ORGANISERS of the bid for Dundee to become the European Capital of Culture have vowed to continue their efforts to transform the city's economy despite the "bombshell" decision to bar it from the competition.

Three days before the Dundee 2023 bid team was due to present its plans in London, the European Commission announced that because of the Brexit vote, UK cities can no longer bid for the prestigious title.

Last night the Commission said the withdrawal of permission was a “concrete consequence” of the Brexit vote.

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It means that Glasgow, which held the title in 1990, will be the last Scottish city to hold the title.

Dundee has now been foiled in two straight attempts to win cultural city titles, having lost out to Hull for the 2017 UK City of Culture bid.

The move was greeted with anger and dismay. Organisers also criticised the timing of the decision, made after several cities across the UK had put significant work into their bids.

John Alexander, the leader of Dundee City Council, said it was a “ridiculous situation” so close to the bid, but organisers would “regroup and the journey we are on continues".

The Dundee 2023 bid team said it was “hugely disappointed” and the timing was “disrespectful not only to the citizens of Dundee, but to people from all five bidding cities who have devoted so much time, effort and energy so far in this competition”.

It added: “Dundee’s bold bid was designed to help continue the transformation of our economy and to provide exciting new opportunities for our young people.

“While the dust is still to settle on what is a bombshell for all of us, the spirit of the bid remains very much alive and kicking.”

Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister, said she was “absolutely dismayed” by the decision.

She added: “Dundee’s European Capital of Culture bid looks as if it is going to be the latest victim of the Tories obsession with taking this country out of the European Union against our will, and they should hang their heads in shame.

“The Scottish Government of course anticipated these issues and late last year (Culture Secretary) Fiona Hyslop wrote to the UK Government to highlight the enormous benefits that international cultural engagement can bring and to seek reassurances that the UK would continue to participate in partnerships like the European Capital of Culture.

“So it is now deeply concerning that the amount of time, effort and expense that Dundee have put into scoping out their bid could be wasted thanks to the Brexit policy of this Tory Government.”

Ms Sturgeon said Scottish ministers were in “urgent contact” with counterparts at Westminster.

The Creative Industries Federation, which said it was “gutted” by the decision, said it was working “feverishly behind the scenes to reverse this decision".

Ms Hyslop added: “It is deeply concerning that the amount of time, effort and expense Dundee have put into scoping out their bid could be wasted thanks to the Brexit policy of the UK Government.”

Gillian Easson, the executive director of Creative Dundee, said: “The city’s creative community has always actively reached out and collaborated with others around the world.

“The European Capital of Culture 2023 year would have given us the chance to bring Europe to the city, with legacy for citizens here well beyond the year itself.”

A Commission spokeswoman said: “The decision to nominate Hungary and the UK as hosts of the European Capitals of Culture for 2023 was taken by the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers in 2014, two years before the UK decided to leave the EU.

“As one of the many concrete consequences of that UK decision, UK participation is no longer possible.

“It therefore makes sense to discontinue the selection process.”

Dave Close, the director of the Hot Chocolate Trust, a Dundee youth work organisation, said: “The prospective impacts of winning the designation would be transformative for many young people’s lives.

“To cut that down seems wasteful and destructive.”