Ex-Harrogate MP gets key role in new committee on sport and Covid

Lib Dem peer Lord Willis, pictured when he was MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough from 1997 to 2010.Lib Dem peer Lord Willis, pictured when he was MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough from 1997 to 2010.
Lib Dem peer Lord Willis, pictured when he was MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough from 1997 to 2010.
A former Harrogate MP and Yorkshire peer is to head up a new committee full of experts looking into the Government’s policies on sport and recreation - asking the question how they can respond to the current pandemic.

Lord Willis of Knaresborough, a former MP for Harrogate, will chair the new committee which will look at whether the growth of multiple public bodies tasked with promoting participation in sport has delivered a healthier and more active nation.

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It will also consider how sports bodies can respond to the challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

It comes as both professional and grassroots sports try to find ways to operate effectively during the pandemic and some of the biggest sporting institutions propose new governance and competitive structures for their games.

The committee includes members with significant experience and expertise in sport including 11 time Olympic Gold medallist Baroness Grey-Thompson, former Sport Minister, British Olympic Association Chairman and Olympic Silver Medallist Lord Moynihan and Baroness Brady, the Vice-Chairman of the Premier League’s West Ham United.

Lib Dem peer Lord Willis, who was MP for Harrogate from 1997 to 2010, said: “I am very pleased to be appointed chair of what I think will be a really important and timely committee.

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“Over the past 25 years the landscape for delivering sport and recreation has changed hugely with the creation of organisations like Sport England, UK Sport and UKActive, and the successful hosting of major sporting events across the UK.

"However, has this delivered a more active and sporting nation?

“Our inquiry will seek to understand whether Government policy on sports and recreation can meet the many expectations that are placed on sport to improve physical and mental health at grassroots level, and deliver international successes for the country at the top end.

“The current pandemic has shone a light on some of the longstanding issues in both professional and amateur sport, and our inquiry will look at how our sporting landscape can respond and rebound stronger from the current crisis.

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“We will publish a call for evidence later this year and I hope those with a passion or interest in sport will let us know their thoughts on how we can deliver a better sporting future for our country.”

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