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May 1) Prime Minister attacks Corbyn over Labour anti-Semitism

MAY Theresa menacing“Theresa May will today take a swipe at Labour over its abject failure to clamp down on anti-Semitism in its ranks. The Prime Minister will announce that under her government, Britain will become one of the first countries to adopt a new international definition of anti-Semitism. The move will make it easier to fight the hatred of Jews by ensuring culprits cannot get away with being anti-Semitic just because the term is ill-defined. In an apparent dig at Jeremy Corbyn, she will say: ‘Anti-Semitism should have no place in politics and no place in this country.” – Daily Mail

  • New definition includes “over-sweeping condemnation of Israel” – The Guardian

More Labour:

  • Abbott and Livingstone give Labour leader one year to close polling gap – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Abbott – “I’m confident we’re going to close the opinion poll gap within the coming twelve months”

May 2) Steep council tax rises to fund social care

“Theresa May will back steep rises to council tax bills this week in an attempt to plug a gaping hole in social care funding. Warnings of an “absolute crisis” in the industry have prompted the prime minister to drop her opposition to the increases, as the government strives to prove that it is facing up to the ballooning costs of caring for Britain’s ageing population. The move comes after Mrs May prevented Philip Hammond, the chancellor, from addressing social care in his autumn statement last month.” – The Times (£)

  • Rises in council tax will ‘increase postcode lottery’ in care – The Guardian
  • Loss of EU workers threatens to collapse care system – The Times (£)
  • How the Tories buried social care in Britain – Rachel Sylvester and Alice Thomson, The Times (£)

Editorial:

May 3) Shops will not be forced to close on Boxing Day

Building shield“Theresa May has refused calls to force all shops to close on Boxing Day, saying it is not the Government’s job to tell businesses how they should run their shows. MPs will hold a Westminster Hall debate on a petition with more than 140,000 signatures calling for a ban on all retail premises opening the day after Christmas, on the basis that it exploits low paid workers. The British Retail Consortium says Boxing Day has been a popular shopping day for years. UK shoppers spent £3.74 billion in the Boxing Day sales in 2015, according to research from VoucherCodes.co.uk and the Centre for Retail Research – a 6 per cent increase on 2014.” – Daily Telegraph

May 4) Morgan branded hypocrite over criticism of Prime Minister’s clothes

“Nicky Morgan was under attack last night for criticising Theresa May over her expensive taste in trousers – despite having a £950 handbag herself… Last week she laid into the Prime Minister after Mrs May wore designer leather trousers worth £995 for a magazine photo-shoot, suggesting it would not go down well with her constituents ‘in Loughborough market’. The row led to Mrs Morgan being banned from a No 10 meeting after a spat erupted with one of Mrs May’s most senior aides.” – Daily Mail

  • Former education secretary insists she’ll keep fighting – The Times (£)
  • How the May’s rottweiler defends her boss – Daily Mail

Sketch:

  • Ambition matched only by duplicity and lack of talent – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail

Comment:

  • Theresa’s trousers just go to show she’s not a phony – Dominic Lawson, Daily Mail
  • It’s all about the trousers, not who wears them – Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph

Editorial:

>Today:

Ministers 1) Davis wins trust as Brexit broker

EU Brexit“Theresa May took a big risk when she made David Davis her Brexit minister: a political bruiser given to making unpredictable gestures was charged with the most sensitive diplomatic task in a generation. The FT’s revelation last week that Mr Davis told City figures he might consider a transitional Brexit deal but only to be “kind” to a supplicant EU confirmed a suspicion in Brussels that the Eurosceptic minister is “deluded”… But at home it is a different story. In Westminster, Mr Davis is generally winning positive reviews, praised by Leave campaigners while reassuring former Remainers on the Conservative benches that behind the pre-negotiation bluster is a more subtle understanding of what lies ahead.” – FT

  • Bone tears into Europhile lawyer behind legal campaign – Daily Express
  • Mandelson backs third legal challenge – Daily Mail
  • Fury as Abbott hints Labour may vote against Article 50 – Daily Express
  • British Future call for all EU residents already here to be allowed to stay – The Times (£)

Home Nations:

  • Peers urge special post-Brexit status for Northern Ireland – FT
  • Proposal would give Stormont control of EU citizens’ movement rights – Belfast Telegraph
  • Ulster peace process at risk without free movement, report warns – The Sun
  • Listen to Scotland or we’ll leave the UK, declares Salmond – Daily Express
  • Fears Brexit could hurt trade and travel between Wales and Ireland – Wales Online

Economy:

  • Equivalence deal may be the best the City can get – FT
  • Economy grows at best rate all year, despite warnings of a Brexit slowdown… – Daily Mail
  • …but UK’s largest companies gloomy about 2017 prospects – FT
  • Firms face more red tape if UK quits customs union – The Guardian

Comment:

  • Brexit means cheaper food for Britons – John Longworth, The Times (£)
  • The left are being sore losers and democracy is poorer for it – Tim Stanley, Daily Telegraph

Editorial:

  • The UK and Ireland: a special relationship needs a special solution – The Guardian

>Today: Nadhim Zahawi MP’s column: Britain cannot be an international Jobcentre Plus. Free movement from the EU must be curbed.

>Yesterday:

Ministers 2) Johnson urges ‘candid’ relationship with Saudi Arabia

“Boris Johnson stressed the need for candour with Saudi Arabia yesterday on a visit to Riyadh dominated by the fallout from his claim that Britain’s ally was waging “proxy wars” in the Middle East. The foreign secretary was furious after being rebuked by Downing Street over his remarks, which were reported just as Theresa May finished her own visit to the Gulf last week. Allies of Mr Johnson insisted that he would not change his approach as foreign secretary, after being called in for a one-to-one meeting with the prime minister. Sir Michael Fallon, the defence secretary, added to the pressure on Mr Johnson yesterday, emphasising Saudi Arabia’s value as an intelligence and trade partner.” – The Times (£)

  • Foreign Secretary refuses to back down as he meets Saudi monarch – Daily Telegraph

More Johnson:

  • Blair’s bid for more resources rejected as cost to taxpayer hits £3m per year – The Sun

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Fallon – There’s a danger that Johnson’s words get “slightly over-contextualised”

Matthew d’Ancona: The rules of international diplomacy have not changed for Boris

JOHNSON Boris Foreign Office appointment“There is a perfectly defensible argument that Britain should publicly break off its deep and long-standing relationship with Saudi. But that is emphatically not what is at stake here. In accepting the post of foreign secretary, Johnson became the nation’s most senior diplomat and global plenipotentiary. He agreed to defend and advance the government’s interests and arguments, rather than his own private opinions. He did not sign up to be a foreign correspondent with a motorcade, roving the planet, armed with a megaphone, at liberty to say whatever he pleases.” – The Guardian

  • Johnson must keep in line with ‘global Britain’ – Richard Whitman, The Times (£)

Ministers 3) International Development department fails to track £274m donation

“Britain has given £274 million in foreign aid to a controversial climate change organisation without knowing where the money goes. The donation to the Strategic Climate Fund was made so that the government would get closer to meeting its promise to spend 0.7 per cent of national income on overseas aid. The fund was disclosed last year to be the fifth-largest recipient among international bodies getting money from the aid budget and Britain has been its biggest donor — pledging $3 billion of its $8 billion budget. Critics have noted that it is difficult to tell exactly who receives its money. The United States has threatened to stop giving it any cash.” – The Times (£)

Ministers 4) Rudd condemns striking train drivers

On strike“The Home Secretary has condemned an “unacceptable” rail strike that will this week completely shut down one of the country’s busiest commuter routes for the first time. Amber Rudd attacked plans by the Aslef union for a drivers’ strike on three days this week and in the New Year that will stop all Southern Rail services. As many as 500,000 passengers will be affected every day. There are growing concerns about the economic impact of the strike, which comes during one of the busiest shopping weeks of the year ahead of Christmas.” – Daily Telegraph

Scottish Conservatives accuse SNP of wasting more than £940m of taxpayers’ money…

“More than £940 million of taxpayers’ cash has been lost to waste and projects going over budget in Scotland’s ­public sector since the SNP came to power, say the Scottish ­Conservatives. The figures have been unveiled in a dossier which is calling on ministers to cut waste and hand the savings back to families and businesses in the form of tax breaks in finance secretary Derek MacKay’s budget this week. The report, entitled Mackay’s Missing Millions, claims the cost of over-budget government projects and departmental waste since the SNP 
came to power now runs to £431.5m.” – The Scotsman

  • Sturgeon’s economic growth adviser warns against tax hike on the wealthy – Daily Telegraph
  • Frontline Scottish services face £700m in cuts – The Scotsman

…as Welsh Tories brand Jones a ‘failure’

Welsh Conservatives“Carwyn Jones has been accused of presiding over “seven kinds of failure” as he celebrates seven years as First Minister of Wales. Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies launched a scathing attack on Mr Jones’ record, listing a succession of policy areas in which he claimed the First Minister had failed… Mr Davies said: “Just weeks after taking office, Carwyn Jones outlined a bold philosophy for government, describing education and skills as the key to Wales’ success, and promising to strengthen the Welsh education system. Fast forward seven years, and it’s clear that it hasn’t gone to plan.” – Wales Online

News in Brief:

  • Ofgem executive warns of ‘energy crisis’ caused by reliance on renewables – Daily Telegraph
  • Ofsted chief’s damning parting shot at Birmingham’s ‘rotten borough’ – Daily Mail
  • Far right group that backed Jo Cox’s killer is outlawed – The Times (£)
  • President-elect heads for confrontation with the CIA – FT
  • Six terror suspects arrested after dawn raids across the UK – Daily Express
  • US-China tensions escalate after Trump call with Taiwan – Daily Telegraph
  • £22m compensation paid to Iraqis who ‘killed and maimed UK troops’ – Daily Mail

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