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Islington Tribune - by MARK BLUNDEN
Published: 31 August 2007

MP Emily Thornberry holding ‘Build Homes Now’ banner joins protesting Labour politicians on the Town Hall steps in July
The MP, the judge and the auction

Critics hit out at MP over controversial house deal

WHILE Emily Thornberry’s personal crusade is to secure more social housing in Islington, her High Court judge husband has bought a housing association property at auction for more than £500,000.
The Labour member for Islington South and Finsbury and her spouse, Christopher Nugee QC, now rent out the three-storey period house, in Rawstorne Street, Finsbury, to Ms Thornberry’s parliamentary aides.
Ms Thornberry said in a statement: “We bought this property in the spring at auction. This is not about property speculation – we are providing cheap and cheerful accommodation for some young people.”
She was last night (Thursday) accused by Liberal Democrat opponents of “hypocrisy”.
Supporters, including veteran Labour councilor Wally Burgess, rallied around.
He said: “She does an excellent job and deserves better treatment. If it’s true then it’s a bit embarrassing, but there’s always more to these things.”
Land Registry documents show Deputy High Court judge Mr Nugee purchased the terraced house in Rawstorne Street, on March 23 this year for £572,000 from the Ujima housing association.
It was one of a number of homes in the terrace to be sold at auction and is now rented to, among others, Barnsbury Labour councillor James ­Murray and previously to parliamentary assistant John Greenshields.
At Ms Thornberry’s main home, in Richmond Crescent, Barnsbury, yesterday (Thursday), a young woman answered the door and at first shouted “Emily, Emily” but then closed the door and said the MP was on holiday.
The Tribune made repeated attempts to contact Ms Thornberry and her aides, including numerous text messages and phone calls.
Mr Nugee’s Wilberforce Chambers said he was on holiday and back on September 10.
The sale of the Rawstorne Street property is controversial given Ms Thornberry’s calls on Islington Council to build more homes to reduce the number of families on the housing waiting list.
The MP rallied outside the Town Hall last month with other Labour politicians with placards to protest to the ruling Lib Dems about the need for more social housing.
Another press release reads: “Emily has today written to the leader of Islington Council, Lib Dem James Kempton, asking him to rise to the challenge. She has offered to work together for the sake of the 13,000 families on the council’s waiting list.”
Her parliamentary register of interests shows Ms Thornberry has a “two-third interest in flat in Guildford, Surrey” and a “one-fifth interest in flat in South London”.
A Barnsbury house is registered both to Ms Thornberry and Mr Nugee and was purchased in 1993.
Councillor Terry Stacy, deputy Lib Dem leader, said: “Emily Thornberry has tried to make a name for herself by opposing Islington’s policies on affordable housing. This is nothing less than hypocrisy.”

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