Thursday, 13 March 2008

Free hospitality for Hilary

by Cobbler’s apprentice

North West Durham MP Hilary Armstrong isn’t slow to take advantage of the first-class hospitality at the Stadium of Light – free of course – when she goes to watch her beloved Sunderland. In the official register of Members’ interests, nder “gifts, benefits and hospitality”, Armstrong has declared: “during the 2006-07 season I attended ten football matches at the Stadium of Light, as guest of the Chairman of the club, Niall Quin. At eight of the matches I was accompanied either by my husband or my brother.”

Hilary Armstrong not only supports Sunderland, she is also a big supporter of having a Trinity Academy in Consett, despite the fact that it would involve the closure of two local secondary schools and is strongly opposed by local county councillors. The co-sponsors of the Trinity Academy are businessmen Sir Peter Vardy and Bob Murray. Vardy’s are Sunderland sponsors, and Murray is a former chairman of the club.

Only a hardened cynic would suggest that getting lavish hospitality at Sunderland games could possibly influence Ms Armstrong’s support for a Trinity Academy in her patch. There is of course no connection whatsoever between the two.

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