TWO Wharfedale MPs are calling on Channel 4 to set up a new base in Leeds. The broadcaster confirmed in March that it would be moving hundreds of staff out of its London headquarters after securing a deal with the Government. More than a quarter of the company's 800 employees in London are set to be relocated and Birmingham has been tipped as the new regional base. But there is also expected to be at least one other new regional hub created - and Leeds is one of 12 cities that have been lobbying for the position.
Otley and Yeadon's MP Alex Sobel (Lab, Leeds North West) says the city is well placed to take on the role.
Speaking in a debate in Westminster Hall, he said: "We have the infrastructure, we have Sky, we have Perform and we have Yorkshire TV.
"We also have Rockstar Leed and we have Pace and ARRIS in Saltaire, which power the Internet and TV for hundreds of millions of people globally.
"We have the people and we have the infrastructure."
Ilkley's MP John Grogan (Lab, Keighley) said: "Although people say that their cities are like Channel 4, we have learned politically over the last few years that the United Kingdom is not just about cities.
"That is one of the strengths of the Leeds City Region’s bid. Public investment in television in England and Wales over the last 30 or 40 years has all been in the west of the nation.
"There is a big gap in the east of the country, where there has been no big investment in television and film.
"Channel 4 is a great British institution. To have two great public service broadcasters, and Channel 4 with its particular remit, is something that makes me proud to be British."
He added: "It would be outrageous if there was no representative from God’s own county on the shortlist that Channel 4 draw up.
"That is inconceivable, particularly given the investment record in the east of the country.
"I hope that, whether it is Leeds or Sheffield — unless both progress to the next stage — if only one Yorkshire city or region is on that shortlist, we will all unite behind it. This is a marvellous opportunity."
Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Judith Blake was also keen to highlight the area's potential.
She said: "Leeds' thriving culture, leading universities and diverse geography makes the city region a perfect choice for Channel 4’s relocation.
"I am confident our bid will be a strong contender for the move which will bring jobs and opportunities, allowing us to keep our talent here and further enhance our local economy."