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Capital bid `in front'.

LIVERPOOL today emerged as the front-- runner to become 2008 European Capital of Culture.

Senior ministers now recognise that Newcastle --Merseyside's nearest rival - has been deluged by state--funded projects.

They feel the multi-- million culture prize should go elsewhere.

Culture secretary Tess a Jowell will announce the winner from a shortlist of six cities in June.

The decison will then be rubber--stamped by Tony Blair and the rest of the Cabinet.

A Department of Culture, Media and Sport source said: ``There is a growing realisation that the Geordies have been getting everything - from the revamp of the Baltic Exchange to warship and aircraft carrier orders - and other parts of the country deserve a turn.

``The lobby for Liverpool has mobilised the whole of the north west and that will be another major factor in the decision--making process.''

A succession of ministers has visited Merseyside in recent weeks and sent back glowing reports The four other shortlist ed cities,Birmingham, Cardiff, Bristol and Oxford,have their champions but the general feeling is that it should go to the north.
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Mar 24, 2003
Words:178
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