MP takes National Rugby League museum snub to Parliament

James Gordon
George Hotel birthplace national rugby league museum

The controversy surrounding the location of the proposed National Rugby League museum has been heard in Parliament.

Colne Valley MP Jason McCartney raised the issue after Kirklees Council backtracked on plans to house the museum at the historic George Hotel.

The MP said: “Can we have a debate on the wonderful sport of rugby league, Mr Speaker.

“It’s the Rugby League World Cup this autumn, the new Super League season kicks off in a fortnight with some of the games for the first time on free-to-air television, on Channel 4, which will be great for widening the notoriety of the sport.

“But the debate, Mr Speaker, would also give me an opportunity to express my deep disappointment that Labour-run Kirklees have reneged on an agreement to host the National Rugby League Museum in the birthplace of rugby league, the George Hotel in Huddersfield.”

House of Commons speaker, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, is a well-known rugby league fanatic and supports Warrington.

The Leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg, responded by suggesting an adjournment for the debate.

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National Rugby League Museum background

Kirklees Council won the tender to host the National Rugby League museum back in June 2020.

A key reason for their win was plans to host it at the George Hotel, where the sport was founded in 1895.

Council leader Shabir Pandor says a museum there would cost £20m, forcing the council to change the plans.

They have been widely criticised since announcing the move, with the council being branded “dysfunctional” by one former MP.

But Rugby League Cares are now exploring all other options for housing the museum.

The likes of Wigan, Bradford and Warrington all previously expressed interest.

Former Sky Sports presenter and Great Britain international Mike Stephenson had previously operated the Rugby League Heritage Centre at the George Hotel.

It was closed in 2013, but in 2016 a feasibility study was announced in to establishing a new national museum.

Initially, it was to be located in Bradford following an announcement in 2016 but those plans were dropped in 2020.

It had hoped that the museum would be open ahead of the sport’s 125th anniversary in August 2020.

MORE: Fresh offers made to house National Rugby League Museum