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Islington housing chief accepts invite from landlord to private box at Lord’s Cricket Ground

PUBLISHED: 17:41 27 September 2013

Cllr James Murray, Islington Council's executive member for housing

Cllr James Murray, Islington Council's executive member for housing

Archant

The councillor in charge of housing was wined and dined in a private box at a posh sporting venue by one of London’s biggest landlords.

Lord's. Photo: Anthony Devlin/PALord's. Photo: Anthony Devlin/PA

Cllr James Murray, Islington Council’s executive member for housing and development, accepted an offer from Family Mosaic to attend a cricket match at Lord’s Cricket Ground in July this year.

The invitation was listed on the ‘members’ register of gifts’ at Islington Council. The match was a Twenty20 game between Middlesex and Essex and included ‘a hot buffet meal with drinks’.

Cllr Murray told the Gazette he accepted the invitation as it was a chance to speak to the landlord about housing priorities in the borough.

He said: “I took it as a chance to discuss what we need in the borough. I talked about things such as building more affordable housing.”

The social landlord is one of the biggest homeowners in the south east with 24,000 homes for rent and 45,000 tenants - a number of which are in Islington.

A housing campaigner questioned the wisdom of attending such events arguing any discussions about the borough should be had in the open.

He said: “They (councillors) should have more sense than to accept these sorts of invitations.

“If Cllr Murray wants to put across priorities, this should have been done through a proper consultation. It should not be done at a private invitation event.”

When asked why he could not have a discussion about Islington’s housing priorities in a different setting, Cllr James said there was a broad range of people at the event and it was an opportunity to talk to them all.

He said: “I don’t know much about cricket and I still don’t after going to the match as I took it as an opportunity to talk to people.

“I went there because it was a chance to speak to lots of people and other councils about the needs of Islington.”

A spokesman for Family Mosaic told the Gazette it always hosts an annual relationship building event at Lord’s and invites people from the housing sector across London and the south east.

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