Cameron hints at knighthood for Gary Verity

Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, and Bob Howden, President British Cycling, at the announcement of the Tour de Yorkshire

Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, and Bob Howden, President British Cycling, at the announcement of the Tour de Yorkshire

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Prime Minister David Cameron has denied the Government failed to back Yorkshire’s successful bid to host the start of the 2014 Tour de France and he hinted that an honour may be on the way for the man who brought the race to the UK.

The Tour’s Grand Depart last summer was a huge success as millions of people watched the world’s greatest bike race in Yorkshire.

But there was outrage in the county last month when Gary Verity - the chief executive of Welcome To Yorkshire - was not included in the New Year’s Honours for his efforts to bring the event to the UK.

Mr Cameron was confronted about the issue on a tour of Yorkshire today.

During an interview with ITV Calendar News it was suggested the Government had never backed Yorkshire’s initial bid, favouring a rival bid from Edinburgh.

The Prime Minister said: “I don’t think that’s fair.”

Pressed, he said: “I don’t accept that for a minute. We have been right behind it. Gary Verity has done a brilliant job. We’ll do everything we can to support it in the future.”

And when he was asked about Mr Verity missing out on an honour, Mr Cameron said with a smile: “Sadly, I’m not able just to flick a switch and to make these things happen but I hope to come back on your programme in not too long and have this issue sorted.”

He was still smiling when presenter Duncan Wood joked to his co-host Christine Talbot: “We got Gary a knighthood.”

Earlier, at an event in Leeds, Mr Verity was in the audience when the Prime Minister and Chancellor George Osborne lavished praise on the Tour de France’s visit to Yorkshire and the Welcome To Yorkshire boss.

Mr Cameron told his audience about the amazing experience he had with his son at the end of the first stage, in Harrogate.

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