Mandelson departure prompts Dome reshuffle

Government responsibility for the Millennium Dome has changed hands again in the wake of Peter Mandelson’s sudden resignation late last year.

The departure of Trade and Industry Secretary Mandelson has led to the appointment of Cabinet Office minister Lord Falconer as holder of the sole Government share in the New Millennium Experience Company which is organiser of the Dome.

There has been speculation that Government responsibility for the Dome, traditionally held by one person, may be split.

Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott was reportedly among those approached to be Government “frontman” for the 750m project.

As a temporary measure, Culture Secretary Chris Smith took responsibility for the Dome until the appointment of a new shareholder was finalised.

“As chairman of the Millennium Commission, Chris Smith cannot be chairman of one organisation which gives money to the Dome and shareholder for the Dome simultaneously, so he held the share temporarily,” says a New Millennium Experience Company spokesman.

A Government spokesman declined to comment on the spokesman role, or on the possible involvement of Prescott.

See News Analysis, page 7

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