London's Olympic bid may get a new full-time minister

A minister for the Olympics could be appointed as part of the summer reshuffle, to increase London's chances of securing the Games in 2012.

Tony Blair is said to be seriously considering setting up a full-time post to give additional firepower to the capital's bid, which is facing tough competition from Paris, New York, Madrid and Moscow.

Tessa Jowell, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, currently has overall responsibility for the bid within the Government, alongside her other duties, while Bill Rammell, a Foreign Office minister, has been tasked with wooing overseas support for London's bid.

But ministerial backers of the bid say a full-time position would give it a much-needed boost, amid reports of infighting following the sidelining of the former chairman, Barbara Cassani, who was replaced by Lord Coe earlier this year.

Those in favour say a senior political figure from outside London would emphasise the British nature of the bid and give an outward sign of the Government's commitment to hosting the Games.

Members of the International Olympic Committee will make a decision next July on who will host the games in 2012. A victory for London would provide a major political boost for the Government.

Members of the Parliamentary all-party Olympic group have been pressing for a full-time cabinet post devoted to pressing for London's bid, pointing to the success of Ian McCartney, the then Cabinet Office minister, who was appointed as a government "troubleshooter" before the Manchester Commonwealth Games in 1999.

Derek Wyatt, chairman of the all-party Olympic group, said Britain's main rivals for the games already had ministers in place and warned against delaying an appointment.

He said: "Seb Coe has had to break eggs in order to make an omelette, but he is facing around and he cannot handle all the Government side of the bid. "We need a big city player and a big political hitter - and that should be a minister. Sydney had a minister in charge of the bid before they won it.

"[Tessa Jowell] cannot do that and BBC charter renewal, obesity and everything else. This is a single issue and we need a single position dedicated to it. We need a big hitter."

A cabinet reshuffle could come as early as tomorrow although ministers believe it may be announced next week.

Mr McCartney could lose his job as Labour Party chairman after membership slumped to a historic low. Alan Johnson, the higher education minister and former postman who rose to lead the Communication Workers Union, is being strongly tipped for promotion to the Cabinet having won plaudits in Downing Street for his handling of the Higher Education Bill.

One Whitehall source said: "He is brilliant. He can articulate things in a way people understand. We could do with a few more like him in the trade union movement. Ian McCartney has lost the confidence of the party."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there