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City selection process challenged by Essex MP

Chelmsford city centre
Chelmsford city centre Credit: ITV Anglia

An Essex MP is calling for a special parliamentary debate on the way candidates for city status were chosen.

Sir Bob Russell, whose Colchester constituency wasn't among the winning bids, is asking for the names and positions of those who judged the 25 applicant towns to be published.

Neighbouring Chelmsford was among the towns which were awarded city status.

Sir Bob referred to himself as "representing the premier borough of Essex" a phrase which he says he will now refer to whenever the opportunity arises.

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Nick Clegg on Chelmsford being made a city

Commenting on Chelmsford being made a city to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the standard of applications was high.

Although Essex is the county with the biggest population in the East of England it doesn't currently have a a city.

"Congratulations to Armagh, Chelmsford, Perth and St Asaph who have been granted these rare honours from a field of exceptional entrants. Across the United Kingdom, I have been moved by the pride and passion which people have shown in putting their nominations forward.”

“The standard of application was very high, and those who missed out should not be downhearted. I hope the competition has given the residents of all of the places which applied a sense of civic pride, of collective ownership and of community spirit.”

– Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg
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