‘Please can I have a council flat in Covent Garden?’

QUESTION Time can turn Thursday nights into a bit of a witching hour for those interested in the politics. As Michael Howard, Caroline Flint, Sarah Teather and co argued over welfare caps last night, a woman from the Aldershot audience suggested she lived out in Hampshire because her means simply did not allow her to live in London. The suggestion here is that if people on half decent wages can’t afford this overpriced city, why should everybody pay for people who do not work to have the privilege of living here (if you think living in an overcrowded council flat or an oversold bedsit is a privilege).

This all triggered a fruity exchange between Camden Council leader Sarah Hayward and Richard Merrin, a former Conservative council election candidate who stood for the Tories in Hornsey and Wood Green. In the back of Richard’s mind here, as he mischievously asks for a council flat in central London, is the lingering Conservative fury at Frank Dobson living in one in Bloomsbury. It all gets a bit messy. You wonder if Twitter is the best place for a debate of such complexity. The trail suggests bad language, a viperish tone and Sarah being told she is a ‘public sector ass’. Richard, normally a good sport, later reported Sarah had delivered that ultimate snub in response: she blocked him on Twitter.

— Richard Merrin (@richardmerrin) April 18, 2013

4 Comments on ‘Please can I have a council flat in Covent Garden?’

  1. I didn’t block him because he challenged me – as you can see I responded. I blocked him when he started swearing at me.

  2. Judith Pattison // April 20, 2013 at 11:39 am //

    Nasty v Nasty. A pox on … etc.

  3. An interesting search on Google describes Richard Merrin as the managing director of a PR firm. So he may be right, alas, that he creates jobs, but how can he claim to create wealth?


  4. I blocked Merrin too – after he started at me in a similar tone late one evening. I flagged it with the Camden Tories, but they just laughed it off.

    It’s worth noting that council housing isn’t ‘state funded’ as described – tenants’ rents fund council housing – it goes into the ringfenced housing revenue account.

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