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Brexit sinks UK's hosting of European Capital of Culture

The UK won't be allowed to host the European Capital of Culture 2023 due to Brexit, says the European Commission

Pictured: Leeds was one of five UK cities bidding for the title, due to be announced next week

The UK will not be allowed to host the European Capital of Culture 2023 due to Brexit, the European Commission has said.

The UK had been scheduled to be the host in 2023, with five cities bidding for the title and the winner set to be announced next week.

However, a letter from the European Commission to the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said UK participation should "immediately be discontinued".

The letter, from EU director-general for education and culture, Martine Reicherts, said: “After consulting relevant services of the Commission, I would like to inform you that following its withdrawal from the European Union, the participation of the United Kingdom in the European Capital of Culture Union action will not be possible.”

The DCMS said it was "deeply disappointed" that the European Commission had waited until the UK cities had submitted their final bids before telling them about the new position.

The UK's bid proposals were from Dundee, Nottingham, Leeds, Milton Keynes, and a joint proposal from Belfast, Londonderry and Strabane.

A spokesperson from the Leeds 2023 bid said: “We are aware of a letter from the European Commission regarding the cancellation of the European Capital of Culture competition for all UK bidding cities and are seeking urgent clarification from DCMS.”

And tourism minister John Glen tweeted: "Crazy decision by European Commission over Capital of Culture 2023. We’re leaving the EU - not Europe! My team at DCMS are speaking with the 5 cities right now on the way forward."

The UK has hosted the European City of Culture twice before; in Glasgow in 1990 and in Liverpool in 2008. Since 2000 the honour has been held by two countries simultaneously, with the UK set to share the title with a city in Hungary in 2023 according to the schedule.

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