AN MP has accused Cardiff of trying to steal Newport’s thunder after national media outlets confused which of the two cities will be hosting next week’s Nato summit.
Newport West MP Paul Flynn blamed publicists based in Cardiff for over-emphasising the Welsh capital’s role in the summit, which is to be held in just a week’s time at the Celtic Manor Resort.
Mr Flynn’s comments come after the Today programme on BBC Radio 4, Channel 4 News, the Daily Mail and the Guardian all stated that the summit is to be held in Cardiff.
Many Newport residents and politicians jumped to defend their city on Twitter.
Mr Flynn told the Argus: “We’re always wary of Cardiff trying to steal Newport’s thunder. All the serious things are happening in Newport, Cardiff are getting the activities.
“I haven’t heard from Brussels yet that they’re going to give us territorial integrity in case they [Cardiff] are trying to encroach on us.
“Cardiff has always built right up to the borders. If Newport behaved in the same way we’d have no green land. They [Cardiff] have always been pushing this way.
“This is our summit, not their summit. I think we’ve had trouble with publicists who tend to be from Cardiff and they focus on Cardiff.”
Today programme presenters Justin Webb and John Humphrys – eating humble pie for twice incorrectly stating on Tuesday that the summit was based in Cardiff – invited Goldie Lookin’ Chain’s John ‘Eggsy’ Rutledge on yesterday’s show to discuss the positives of Newport.
Mr Rutledge told presenters: “It’s nice to give Newport a bit of recognition. Newport is the third biggest city in Wales, so it’s nice to get on the map.”
Despite the apology, the presenters still referred to the Celtic Manor Resort as being “on the outskirts of Cardiff”.
Mr Flynn added: “It’s probably beneficial the fact we had arguably one of the great ambassadors of Newport, Eggsy, on Radio 4. They’ve done a good turn by accident.”
A BBC spokeswoman said: “The Today programme team were keen to correct the error made that the Nato summit was in Cardiff, rather than Newport.
“As a result we not only apologised but, to explore the question of Newport further, interviewed John Rutledge from Goldie Lookin’ Chain. He talked enthusiastically about many positive aspects of the city, reflected in the song Newport State Of Mind which we also played during the item.”
No-one was available to comment from either the Guardian or Channel 4 News.
Newport City councillor Allan Morris also expressed his anger that the national media and politicians had made the “deliberate” error.
He said: “It appears to be just another kick in the teeth for Newport. It’s the Newport people that are going to take the brunt of this conference. It’s Newport people who get very little benefit from it.
“Once again people are very reluctant to even mention the name Newport. The same thing happened with the Ryder Cup.
“The actual conference is being held in Newport and some of the entertaining is being done in Cardiff. Personally, I don’t think there’s confusion, I think it’s deliberate. And you could argue most of the politicians wouldn’t be politicians if it wasn’t for the Chartist uprising in Newport.”
Welsh Assembly Member for South Wales East William Graham, however, said the mix-up was “understandable”. He said: “Cardiff is so very much the regional centre but Newport has its own identity. I think traditionally we get used to treaties being named after the city in which they’re held so perhaps we can hope for a Treaty of Newport.”
Mayor of Newport Matthew Evans said he hoped that the national media will take note that Cardiff and Newport are very much different cities.
He added: “I’d just like to reiterate, as has been confirmed, Newport is the host city. It’s not in Cardiff, understandably there are some events in Cardiff but ultimately the Nato summit is taking place in Newport.
“I’m hoping that some of the national media will take note that we are a different city.”