Fresh attempts are being made to bring one of the main political party conferences to Birmingham.
The city council will look at the financial and security implications of luring the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat annual gatherings to the International Convention Centre.
The move was confirmed last night by deputy council leader Paul Tilsley, who rejected a claim that Birmingham had failed to respond to requests from the political parties.
In September, Labour said the council did not bother to reply to a letter asking whether Birmingham would be interested in putting itself forward as a conference venue. The party chose Manchester instead for this year's conference, and will return there in three years.
Liberal Democrat organisers said attempts several years ago to negotiate with the council were inconclusive.
Coun Tilsley (Lib Dem Sheldon) said he had conducted an extensive search of correspondence received by the council chief executive, Marketing Birmingham and the NEC Group but could find no evidence of an approach by Labour.
Describing Labour's claim as "mischievous", Coun Tilsley said he could only conclude that, if a letter was written, it must have been sent prior to June 2004 when the council was under the leadership of Labour's Sir Albert Bore.
Speaking on behalf of the ruling Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition, Coun Tilsley added: "We will bid for any party conference without fear or favour and we will do it in a very open way."
Sir Albert (Lab Ladywood), quizzed at a cabinet meeting yesterday, refused to say whether he had received a request from Labour when he was council leader from 1999 to 2004.
He said: "We need to look at this issue as a city and decide whether we want to have the annual party conferences. It would mean the closure of much of the activity around the ICC for at least a week. Do we want to do it or not?"
There are likely to be hefty financial costs involved in attracting a party conference.
Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties would expect to lease the ICC at a substantially reduced rate, or even free of charge in return for the favourable publicity a conference would generate for Birmingham. Security costs would be partly covered by the Home Office, but the council might also have to make a contribution.
The new approach reflects a council decision to allocate an additional £2 million a year towards bidding for major conferences and events. Coun Tilsley said the additional funding would give Marketing Birmingham the capacity to "go out and be extremely competitive when it comes to attracting large conferences to the city". Events targeted include the Rotary International Convention in 2013 and the Nato Parliamentary Assembly in 2009.