The boss of Bradford’s National Media Museum has finally uttered the words the whole city has longed to hear – when he vowed it would survive.

And the Telegraph & Argus campaign, which attracted more than 45,000 signatures to save the museum, has been praised by Bradford Council chief executive Tony Reeves for the “phenomenal response” it received.

Our Stop The Cut campaign was started when Ian Blatchford, the director of the Science Museum Group, said early last month that one of its three northern museums – the Railway Museum in York and the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester are the others – could close.

The campaign attracted names such as Hollywood producer Martin Scorsese, Monty Python stars Michael Palin and Terry Jones, world famous artist David Hockney and legendary actor John Hurt among others.

But before the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee yesterday, Mr Blatchford ended weeks of uncertainty by confirming the media museum was “saved”.

Mr Blatchford had faced criticism for refusing to lift the closure threat even after Culture Secretary Maria Miller insisted the museum was safe.

But, yesterday – referring to the sister museums in Bradford, York and Manchester – he told the select committee: “I can now say these museums are not shutting.

“When the Minister said the museums had been saved, the ‘saved’ was in quotation marks. The message this morning is: Take the quotation marks off.”

Mr Blatchford admitted the long delay must have made people in Bradford believe he was “deliberately tormenting them”. But he insisted his organisation had to wait until uncertainties about capital spending and future borrowing powers – as well as revenue funding – had been removed.

He explained: “The crucial thing was to say something definitive. The worst possible outcome was to say something and then – two weeks later – say we had discovered a problem.”

The vote of confidence delighted MPs Gerry Sutcliffe (Lab, Bradford South) and Philip Davies (Con, Shipley), who sit on the committee.

Mr Sutcliffe told Mr Blatchford: “Thank you for that reassurance, which I know will go down well in all of the cities affected.”

And speaking afterwards Mr Davies said: “The most important thing was to hear the Science Museum director confirm the National Media Museum has been saved, which is what he did.”

Yesterday’s hearing – forced by the two MPs – came a week after Chancellor George Osborne confirmed that museums will suffer a five per cent funding cut from 2015.

The figure is half the ten per cent originally threatened and the pill has been sweetened by freedoms for museums to borrow money to invest.

During the committee hearing, Mr Blatchford also: l Admitted it was the media museum that had been earmarked for closure if the Science Museum Group was forced to lose one of its three Northern museums.

l Insisted the closure threat was real, telling MPs: “It was definitely no fake. We would not deem to make such a statement if we were not sincere.”

l Suggested the Bradford museum needed to change its name, saying: “It appears to be a neat title, but it’s quite confusing because it doesn’t tell you anything about the contents of the museum.”

l Admitted there had been “metropolitan resistance” in the past, in London, to the success of the museum – but insisted that was now gone.

l Defended the decision to spend £120,000 on revamping the building’s cafe – while considering closure – insisting cancelling the project would have been “devastating” for staff.

l Revealed it was Bradford’s chief executive, Tony Reeves, who asked him not to reveal the crisis to local MPs – although Mr Reeves later insisted that was a “misinterpretation”.

l Called on the museum to restore temporary exhibition space – because it was “missing out” on exhibitions.

Mr Blatchford defended the museum group’s actions by pointing to a surprise management shake-up at the media museum last year, to give it a “stronger technology focus”.

He said: “If we had wanted the museum to fail, all we had to do was do nothing. It was a sign of our faith in Bradford, not an absence of commitment.”

But he added: “If there had been a ten per cent cut, we would not have had the time or the money to achieve that, so there was a clear threat that the museum would not be sustainable.”

The hearing also heard alarming figures that laid bare the huge task ahead for the media museum to match the appeal of the National Railway Museum, in York, and the Museum of Science and Industry, in Manchester.

Bradford’s museum attracts only 8,000 overseas visitors each year – a fraction of those who go to York (48,000) and Manchester (51,000).

Bradford Council chief executive Tony Reeves told the committee that the Council was helping attract visitors to the museum with Westfield expected to start to build its Broadway retail centre later this year and that £24m had been spent on City Park.

“The National Media Museum is absolutely critical to the city and the jewel in the crown,” Mr Reeves said.

“Much has been said about visitor numbers declining, but the average is 650,000 and the million referred to was a blip. We cannot overstate the museum’s importance.

“If ever in any doubt about the international standing of the museum you only have to look at the likes of Martin Scorsese and the launch of the Whistling Woods Film School.

“There is overwhelming support to Bradford from across the globe. We will re-engage the museum locally to drive things forward.”

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey told the committee that the UK was in possession of four-world class museums, and that they appointed very “good people to run our national institutions”.

He said that the Imax cinema should be run as a commercial operation and that the museum’s collection needs to engage with younger people and asked Bradford Council and Bradford College to tackle the drop in visitor numbers.

Councillor David Green, the Leader of Bradford Council, said: “It’s brilliant news that the SMG has today given an assurance that none of the national science museums will close.

“Thanks to the phenomenal response of residents, councillors, MPs, organisations, celebrities and the T&A in support of the NMM plus strong regional, national and international support, we can now look forward to working in partnership to strengthen the museum, particularly its links with local businesses, schools, colleges, and the University.

“When the SMG has had chance to assess the full implications of the Spending Review, we need a clear indication of their plans to develop the museum which they run and where other public and private sector partners, including Bradford Council, can help them to secure a sustainable future for the museum.

“It is clear the NMM needs to remain part of the SMG and that the main responsibility for securing its future sustainability lies with the SMG.”

George Galloway MP (Respect, Bradford West) said it was not a surprise, but a great triumph for the T&A, while Mr Ward said he was surprised Mr Blatchford was still in a job and the announcement was “about time”.

Kris Hopkins MP (Con, Keighley) added: “Over the last number of weeks I have made clear that the museum was not under threat because the Culture Secretary, Maria Miller, assured personally me that it was not under threat.”

Councillor Jeanette Sunderland, the leader of the Liberal Democrats on the Council, said that it was fantastic news, adding: “Now it needs a new business plan and future.

“There is lots of goodwill that now needs to be capitalised on.”

Coun Glen Miller, the leader of the Conservatives on the Council, said that it was excellent news and that the “leading lights of the NMM” needed to look at what had been done previously and not scaremonger.

David Wilson, the director of Unesco City of Film, said that public opinion had saved the day. “The sheer strength of numbers surprised everyone how the NMM is held close to people’s hearts,” he added.

Steve Abbott, the chair of the Unesco City of Film, said: “We have been put through the mill for a couple of months.

“This is a new start for the museum and this is fantastic news.”

Sally Joynson, the chief executive of Screen Yorkshire, said that the news the museum was safe was “some of the best news that Bradford had in a long time” while Trevor Griffiths, from the Bradford Whistling Woods Film School said: “Thanks to the T&A this is absolutely marvellous.”

Bradford College’s principal Michele Sutton said: “If we had lost the museum the city of Bradford would have been dead. This is such a relief.”

Former NMM director Colin Philpott said that it showed the great support from people which he hoped would make more people visit and help support the facility. “Often in life we don’t really value things until someone might take them away,” he added.