Fresh row over Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth

Emirates Spinnaker Tower being painted gold  Picture: Emirates Spinnaker Tower
Emirates Spinnaker Tower being painted gold Picture: Emirates Spinnaker Tower
HMS Queen Elizabeth, the UK's newest aircraft carrier, as the ship arrives in Portsmouth Picture: POPHOT Ian Simpson/Royal Navy/PA Wire

‘A symbol of maritime might in the navy for the next 50 years’

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A POLITICAL spat was re-ignited over the decision to award Dubai airline giant Emirates the naming rights to the Spinnaker Tower.

The Lib Dems decided to re-open the deal to debate as they are unhappy people were not consulted and negotiations happened ‘behind closed doors’ prior to the public announcement in June this year.

But Tory council leader Donna Jones hit back, saying £3.5m had been secured to support local services – and it was the Lib Dems which got the ball rolling by seeking a sponsor for the city landmark in 2013.

She also said the party had set aside the £80,000 spent hiring a consultancy firm to headhunt Emirates and not the Tories.

Lib Dem culture spokesman Lee Hunt said: ‘The tower is an important building paid for by the taxpayers, it is not a private company.

‘We do have control over the tower.

‘Yet no-one has ever been consulted about this Emirates deal, over whether it was wanted or not.’

Cllr Hunt said the tower had now become a laughing stock and was known as the ‘minion tower’ because of its ‘blue shorts and yellow top’.

Cllr Jones said: ‘The Lib Dems failed to deliver on something they brought to this city in a legal meeting and which was recorded in a legal document.

She added: ‘The city is now tied in with one of the biggest luxury airlines in the world.’