Lords before the end of the session," said Lord Strathclyde. "We think as a matter of honour he should go."

The NAO report said ministers, the Millennium Commission and the Dome's operating company set a "highly ambitious" target of 12 million visitors. It accused them of "weak" management and allowing costs to run out of control. Last week Peter Ainsworth, the Tory culture spokesman, accused him of misleading Parliament when he said the Dome was trading solvently. The NAO report says that, days before, Lord Falconer had a letter saying the Dome would run out of money in two weeks and could need a further £45m.

Lord Falconer has refused to resign and has been backed by the Prime Minister.

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