Conservative politician highlights British GP problem

The State Opening of Parliament in Britain is not really of much interest to Formula 1 fans but, for the record, the latest session began on Tuesday and one of the first moves made by members of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition was to table something called an Early Day Motion (EDM). These exist to allow members of parliament to put on record their opinions on certain subjects and draw attention to issues which might otherwise not be mentioned because it might be hard to secure a debate given the pressure that exists. Members sign EDMs to show their support for an issue and it is possible that if an EDM receives sufficient support it might eventually be tabled as a possible debate. Most EDMs get around 100 signatures from the 633 MPs.

The EDM which is of interest to F1 fans is that tabled by Tim Yeo, the Shadow Secretary of State for Environment & Transport, who asked that "this House recognises the leading role that British companies, teams and individuals play in Formula 1, the importance of the sport to the British economy and its rich sporting heritage; notes with concern that the British Grand Prix is under threat; and urges the Government to do all it can to safeguard the future of the event".

Should such a debate ever actually take place it would be a source of considerable embarrassment to the Government which is clearly frightened of being accused on doing deals with Bernie Ecclestone. Back in 1997 it might be remembered the first major scandal of Tony Blair's government was over the question of a donation made by Ecclestone to the Labour Party and whether or not it influenced the party's decision to change its attitude towards tobacco sponsorships.

Yeo is a seasoned politician and has been an MP since 1983, representing the South Suffolk constituency.

The next general election in Britain must take place before June 12 2006.

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