A decision by the Government on whether to back a London bid for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games has been delayed for at least two weeks, Downing Street said today.
Tessa Jowell, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, made a presentation at this morning's extended meeting of Cabinet, but with other issues such as a potential war with Iraq also on the agenda, Ministers will be given more time to consider their views before a final decision on the Olympics is made.
A spokesman for the Prime Minister said that there were "complex issues that arise from a number of departments", and Cabinet will now have further discussions on the matter in a fortnight.
"Everybody acknowledges that it would be great if we could bid for the Olympics," he added. "But there was agreement that this has got to be a hard-headed assessment of all the different factors."
On Wednesday the Secretary of State and Richard Caborn, the Sports Minister, gave a presentation to Misc 12 – a Cabinet committee chaired by Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary. The group, which also includes John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister, and Paul Boateng, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, is meant to make a recommendation to Cabinet on an Olympic bid, though any decision remains confidential.
Britain has until July to officially inform the International Olympic Committee of its intention to bid for the Games.