Flaming furious over torch snub

We want the Olympic torch on Wearside.
We want the Olympic torch on Wearside.
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CITY leaders are contacting Olympics chief Lord Coe demanding answers about why Wearside was missed off the Olympic Torch route.

Sunderland City Council leader Paul Watson will write to the Olympic organising committee chairman expressing his outrage that the flame will not stop off at Sunderland.

The Echo is campaigning for the Olympic Torch to stop off in the city, giving people the chance to see the iconic flame on Wearside.

Coun Watson is also unhappy that any meeting to discuss the decision would be subject to a secrecy agreement, meaning nothing said could be reported to the public.

The Olympic Torch will stop over at Durham and Newcastle as it heads from Athens to the London 2012 Olympics – but not Sunderland, despite it being the biggest city in the North East.

Coun Watson said: “I am totally and utterly outraged – I can’t believe it. I can’t believe any rational, logical process could have led to this outcome.

“At the moment we’re writing a short letter to Lord Coe expressing our dismay and asking for an explanation.

He added: “We’ve been invited to a meeting, but to get to that meeting we have to sign a secrecy agreement – meaning we can’t tell people what went on.

“I don’t want to be in a position where I can’t report back to the people of Sunderland.”

It is believed the torch may pass through Sunderland, but there is no big celebration and stopover planned as there is for Durham and Newcastle.

Prime Minister David Cameron promised to examine the route after an angry challenge from Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliott in the House of Commons.

Houghton and Sunderland South MP Bridget Phillipson said: “Since the announcement I’ve had a number of constituents get in touch unhappy with the decision, and I share their frustrations.

“I believe the Olympic Torch should come to Sunderland and I will be pressing to make sure that happens.”

@Pressbench