Council vote not to publish details of Edinburgh's failed Eurovision bid

The city failed to make the shortlist to host the contest, which was eventually awarded to Liverpool.

Council vote not to publish details of Edinburgh’s failed Eurovision bid Getty Images

Edinburgh Council has voted against releasing details of what was included in the city’s failed Eurovision bid.

Council leader Cammy Day, Labour, said in August the Capital had thrown its hat into the ring to host the annual song contest, after it was announced it would be held in the UK in 2023. 

Edinburgh did not make the shortlist from which Liverpool was eventually chosen.

The SNP group, supported by the Greens, called on the administration to publish the bid to allow it to be scrutinised. But they were defeated in a vote by councillors on the Labour, Conservatives Liberal Democrat benches, who were accused of “getting together to shut down access and keep this behind closed doors”. 

Lib Dem leader Kevin Lang said he was “not that bothered” about the content of the bid however, arguing the city “never had a chance” in the first place due to not having a big enough indoor arena. 

During a City Chambers debate on Thursday Cllr Lang said: “When I heard that the UK would be able to host the event I was really excited about it. And then when I heard that we would be putting forward a bid I was like ‘OK, good’ , but I thought in my heart of hearts there was not a chance we were going to get it. 

“Given the fact that we do not have an arena – an indoor arena of a suitable size  – means we never had a hope of securing this event.” 

SNP councillor Kate Campbell said: “We want to make sure that our city is in a position to maximise any opportunity we have for events like Eurovision . 

“We just thought it would be really helpful for councillors to have an opportunity to look at the bid, to understand what we’ve done. 

“I take the point in the Lib Dem amendment that we probably didn’t have the highest expectations for this, but we still think it’s perhaps something we could learn from and that could help us inform any future opportunities and our approach to them.”

The SNP’s Danny Aston quipped it was important for councillors to know “whether we came close or whether the panel decided to award it ‘nul points’”. 

He added: “Either the public should see what that looked like or us as  elected representatives should be able to do so in private session if necessary so we can judge what can be learned from it. 

“At the end of the day it’s our taxes, our constituents taxes that paid for the officer time that went into preparing that bid and our city’s name was attached to it.” 

Speaking after the full council meeting, Cllr Campbell accused Labour, Lib Dem, and Tory councillors of “getting together to shut down access and keep this behind closed doors”

She added: “It begs the question, why are they working so hard to hide this from the public?”

The council previously refused a freedom of information request by the Local Democracy Reporting Service asking for details of the Eurovision entry, but did reveal no there were no additional costs incurred in preparing the bid which was “completed by officers as part of their routine task and not separately recorded”.

It said the information wouldn’t be published as it contained “sensitive commercial information in relation to a competition” and would prejudice the council’s “commercial interests”.

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