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Politics update – ransom letters for May, slow starts on government pledges

Politics update – ransom letters for May, slow starts on government pledges

Jean-Claude Juncker and Theresa May

The government’s anti-homelessness taskforce has not held a single meeting

Ministers have openly admitted that the ‘Rough Sleeping and Homelessness Reduction Taskforce’ announced by Philip Hammond last November has not yet held a single meeting.

In his Autumn Budget, the Chancellor said the Government was committed to halving rough sleeping by 2022 and eliminating it by 2027. The taskforce was announced following a spike in the number of people who are sleeping rough.

Philip Hammond and Theresa May House of Commons

In response to a parliamentary question from John Healey, Labour’s Shadow Housing Secretary, Heather Wheeler, a minister at the Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government, said that government was “committed to halving rough sleeping by 2022 and eliminating it by 2027”, but that arrangements for the first meetings of the taskforce were still “being finalised”.

Hard Brexit Demands for May

More than 60 backbench Conservative MPs have sent a letter to Theresa May containing a list of hard Brexit demands, The letter was also sent to the Brexit secretary, David Davis, the international trade secretary, Liam Fox, and the chief whip, Julian Smith, ahead of a crunch meeting to be held on Thursday to decide what the Brexit cabinet will aim to achieve in further talks with the EU.

The demands have been met with a backlash from other tory MPs, including soft Brexit advocate Nicky Morgan, chair of the Treasury select committee, who said on Tuesday that the letter was “a ransom note”, and that the tory MPs from the party’s European Research Group who fronted the letter “clearly think they have the prime minister as their hostage.”


Corbyn responds to smear campaign

Jeremy Corbyn has responded to allegations that he is a Czechoslovakian spy by issuing a condemnation of the newspapers that originally printed the story. Ján Sarkocy, a communist spy during the Cold War, claimed Corbyn had met with him on various during the 1980s to share information. Corbyn said in a video released by the Labour party on Tuesday that the willingness of the newspapers who originally printed the story – the Sun, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph and Daily Express – to publish the “ridiculous smears” shows “just how worried the media bosses are by the prospect of a Labour government.”

Speaking in the video released by the party, Corbyn continued: “A free press is essential for democracy and we don’t want to close it down, we want to open it up. At the moment, much of our press isn’t very free at all. In fact it’s controlled by billionaire tax exiles, who are determined to dodge paying their fair share for our vital public services.

“The general election showed the media barons are losing their influence and social media means their bad old habits are becoming less and less relevant. But instead of learning these lessons they’re continuing to resort to lies and smears.”

The allegations against Mr. Corbyn have since been rejected by the director of the Czech security service archive, Světlana Ptáčníková, who told the BBC that their files kept from the former informant Ján Sarkocy suggested that the Labour leader was seen as a potential contact but was not an informant.

The Independent has a run-down of the past attempts of tabloid papers to link Labour leaders with Communism.

That Stormzy freestyle

After winning two awards at the 2018 Brit awards, south London MC Stormzy laid into Theresa May with a freestyle that criticised her government’s approach to the Grenfell tower tragedy as well as the drug-taking hypocrisy of many MPs.

“Theresa May, where’s the money for Grenfell?” he said, continuing: “just forgot about Grenfell, you criminals, and you got the cheek to call us savages, you should do some jail time, you should pay some damages, we should burn your house down and see if you can manage this.”

Watch the freestyle below:

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