Vid: May’s ‘rough-sleeping task-force’ – No.10 refuses to say when PMQ-featured meeting arranged

may task force.png

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn challenged Theresa May during PMQs yesterday over the fact that a ‘rough-sleeping task-force’ she had set up last November hadn’t met four months later – especially damning when Britain has just endured one of its most severe cold spells in years and the number of people sleeping rough in the UK has more than doubled:

Mrs May seemed to think that announcing that the task-force had met for the first time on the morning of that PMQs session was a triumph, rather than looking like a last-gasp attempt to avoid having to admit that it had done nothing to help rough sleepers even during a vicious freeze. The point was not missed by honest media observers:

But a key question didn’t seem to be discussed online: when had May arranged the meeting? So we asked Number 10.

The first response was vague, alluding to a discussing during a meeting of ‘Westminster lobby’ journalists:

The taskforce met this morning. The PM spokesperson at lobby was asked when it was arranged and he confirmed that the taskforce meeting had been planned for a while (he pointed towards the fact we said in a readout of cabinet a couple of weeks ago that it would happen).

So we asked for clarification of what ‘said it would happen’ and ‘a while’ meant – was the precise date given during the ‘readout’? The answer:

We didn’t – but we don’t normally set out exact dates of meetings that far in advance. We would have likely just given a steer it was due to happen soon.

So if the date of the meeting wasn’t set ‘a couple of weeks ago’, when was it set? We asked again: “So when was the date fixed?”

Sorry, we wouldn’t normally provide details on exactly when meetings have been scheduled

Downing Street declined to say when the date of yesterday’s meeting was fixed – which would hardly seem to be sensitive information, unless it was embarrassingly recent.

Number 10 also refused to say who was in the meeting, pointing only to a list of members that might have been – so it’s possible that one or two of them had a quick chat during a smoking break and May claimed it as a meeting of the task-force.

What can be said with certainty is that a ‘task-force’ set up to deal with rough sleeping didn’t meet for four of the coldest months of the year – and even when a meeting was loosely mentioned, a further two weeks went past before it met.

During one of the bitterest freezes in recent decades.

And Theresa May looked like she thought giving that answer was a triumph, instead of demonstrating a lack of genuine concern for the plight of our homeless people.

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      1. I know it’s never going to happen but it would be interesting to see the minutes of yesterdays meeting.

  1. Even when someone tragically died right next to parliament recently it triggered nothing, just goes to show the absolute contempt the Tories hold for a large section of society.

    How the hell can they still be in governance?

  2. I watched this yesterday. She was stuttering with his first question. My oh My. Interesting tactic moving from one issue to another and she was off guard. The fact is what this government say and do are completely different things.

    Whilst in Brighton and Hove a city with just 300k residents. We have 180 visible rough sleepers freezing to death hoping for a way out.

    The tories plan is to aim to end rough sleeping by 2027. WTF! How many people would have died between now and then.

  3. ‘It met today’.

    PMQ’s starts @12noon, does it not?

    So, the meeting had been concluded (It ‘met’ – past tense) by the time the question was asked.

    Which means in FOUR MONTHS we can safely assume that they have decided to dedicate a mere three hours (or less) to the issue.

    But I guess we ought to be grateful for their alacrity and assiduity on this issue…

    After all, it’s about as much time as david davis has dedicated to ANY sort of parliamentary business (Including brexit) in the last 20 MONTHS.

    It’d almost be amusing if it weren’t correct. 🙁

  4. So we could work out that shamefully after 4 months it met what between 8.00am -12.00 on the morning before JC asked this question?
    Freedom of Information request anyone for the minutes which will include attendees, length of meeting, what was discussed, any actions? Perhaps Labour shouldn’t play the game of giving them a written version of your PM questions or at least anticipate their response as you finish the question and all May does is drone out stats!

    1. Yes, it looks for all intents and puposes like they got wind of the fact that JC was going to ask May a question on the matter, and so they then hurriedly arranged a meeting of the task force BEFORE he did, and THAT of course is the reason why they wouldn’t give skwawkbox a date for when the meeting had been arranged. One can only wonder WHEN they would have had their first meeting if JC HADN’T!

      1. More to the point, who is still trying to sabotage Labour by leaking to the Tories ?

      2. Yes Steve, and THAT’S only one aspect of it. ‘They’ love sowing suspicion and mistrust among their political opponents, or enemies, as they would see it, as with their infiltration of hundreds and hundreds of environmental and animal welfare etc, etc groups. THAT is the sole reason they do it. NOT because they think anyone is gonna commit a crime. Yep, our very own British Stasi, compliments of the Establishment. Fascist to the core!

  5. As Theresa May gets written questions before Question Time, no doubt she hurriedly arranged the meeting knowing she would be asked that question, so that she could appear to cleverly put Jeremy on the back foot, but all it did was prove that Jeremy puts her on the back foot every time.

    So many times the Tories prove that they are unfit to govern, so many times have they sold us all down the river.

    1. I think written questions are a different matter. Anyway, I just did a search, and on the Parliament.UK website it says this:

      The Prime Minister answers questions from MPs in the Commons every sitting Wednesday from 12pm to 12.30pm.

      The session normally starts with a routine question from an MP about the Prime Minister’s engagements. This is known as an ‘open question’ and means that the MP can then ask a supplementary question on any subject.

      Following the answer, the MP then raises a particular issue, often one of current political significance. The Leader of the Opposition then follows up on this or another topic, being permitted to ask a total of six questions. The Leader of the Opposition is the only MP who is allowed to come back with further questions.

      Most MPs will table the same question about engagements and if they do, only their names will appear on the question book. After the first engagements question has been asked, any other MPs who have tabled the same question are simply called to ask an untabled, supplementary question.

      This means, in theory, that the Prime Minister will not know what questions will be asked of them. However, the Prime Minister will be extensively briefed by government departments in anticipation of likely subjects they could be asked about.


      So it would appear that the Tories/May were tipped off in advance , so either one of JC’s colleagues leaked it to them, or they’ve got his office bugged (and telephone etc monitored). I know I HAVE!

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