Tulisa's drug trial has collapsed. Photo: Getty
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Tulisa drug trial collapses because of Fake Sheikh's testimony

The singer Tulisa's drug trial has collapsed because of "strong grounds to believe" the Sun's Mazher Mahmood "lied" at the pre-trial hearing.

The trial of Tulisa Contostavlos over drugs allegations has collapsed, Press Gazette reports.

The singer was accused of boasting that she could "sort out" cocaine for a journalist and put him in touch with her rapper friend Mike GLC, who supplied the Class A drug.

Undercover reporter Mazher Mahmood, dubbed the "Fake Sheikh", posed as a wealthy film producer called Samir Khan when he met the former X Factor judge at a string of luxury hotels and restaurants, jurors at London's Southwark Crown Court heard.

Contostavlos vehemently denied brokering the deal, which was exposed in the Sun on Sunday newspaper last June.

Today judge Alistair McCreath told the jury that the case "cannot go any further" because there were "strong grounds to believe" that Mahmood had "lied" at a hearing before the trial started.

After hearing the news, Contostavlos urged police to investigate Mahmood and "put an end to his deceits".

This article is an extract from a story that originally appeared on Press Gazette. Click here to read the original piece.

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The big problem for the NHS? Local government cuts

Even a U-Turn on planned cuts to the service itself will still leave the NHS under heavy pressure. 

38Degrees has uncovered a series of grisly plans for the NHS over the coming years. Among the highlights: severe cuts to frontline services at the Midland Metropolitan Hospital, including but limited to the closure of its Accident and Emergency department. Elsewhere, one of three hospitals in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland are to be shuttered, while there will be cuts to acute services in Suffolk and North East Essex.

These cuts come despite an additional £8bn annual cash injection into the NHS, characterised as the bare minimum needed by Simon Stevens, the head of NHS England.

The cuts are outlined in draft sustainability and transformation plans (STP) that will be approved in October before kicking off a period of wider consultation.

The problem for the NHS is twofold: although its funding remains ringfenced, healthcare inflation means that in reality, the health service requires above-inflation increases to stand still. But the second, bigger problem aren’t cuts to the NHS but to the rest of government spending, particularly local government cuts.

That has seen more pressure on hospital beds as outpatients who require further non-emergency care have nowhere to go, increasing lifestyle problems as cash-strapped councils either close or increase prices at subsidised local authority gyms, build on green space to make the best out of Britain’s booming property market, and cut other corners to manage the growing backlog of devolved cuts.

All of which means even a bigger supply of cash for the NHS than the £8bn promised at the last election – even the bonanza pledged by Vote Leave in the referendum, in fact – will still find itself disappearing down the cracks left by cuts elsewhere. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. He usually writes about politics.