Jeremy Corbyn just clobbered Theresa May at Prime Minister's Questions by revealing leaked messages between the leader of Surrey Council David Hodge and somebody called Nick, which referred to a secret Memorandum of Understanding in order for the Tory council to drop their referendum on a 15% Council Tax increase in order to fund their devastated social care budget.
Theresa May was clearly rattled by the ambush, but she held herself together to present a sequence of snide pre-written non-answers to Corbyn's questions, which, as everyone knows by now, is her only fallback given her abject inability to think on her feet.
More telling than Theresa May's floundering response to the shock revelation of the leaked messages was the reaction of the Tory local government minister Sajid Javid who looked well and truly guilty.
Theresa May's sequence of blatantly evasive non-answers to Jeremy Corbyn's questions are an absolute disgrace. Astoundingly the Speaker John Bercow actually intervened in the debate to chastise MPs for shouting and then say that "the questions will be heard and the answers will be heard", which is odd, because everyone could hear Jeremy Corbyn's questions (over the usual barrage of Tory braying and shouting), but all we heard from Theresa May were absolute non-answers.
In the kind of dream reality where the Speaker of the House of Commons is actually capable of competently chairing a debate, perhaps he might consider intervening to ensure that Theresa May's responses actually bear any relation to the question whatever?
One of Theresa May's most ludicrous reactions to Corbyn's ambush was to accuse Labour of dealing in "Alternative Facts", which is an audaciously cynical move. We all know that the term "alternative facts" was invented by a member of the Trump administration as an whitewash euphemism for "government lies", and we also all remember the way that Theresa May scuttled off to America at the first opportunity in order to deliver her "begging bowl" speech full of Trump eulogies and special pleading for the Tory-Trump trade deal that underpins her ludicrously inept Brexit strategy.
Theresa May had no answers whatever to explain what Surrey Council had been offered in order to get them to drop their council tax referendum. It's absolutely clear from the messages that some kind of offer was made, and that Sajid Javid's department and the Treasury Chief Secretary David Gauke were involved.
In the wake of the revelation David Hodge admitted that the messages were meant to be sent to Sajid Javid's special adviser Nick King, but that they were accidentally sent to a Labour councillor called Nick Forbes instead. It doesn't matter how the Tories try to spin this one, the messages were sent, and there was some kind of secret deal going on between Theresa May's government and Tory controlled Surrey Council.
It's vital that the Tories are made to reveal what kind of offer was made to Surrey Council, and whether such an offer is now going to be made to all of the other councils in the UK that are desperately struggling to provide social care as a result of the Tories' £4.6 billion in cuts to the social care budget since 2010.
Is this yet another case of the Tory government offering special favours to Tory councils, and screw everyone else? Or are they going to offer the secret deal that Surrey got to everyone else?
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