To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what reports she has received from the independent expert panel who will judge Liverpool's bid to be designated European Capital of Culture. 
The independent Advisory Panel, chaired by Sir Jeremy Isaacs, considered all 12 bids carefully and thoroughly against the criteria laid down by the ED and the Government. The panel thought that all the bids were of a very high standard but the six shortlisted bids are those which the panel considered to be the strongest overall. As my hon. Friend knows, Liverpool's bid has been shortlisted.The Panel will now consider the shortlisted bids in more detail. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will wait for further advice and recommendations from the panel before reaching any conclusions about which city should be the UK's nomination for European Capital of Culture 2008.