THE MP for Portsmouth South has stepped up the campaign to bring the opening leg of the Tour de France to Portsmouth.
Flick Drummond has sent a letter to culture secretary John Whittingdale urging him to release cash so the city can draw up a bid to hold the spectacle in 2019.
The Grand Départ will not just benefit Portsmouth if we win the bid.Portsmouth South MP Flick Drummond
In the letter, Mrs Drummond says Le Tour would bring benefits to the wider area – and suggests riders could even cover part of London in an effort to win the government over.
She wrote: ‘As you are already aware, Portsmouth was lucky enough to be visited by the Tour over 20 years ago.
‘I know the benefits of this visit extended beyond just the cycling community in the city and surrounding areas.
‘Since then, Portsmouth has benefited from a huge amount of renewal which I believe makes it the perfect host in 2019.’
She adds: ‘The Grand Depart will not just benefit Portsmouth if we win the bid.
‘Competitors and spectators alike could benefit from tours around the southern counties of Hampshire, West Sussex and Surrey over the South Downs, taking in many of our towns and sites of cultural and historical importance along the way.
‘The first two stages can cover up to 200km with the possibility of ending a stage of the Tour in London, with cyclists passing over Tower Bridge, or heading up the Mall, is a fantastic opportunity not to be missed.’
Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt has also put her name to the request for government help.