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Leicester's case to be crowned UK City of Culture is "overwhelming" says MP

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MPs representing contenders for the UK City of Culture 2017 title have been debating the contest at Westminster this morning. Leicester is among 11 places hoping to succeed current holder Londonderry in the Government-run contest. Leicester South MP Jon Ashworth told rivals the city's case was overwhelming. He outlined the recent discovery of Richard III's body, the city's history of radical politics and its diverse culture as plus points in its favour but said its people were its biggest asset. He said: "That's our trump card - The people of Leicester coming together. "That's what Leicester is about. That's why our case is overwhelming, because we have the best people." All the eleven cities have submitted initial bids and judges are to pick a short list of four later this summer. Leicester currently sits as second favourite with the bookies at odds of 5-1, behind Chester. It is expected that the eventual winner will see a surge in visitor numbers boosting its economy by millions of pounds. The debate was called by Southend West MP David Amess, who previously controversially described some of the other bidding cities as dumps. Today, while speaking in support of his own town's bid, he referred, in error to King Edward's remains being discovered in a Leicester car park, before correcting himself, as fellow MPs laughed. He said: "Saxon remains have been found in Prittlewell. "They are very valuable, being similar to finding Edward underneath the car park - Sorry Richard. Well, a king who deserved better. We, too, have royalty in Prittlewell. The remains were uncovered during a road-widening exercise." Details of Leicester's initial bid include proposals for a huge Richard III dramatic re-enactment in various locations around the city and a giant movable light show.

Leicester's case to be crowned UK City of Culture is


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