As if any more information was needed that Theresa May lied to the House of Commons – a resignation offence – when she claimed there was no ‘sweetheart deal’ with Surrey County Council to persuade one of the richest councils in England to cancel a planned referendum on a huge council tax rise, the proverbial ‘smoking gun’ has now come to light.
Mrs May accused Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn of making up ‘alternative facts’ about Surrey during PMQs (Prime Minister’s questions), stating that she had ‘destroyed’ his claims, in spite of the clear evidence of leaked text messages. By doing so, she committed the ‘cardinal sin’ of parliamentary politics and is honour-bound to resign.
If she had any honour.
Any imagined ‘wiggle room’ – already a forlorn hope after the release of a recording of Surrey CC head David Hodge describing his experience of discussions with Cabinet-level government ministers about special incentives – that May might have hoped for vanished today with the publication of emails between Jonathan Lord, Tory MP for Woking, and Hodge.
Emails that put beyond doubt the fact that there was a ‘sweetheart deal’ – and that Theresa May therefore lied to Parliament.
The email thread reproduced at the end of this article shows that:
- Hodge discussed ‘collective action’ by Tory MPs with Lord to change local government funding
- Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, had given assurances that he was ‘trying very hard indeed’ to find additional funds for Surrey – and only for Surrey
- Javid was prepared, if he couldn’t find extra money or get any allocated by the Treasury, to reduce the funds of every other council in the country to find tens of millions extra for Surrey, one of the richest
If Theresa May was filmed puffing the smoke away from the end of the gun-barrel while standing over the still-twitching corpses of truth and integrity, the evidence couldn’t be any more damning.
May and her government were prepared to further impoverish the entire country in order to rescue themselves from some political embarrassment – and she lied flat out to the House.
It’s a sign of the perversity of our political system that Mrs May is obliged to resign for the latter and not for the former – and of its leprous sickness that she is likely to ignore that obligation unless she is forced to act upon it. It is also a nauseating indictment of the state of our media that none of the mainstream broadcasters or press is even mentioning it.
So it’s up to us to spread the word and raise the stink this bullshit merits.
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