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Closed Circuit: lime and coriander

Two cheeky popular high street grilled chicken dinners for our departed housing minister, a dangerous umbrella, and mayoral memories go amiss at the Conservative conference

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Closed Circuit: lime and coriander

Big news this week for Gavin Barwell’s many devoted fans. The best housing minister of 2017 (January to June category) had been off Twitter since losing his seat as an MP in the general election in June – but he has broken his silence.

Some time over the past two weeks, Mr Barwell suddenly remembered the password to his Twitter account and has fired off 13 tweets in that time.

Closed Circuit has analysed his output and has discovered that Mr Barwell appears to be on commission from a popular high street grilled chicken brand.

A tweet on 23 September read: “The perfect end to a pretty intense week #Croydon @NandosUK”.

Two weeks later on 6 October, he tweeted: “End of another intense week so it must be time for…” – with an image of a Nando’s menu.

So, the big question for the housing sector: what spice level does the housing-minister-turned-PM’s-advisor go for? “He’s got lime and coriander written all over him,” said one follower.

In these uncertain times, risk for social landlords can manifest in unexpected places. Places including windy Aberdeen.

That point was demonstrated brilliantly last week by Alistair Berwick, director at finance and risk management consultancy Murja.

Mr Berwick was due to deliver a talk on – you guessed it – risk, at the Social Housing Finance Conference Glasgow, but was unable to make it.

His replacement solemnly informed the audience that the consultant was in hospital, having injured his thumb putting up his umbrella in Aberdeen, much to the audience’s bemusement. But come, come, it’s not nice to poke fun at the misfortunes of others. Closed Circuit wishes Mr Berwick a speedy recovery.

The metro mayors are the hot ticket in the local government world, so Closed Circuit was keen to chat to a few at the Conservative Party conference last week.

First stop, Tim Bowles, the new West of England mayor. After a quick catch-up on all things housing in his region, Mr Bowles asked Closed Circuit to wish fellow metro mayor James Palmer a happy birthday – the two work closely together, apparently.

Sadly, such jocularity wasn’t reciprocated by Mr Palmer, who looked blank when Closed Circuit passed on the birthday wishes, and then proceeded to get his colleague’s name wrong. Who’s Peter Bowles?

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