Wednesday 8 February 2017 / 2:44 PM 2017 Press Archive / The Latest from Labour

Jonathan Ashworth MP, Shadow Secretary
of Health, has today written to the Prime Minister to ask for clarity regarding
funding arrangements for social care at Surrey County Council.

The full text of the letter is below.

The Prime Minister

10 Downing Street

London SW1A 2AA

 

Prime Minister,

I am writing to you in light of today’s revelations about
text messages sent by the leader of Surrey County Council which suggest that
the Government has agreed to funding arrangements for social care that allow
the cancellation of a proposed referendum on a council tax increase in this
Council.

Given your failure to provide clarity on the issue when
asked in the Chamber today, and bearing in mind the great importance of this issue
given the crisis faced by social care in our country, I am hereby requesting
for the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to make an
urgent statement to the House tomorrow.

This news has caused considerable embarrassment to the Government,
in particular the Secretary of State for Health and the Chancellor of the
Exchequer. To rule out any suggestions of wrongdoing, the Government now needs
to confirm that no special deal has been offered or granted to Surrey County
Council.

 I believe that the British public deserve full transparency
on the issue. In the public interest, I therefore ask you to publish
immediately and without delay;

1. The memorandum of understanding referenced in the text
messages sent by the leader of Surrey County Council;

2. All text message correspondence between Surrey County
Council and Government officials in the Cabinet Office, the Department for
Communities and Local Government, the Department of Health, and the Treasury
regarding social care funding and/or the proposed referendum;

3. All written or electronic correspondence between Surrey
County Council and Government officials in the Cabinet Office, the Department
for Communities and Local Government, the Department of Health, and the
Treasury regarding social care funding and/or the proposed referendum;

4. Details and minutes of all meetings held between Surrey
County Council and Government officials in the Cabinet Office, the Department
for Communities and Local Government, the Department of Health, and the
Treasury regarding social care funding and/or the proposed referendum.

Additionally, as the Prime Minister knows the Ministerial
Code requires holders of public office to “act and take decisions in an open and
transparent manner” and that “information should not be withheld from the
public unless there are clear and lawful reasons for doing so”. I am therefore
asking you to confirm that any misconduct by Ministers related to this matter
will be investigated and treated as a breach of the Ministerial Code.

Given the questions these news raise about proper conduct
and transparency of Government policy-making, I am sending a copy of this
letter to the Director General of the Propriety and Ethics Team. I will also be
publishing this letter.

Yours sincerely,

Jonathan Ashworth MP

cc. Sue Gray, Director General, Propriety and Ethics Team
and Head of Private Offices Group