Pre-Budget bombshell for the government: BBC Surrey has got hold of a leaked recording where Surrey council leader David Hodge admits he secured a “gentleman’s agreement” with the government over the council tax referendum. In the leaked tape Hodge says he has written assurances and recordings from ministers including Sajid Javid. He says he secured a “gentleman’s agreement” with the government – something he and Number 10 have publicly denied. And he claims Javid met with Philip Hammond and then relayed to Surrey council “things we could say and things we couldn’t say”.
When Corbyn made the allegations of a sweetheart deal at PMQs Theresa May accused him of “alternative facts”. The Prime Minister’s spokesman said that “the suggestion there was extra money promised” was “without any basis”. Uh oh…
UPDATE: Tim Farron calls for Theresa May to come to the House to apologise.
UPDATE II: Team Corbyn say the PM’s spokesman has “clearly lied”.
UPDATE III: A government spokesman dumps on David Hodge:
“As we have repeatedly made clear, there was no special deal for Surrey County Council and they will not receive any extra funding that would not otherwise be provided or offered to other councils. To imply the opposite is simply untrue.