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Diamond Jubilee

Volume 718: debated on Monday 22 March 2010

Question

Asked By

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to stage a special horse race to mark the Diamond Jubilee in 2012.

My Lords, planning for Her Majesty the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee is still in the early stages, but the British horseracing industry is considering ideas to celebrate this great event. They include a special new race, themed race meetings across the UK, or moving the Derby—which will coincide with the 2012 Diamond Jubilee weekend—to one of the Jubilee Bank holidays.

My Lords, I cannot thank the Minister enough for that amazingly decent reply. I owe a debt of gratitude to the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Alverthorpe, who initiated this idea in the first place. Does he agree that this offers Parliament the chance to unite in wishing Her Majesty good health, long life and the happiness that she deserves for a lifetime of service? Has any thought been given to a trophy for this race, to which I am sure we would all, including the rich Minister, be delighted to contribute and to it continuing in perpetuity?

My Lords, I am delighted that the noble Baroness is so delighted with my Answer; delighted and relieved, I think. All those with a love for horseracing, and for Her Majesty the Queen, which I suspect is the overwhelming mass of the British people, will be delighted to hear of the noble Baroness’s suggestion of raising a public subscription for such a trophy. I suspect that it will be oversubscribed. I will be very pleased to go arm-in-arm with the noble Baroness, flourishing our chequebooks, making sure that we are at the head of the queue.

My Lords, I cannot resist asking the Minister whether he realises that I would have laid 6:4 the field that he would not have given me as decent an Answer.

My Lords, we on these Benches—particularly me, because I do not often see Liberal Democrats at race meetings—find the suggestion by the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Alverthorpe, and the noble Baroness, Lady Trumpington, very appropriate. It would be a suitable tribute to Her Majesty for the service she has given to the country and the support she has given to racing. Would the Minister not agree that the future of British racing, which is a model, is somewhat in doubt at the moment because of the funding problems and the internecine disagreements within racing? To do this properly, as I get the impression that the Government intend to do, would be a real shot in the arm and racing might be back on an optimistic route for the future, which, at the moment, it is not.

My Lords, I am not sure I share the observation that horseracing in this country is down in the dumps. That is certainly not my perception of it, although I do not have as close a contact with the industry as perhaps I should and would like. Noble Lords will understand that the British Horseracing Authority is responsible for the regulation and governance of the sport. It is in touch with the stakeholders and will know what to do and who to call in order to take forward the noble Baroness’s excellent idea.