Diamond Jubilee to be marked by creation of new UK city
A new city is to be created to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in 2012, the government has announced.
The UK's local authorities are being invited to submit bids for their towns to take on city status, to commemorate the Queen's 60 years on the throne.
Existing cities will also have the chance to bid for a Lord Mayoralty - or a Lord Provostship in Scotland.
Preston, Stirling, Newport, Lisburn and Newry were the last cities created in 2002 to mark the Golden Jubilee.
Local authorities have six months to submit entries, and the winners will be announced in the first half of 2012.
Applications will be considered by the government before recommendations are submitted to the Queen by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.
Only one award of city status and one Lord Mayoralty or Lord Provostship are expected to be made.
Constitutional reform minister Mark Harper said: "For a town to be given city status or for a city to be given a Lord Mayoralty is a real honour.
"These awards are only very rarely granted and it is fitting they will be given to mark Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee."
Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who has special responsibility for the Diamond Jubilee, said: "Marking Her Majesty's 60 years on the throne in 2012 will be a great opportunity for the nation to come together in celebration, just as it did for her Silver and Golden Jubilees.
"This competition will be an important part of this and will ensure that there is a lasting legacy that will remain long after the festivities are over. I look forward to hearing who's won."
City status is rarely granted, with the last civic honours competition in 2002 also resulting in Exeter acquiring a Lord Mayor.
In 2000, Brighton and Hove, Inverness and Wolverhampton were given the status to mark the new millennium. But only 14 new cities were created during the 20th century.