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2012 boss Coe rejects return to politics

Last Updated: Sunday, December 13, 2009 - 13:09

London: London 2012 Olympics chief Sebastian Coe ruled out returning to frontline politics if the Conservative Party wins the British general election due within six months.

The centre-right, main opposition party is on course to win the election, opinion polls suggest.

However, in a BBC radio interview to be aired Sunday, Coe, the chairman of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games, said he had no desire to return to politics.

The 53-year-old, who won the 1,500 metres gold in the 1980 and 1984 Olympics, was a Conservative member of parliament from 1992 to 1997.

He served as then party leader William Hague’s chief of staff from 1997 to 2001 and was appointed to parliament’s upper House of Lords in 2000.
Asked if he envisaged a future back in politics, Coe replied: “No, I really don’t. I don’t have any political ambitions at all.

“The next three years is absolutely focused on delivering a great Games and even after that, no.

“I really want to go off and do some of the things that I haven’t had a chance to do. I want to go away and do some serious writing and have the time to do that and I just don’t want to combine that with politics. I sort of feel I’ve done that.”

Coe also revealed that in the moments before the 2012 Olympic host was named in Singapore, back in 2005, Coe was called by then prime minister Tony Blair, who seemingly did not understand that the result was genuinely secret.

“(Blair) said: “What’s happening? What’s the result?’,” Coe recalled.

“I said ‘Well, we don’t know’ and he said ‘No, no, no, I know that -- but what’s the result?’

“He couldn’t actually understand, somehow, that we didn’t actually know, that there were no exit polls here, we didn’t know the result.

“I literally had to hang up and get in there and we sat down and a few minutes later the envelope was opened.”

Bureau Report

First Published: Sunday, December 13, 2009 - 13:09

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