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Calls for UKinbound chairman to resign

12 June 2008 by

The head of the All Party Tourism Group has called on the chairman of industry body UKinbound, Philip Green, to resign after his comments led to tourism minister Margaret Hodge storming out of a Westminster reception last week.

At the meeting last Wednesday (4 June), Green accused the Government, which presides over a £20b tourism trade deficit, of driving away foreign tourists with "high taxes disguised as green initiatives, ridiculous red tape and a schizophrenic approach to air travel".

Green (not to be confused with the retail tycoon) added: "What is hurting us is not competition, it is the barriers placed in our way by our own government."

Hodge, who objected to being "lectured", hit back with the claim that British hotels were over-priced and that big visitor attractions offered poor service before storming off.

Lord Pendry, the chairman of the All Party Group, took exception to the comments and offered his resignation over what he described as a "personal attack" on Hodge.

At a meeting of the group yesterday (11 June), Pendry agreed to reflect on his decision, but he issued a statement calling on Green to resign.

"I lead this genuinely all party group to look at the issues facing this important industry sensibly, without bias and to listen to the views of the invited guests, of whichever party," the statement read.

"Such guests are expected in return to show respect and dignity especially when speaking on behalf, as in this case, of their member's interests without resorting to the tactics used on this occasion.

"I can assure that Mr Green has done nothing to improve the relationship between his members and Government and if that was his intention, he failed miserably. Perhaps he should consider his position."

A UKinbound spokesman said:

"Our members expect their association to robustly represent their views on political issues of importance to them and regard their biennial House of Commons Reception as a good opportunity to present those views not just to the tourism minister but all parliamentarians who have an interest in tourism.

"Philip Green's speech was critical of some Government policies but did not criticise the Department for Culture, Media and Sport directly and was certainly not a personal attack on Margaret Hodge as has been represented by Lord Pendry."

Was Green's speech disrespectful? Read the full transcript

Stephen Dowd steps down as head of UKinbound >>

Government slammed for cutting VisitBritain funds >>

Margaret Hodge takes on role of tourism minister >>

Tourism minister defends cuts to tourism funding >>

By Daniel Thomas

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