Statement on Surrey Conservatives’ ‘gentleman’s deal’ with the Government

David Hodge, leader of Surrey County Council, told Conservative colleagues that he had reached a “gentleman’s agreement” with senior cabinet ministers that persuaded him to cancel a threatened 15% council tax rise.

According to media reports, in a secret recording of a Conservative group meeting on 7 February, Hodge revealed there had been a “series of conversations” with the communities secretary, Sajid Javid, and a meeting with the chancellor, Philip Hammond.

He apparently said he had struck a deal with the government before scrapping the proposed 15% council tax hike.

The prime minister has repeatedly denied giving a special deal. But on the recording, Councillor Hodge said he had written government assurances and recordings of talks.

Cllr Jonathan Essex said, “The situation here in Surrey shows this Government is failing to apply the Nolan principles, from the Chancellor down.

“If we are all in this together, then the contents of this sweetheart deal should be reflected in a better deal for ALL Councils in today’s Budget speech. The government has cut too deep into Council budgets and it is affecting Councils’ ability to provide frontline services up and down the UK.

“Integrity, transparency, fairness and openness should sit at the heart of government. This revelation exposes shady deals at the heart of the way the May government does business.”

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