Derry and Belfast's hopes of becoming the European Capital of Culture in 2023 has been scuppered by Brexit, it has emerged.

The news was announced by the European Commission today.

A letter from the European Commission to the UK's Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said the bids "would not be possible".

It said any applications should "immediately be discontinued".

A DCMS spokesperson said it was disappointed the decision had not been made before the bids had been made.

A spokeswoman for the European Commission Office in Scotland told BBC News: "As one of the many concrete consequences of its decision to leave the European Union by 29 March 2019, the UK cannot host the European Capital of Culture in 2023.

"According to the rules adopted by the European Parliament and the Council (Decision 445/2014), this action is not open to third countries except candidate countries and European Free Trade Association/European Economic Area countries.

"Given that the UK will have left the EU by 29 March 2019, and therefore be unable to host the European Capital of Culture in 2023, we believe it makes common sense to discontinue the selection process now."

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