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Our city by the sea

The Queen has named Brighton and Hove a city for the new millennium.

Together with Wolverhampton and Inverness, we beat competition from 36 other towns.

Home Office minister Mike O'Brien announced the winners in the House of Commons today.

The Queen chose Brighton and Hove as a winner on the advice of Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Mr O'Brien said: "Although the granting of the honour remains a rare mark of distinction, the Queen accepted the Prime Minister's recommendation to grant city status to more than one town to commemorate the millennium."

This morning Brighton and Hove civic leaders celebrated by cracking open a bottle of bubbly in front of the Royal Pavilion.

Mayor Andy Durr was joined by Lord Bassam of Brighton, council leader Lynette Gwyn-Jones, and Simon Fanshawe, chairman of The Place to Be city status campaign.

Coun Durr said: "Exactly 200 years ago, you had Brighton on its own with Hove three miles away and Portslade another couple of miles beyond that. Now it's filled in to become a generic city."

It is hoped city status will bring new jobs and investment into Brighton and Hove.

Mr Fanshawe said: "We're fantastically excited, not just about being a city but about what we've done. We got it because we put in a different kind of bid, reflecting the fact we're a different kind of city.

"The point was not just to win but to improve Brighton and Hove in the process. It's a message we're trying to get across to investors. There's huge talent and energy here and it's the place to succeed."

Hove Labour MP Ivor Caplin said: "I'm delighted for everyone involved in the Place To Be campaign.

"Our responsibility should be to build on this great honour for the people in our city and those who visit us in the UK and from overseas."

Brighton Pavilion Labour MP David Lepper said: "Many people both in Brighton and Hove and elsewhere already think of us as a city. Having that official is very good for the town. It will make it a more attractive location for businesses, bringing many jobs which are still much needed throughout the area."

Brighton Kemp Town Labour MP Des Turner said: "It is recognition that Brighton and Hove ought to have had."

Home Office minister and former Brighton and Hove Council leader Lord Bassam said: "We are now the place that is as well as the place to be.

"City is only a word but it will give a real uplift to people. The people of Brighton and Hove can walk tall today."

Brighton and Hove Council leader Lynette Gywn-Jones said: "It's a fairytale ending to a story that began with the merging of the councils in Brighton and Hove. It is Royal recognition of Brighton and Hove's achievements and renaissance. This is promotion to the Premiership of UK places and it's impossible to think of a more deserving case."

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