Council Criticised For Olympic Ticket Purchase

Plans For Merton's Mayor in 2012 To Attend Ceremonies

Merton Council has come under fire for buying tickets for the borough's 2012 Mayor and consort to attend the Olympic opening and closing ceremonies.

Merton, which has made a cross-party decision to spend £3,980 on the four tickets, is one of 11 London councils taking up some of the 96 tickets offered for purchase to each borough.

The decision was revealed after a Freedom of Information request by the Liberal Democrat's Greater London Assembly office.

Fourteen boroughs have said they are not taking up the option, with four yet to reply and three saying they are yet to decide.

Most of those who are purchasing tickets have said the tickets will be distributed to people including young sportspeople, volunteers and vulnerable residents.

Dee Doocey AM, Liberal Democrat London Assembly Member and Chair of the London Assembly, said: "I am astonished that Merton Council are planning to spend almost £4000 of taxpayers money on Olympic tickets for the Mayor and their Consort.

"How they can justify this profligate expenditure to local taxpayers is beyond my comprehension. Jumping the queue for tickets is bad enough - jumping the queue with tickets funded by your local council taxpayers is an absolute disgrace."

But Councillor Stephen Alambritis (left), Leader of Merton Council said: "Merton will only be buying two pairs of tickets for the Olympics. These will be for the Mayor of 2012 to attend both the opening and closing ceremonies with his or her consort.

"As a host borough at next year's games, Merton should have a presence at the ceremonies but whoever is Mayor at the time might still decide to return the tickets."

May 4, 2011