Swansea MPs slam Tory rival after he appeared to label the city 'an absolute dump'
SWANSEA'S MPs have rounded on Tory rival David Amess after he suggested the city was an "absolute dump".
The MP, who is backing Southend-on-Sea's bid to be UK City of Culture 2017, suggested rival areas — including Swansea Bay — were unworthy of the accolade.
Amess claimed many of Southend's rivals "wouldn't know culture if it was put in front of them".
He added: "I have looked at some of the competition and frankly they are absolute dumps some of them."
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Swansea East MP Sian James said Swansea Bay had a "rich and diverse heritage of contemporary culture".
She added: "Dylan Thomas' 'Ugly lovely town' could yet surprise the likes of David Amess.
"Having said that, one of Harry Secombe's raspberries is probably more fitting on this occasion."
Swansea West MP Geraint Davies also highlighted next year's Dylan Thomas centenary to answer Mr Amess's criticism.
He said: "We anticipate a massive increase in tourism as a result of the many events going on throughout Swansea. Swansea is now a global brand thanks to the Premier League success of our football team — I have not heard of any reason Southend should be a contender."
Neath MP Peter Hain accused Mr Amess of "pig-headed ignorance" and said he clearly did not have "a clue about Swansea's vibrancy as a city, its strong arts and culture nor its beauty".
Llanelli MP Nia Griffith said the remarks were "frankly disgraceful". She added: "It's ridiculous for him [Mr Amess] to try and trample down other places to boost his own area."
And Carmarthen East and Dinefwr MP Jonathan Edwards said Mr Amess's comments went "a long way to explaining why there hasn't been a Conservative MP in the Swansea area for generations".
The areas competing for City of Culture status are Aberdeen, Chester, Dundee, East Kent, Hastings and Bexhill-on-Sea, Hull, Leicester, Plymouth, Portsmouth and Southampton, Southend-on- Sea and Swansea Bay.
A winner will be announced in November.
Last night Mr Amess told the Post: "It's such a wonderful opportunity to become City of Culture I wanted to stir things up a bit, to generate a national debate.
"Parliamentarians are naturally going to sing the praises of their areas."