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Election 1) May insists that she will get immigration under control

IMMIGRATION mat“Theresa May stood by her pledge to slash immigration to the tens of thousands today after a senior minister appeared to distance the Tories from it. On her latest campaign visit to the battleground seat of Enfield North, Mrs May said her ambition remained to slash net migration to ‘sustainable levels’ seven years after the Conservatives made the pledge. Culture Secretary Karen Bradley fuelled speculation the target could be dropped today when she claimed border control is ‘not about putting numbers on it’. Mrs May’s second visit to a target seat in two days is a clear signal of her desire to raid Labour territory to boost her majority. Enfield North was a rare Tory loss in 2015 and the party will want it back.” – Daily Mail

  • ‘Tens of thousands’ pledge will be in the manifesto – The Sun
  • May wants MPs to help write manifesto – The Guardian

>Today: ToryDiary: Gummer. Freeman. Godfrey – and Timothy. The team helping to shape the Conservative manifesto.

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Crosby was in charge of Cameron’s campaign. Will he be the master of May’s?

Election 2) Moscow would welcome a Corbyn victory, warns Fallon

“Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘gutlessness’ means Moscow would celebrate a Labour election win, according to a top Tory. Sir Michael Fallon, the Defence Secretary, has suggested Russian president Vladimir Putin will be pleased to have ‘feeble’ Corbyn at the head of the UK government. e will have watched the Labour leader’s opposition to bolstering the armed forces and would welcome it if he triumphed on June 8, Sir Michael said. The Tory cabinet minister attacked Corbyn during a visit to Estonia, where he met British troops sent to the border in the face of Russian aggression.” – Daily Mail

  • Tory election bosses fear party’s giant poll lead may cost it landslide – The Sun

More Fallon:

  • Defence Secretary salutes 800 troops deployed to Estonia – The Sun

>Today: Iain Dale’s column: My election prediction. May will be back in Downing Street with a Commons majority of 74 seats.

>Yesterday:

Election 3) Michael Gove: Now we’ll see what Mayism really looks like

MAY Britannia“I think I know what Mayism with a popular mandate will look like. And it won’t fit into any of the existing boxes within which both commentators and opponents seek to confine Conservatives. One of the least credible lines of attack on the PM is that she hopes Brexit will open the door to Britain becoming a Singapore-style small state sweatshop economy. The prime minister is a believer in an activist state, in her own words in “the good that government can do”. But while she is certainly not a libertarian avid to serve the gods of capital, she is also not an old-school Tory paternalist after the model of a Macmillan or Whitelaw.” – The Times (£)

  • A manifesto will free May’s hand, but minimalism carries its own risks – Fraser Nelson, Daily Telegraph
  • This election is a chance to reset British politics – Nicky Morgan, Times Red Box
  • Forget the ‘nasty party’, May can now move on from identity politics – Juliet Samuel, Daily Telegraph

Election 4) Greens become latest party to pitch ‘progressive alliance’

“Signs of rival parties forming an anti-Tory movement that could help put Jeremy Corbyn into Downing Street were growing last night. It came as the Conservatives, in their first campaign poster of the election, warned of a ‘coalition of chaos’ between the SNP, Labour and the Lib Dems… fears that an alliance of Left-wing parties could unite to stop Theresa May returning to power increased after the Greens wrote to Mr Corbyn and Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron yesterday to offer electoral pacts. In more than a dozen Tory held seats, Labour or the Liberal Democrats would win if all those who voted Green at the last election switched their vote.” – Daily Mail

  • A progressive alliance: could it work? – YouGov
  • Labour MP snaps at Jon Snow when pressed on deal with Greens – Daily Express

Editorial:

>Today: Local Government: Green Party run record number of candidates in local elections

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: The election in Ulster: the seats in play

Election 5) Have two pro-Remain Tories been in defection talks with the Liberal Democrats?

Lib Con 1“Remain-backing Conservative MPs have held talks with the Lib Dems over the possibility of defection, according to reports. Just hours after former Labour MP Bob Marshall-Andrews announced plans to defect to the Lib Dems ahead of the General Election in June, Tim Farron’s party could receive another boost as two unnamed Tory MPs look set to join the Brexit-bashing party. Party insiders are reportedly confident of further defections from pro-Remain MPs, opposed to Theresa May’s Brexit plans.” – Daily Express

  • Liberal Democrats raise £500,000 from supporters in two days – FT
  • Twickenham Europhiles hail Cable comeback – FT
  • Farron insists he’s liberal ‘to his fingertips’ – The Sun

More Remain:

  • Miller pulls in £140,000 for anti-Brexit tactical vote campaign – The Sun
  • Neil destroys arch-Remainers pretences about derailing Brexit – Daily Express
  • Corbyn rules out second EU referendum – The Independent

Comment:

  • Party must wash away old fears to ride anti-Brexit wave – Jane Merrick, Times Red Box

Editorial:

  • Farron could turn his party into the Brexit oppositon – The Times (£)

Election 6) BBC and ITV mull ’empty-chairing’ May during debates

“Broadcasters are considering plans to “empty chair” Theresa May if she does not take part in televised leaders’ debate ahead of the general election in June. ITV and the BBC have said they are planning to hold a debate for the leadership candidates, and each has refused to rule out the possibility of leaving a vacant chair in the place of the PM if she refuses to take part. The Prime Minister has been accused by opposition leaders of “running scared” after she announced that she would not be doing television debates following her calling of a general election on 8 June.” – The Independent

  • And so does Channel 4 – The Sun

Comment:

  • No debates, no dissent: May offers only cynicism – Alex Salmond, The Guardian

Election 7) Labour campaign gets off to a wobbly start

Labour holes“Jeremy Corbyn’s first speech of the election campaign yesterday was marred by confusion over key policies and an embarrassing climbdown by one of his senior colleagues. The Labour leader cast himself as the scourge of the establishment. He promised to overturn a “rigged system” that allowed the rich and powerful to extract wealth from the nation, echoing themes from Ed Miliband’s unsuccessful 2015 campaign. The party’s positions on tax and Brexit faltered under scrutiny, however, and two of the leader’s senior colleagues endured difficult interviews.” – The Times (£)

  • Labour website highlights voters’ key concerns about Corbyn – The Sun
  • Confusion over Brexit overshadows campaign kickoff – FT
  • Day of chaos for Labour – The Sun
  • Corbyn isn’t even trying to win, claims senior MP – Daily Telegraph
  • Even safe seats are at risk, MPs warned – The Times (£)

Comment:

  • Corbyn’s first campaign speech: what he said and what he meant – John Rentoul, The Independent
  • May is breaking our politics – Clive Lewis, The Guardian

Sketch:

  • Fighting talk from the king of cliché – Patrick Kidd, The Times (£)

Election 8) Dugher turns fire on Corbyn as he becomes latest Labour MP to stand down

“An MP has blasted Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour as out of touch with working class people as he becomes one of twenty to quit the party. Michael Dugher, who was last year sacked by Mr Corbyn from the shadow cabinet, said he is standing down after seven years in Parliament. The MP for Barnsley East took a swipe at the Labour leader as he announced his departure. He said he wishes Labour ‘nothing but the best’ but stressed it must be a party ‘in touch with working class people and one that can get into government so we can actually do something to really help people’.” – Daily Mail

  • Balls rules out return to Westminster – The Sun
  • Cooper and Starmer joint favourites to be next leader – The Independent
  • Prescott’s son eyes a Parliamentary run – The Sun

Comment:

  • Has Theresa May saved the Labour Party? – Philip Collins, The Times (£)
  • Labour MPs just don’t think Corbyn can be Prime Minister – Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph

>Today: MPs Etc.: Election 2017: The MPs standing down (running total)

>Yesterday: MPs Etc.: Send Stuart to the Lords, and Carswell to… Downing Street

Election 9) Farage won’t stand for election, saying he has more influence over Brexit in Brussels

UKIP glass“Nigel Farage has declared he will not stand in the General Election insisting that his role as an MEP gives him a bigger influence over Brexit. The former Ukip leader had been contemplating making his eighth attempt to get a seat in the House of Commons. But he said he has instead decided to use his profile in European politics to put ‘real pressure’ on Brussels to back a ‘sensible deal’ for the UK. But he acknowledged that the thought of standing had been ‘tempting’ – particularly given his former Ukip colleague turned bitter rival Douglas Carswell’s decision to stand down in Clacton.” – Daily Mail

  • Ex-UKIP leader declines to run as support for his party falls – The Times (£)

More UKIP:

  • Carswell steps down and endorses the Conservatives – The Times (£)
  • Farage tells Nuttall he has six weeks to keep his job – The Sun

Comment:

  • I’m staying in Europe to fight on for Brexit – Nigel Farage, Daily Telegraph

Ministers 1) Mundell welcomes research highlighting how UK trade supports Scottish jobs

“More than half a million Scottish jobs depend on trade with the rest of the UK, according to a new academic analysis that the Tories said undermines Nicola Sturgeon’s claim that Brexit justifies a second independence referendum. Research conducted by the University of Strathclyde’s Fraser of Allander Institute found that there were 528,707 jobs in Scotland that were supported by exports to other parts of Britain in 2013. This was more than four times the 125,206 jobs that were linked to trade with the rest of the European Union… David Mundell, the Scottish Secretary, said the figures demonstrated the importance of being part of the UK for Scottish companies and the need to stop trade barriers being erected within Britain.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Davidson under attack over child benefit ‘rape clause’ – The Guardian

>Yesterday: Peter Duncan in Comment: The Prime Minister’s gamble in Scotland – and why pressure for another independence vote may become unstoppable

Ministers 2) Snap poll puts halt to Truss’ hike in probate fees

Truss“Plans to raise probate fees paid by bereaved families by up to £20,000 have been ditched before June’s election. Thousands would have faced a sharp rise in probate costs under proposals described by critics as a “stealth death tax”. The decision is likely to raise questions about whether Liz Truss, the justice secretary, remains in post after the election. She pushed through the decision to go ahead with the change, which had been resisted by predecessors, and has also upset the judiciary in other ways. The Ministry of Justice confirmed last night that there would be no time to get the new fees through parliament.” – The Times (£)

  • Finance bill may drop contentious measures – FT

Ministers 3) Javid faces backlash over fresh business rates ‘blunder’

“Sajid Javid faces a huge backlash after saying that redrawing business rates to tackle online giants such as Amazon isn’t a “high priority”. And the Communities Secretary told MPs it could be another five years before any proposals to even the playing field between the likes of Amazon and high street stores are drawn up by the Government… Speaking to a cross-party Commons Committee, Mr Javid said: “These issues of online-offline, in town-out of town it is not something that is the highest priority issue at the moment.” He insisted small firms were more worried about the Government fulfilling promises to carry out more frequent revaluations of business rates.” – The Sun

  • Mail suggests Communities Secretary is implicated in ‘Uber scandal’ – Daily Mail

Unite suspends leadership rival

Unite logo“Jeremy Corbyn’s biggest union backer was plunged into chaos last night after the challenger in its leadership battle was suspended from his job. Unite was immediately accused of using authoritarian tactics after it emerged that Gerard Coyne, who is attempting to replace Len McCluskey as its leader, had been ousted as a regional secretary without being told about the allegations he is facing. It is the latest development in a bitter campaign with implications for the Labour Party’s future. Mr McCluskey has been one of Mr Corbyn’s staunchest allies and funders.” – The Times (£)

Brussels to demand lifelong rights for EU nationals which would keep ECJ oversight of Britain

“Brussels is demanding lifelong rights for EU citizens and their families in a move that would overturn Theresa May’s pledge to end the power of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Britain. Leaked European Commission negotiating guidelines reveal that the EU is demanding that Mrs May indefinitely submit to rulings by the ECJ on the pensions, employment and welfare rights of the three million EU citizens living in the UK. It will raise concerns that Britain will be held to account by the Luxembourg court over benefits for EU citizens and their right to bring relatives, including non-Europeans, to live with them. If a deal were struck, the 900,000 British citizens living in Europe would have the same rights.” – The Times (£)

  • EU Parliament president says UK would be welcomed back if Remainers win – Daily Mail
  • Brussels hardens Brexit line on EU workers’ rights – FT
  • Officials will continue to work on Brexit through the election – The Sun
  • Argentina think Brexit may end EU support for UK’s Falkland claim – The Guardian

>Today: Julian Knight MP in Comment: We must invest in skills and training to get the most out of Brexit

Police officer killed in Paris terror attack

French flag“Terrorism returned to Paris three days before the French election when one police officer was killed and two were injured by a gunman on the Champs-Élysées last night. President Hollande said all the signs pointed to a terrorist attack. Islamic State has claimed responsibility. Warnings had been issued that Islamists planned an attack before the first round of voting on Sunday. Police said that the gunman, who witnesses said used an assault rifle, was shot dead by officers. Pierre-Henry Brandet, a spokesman for the interior ministry, said that a police van parked on the avenue was the target of the attack. A grey Audi 80 pulled up next to it and a man got out and shot at the officers, he said.” – The Times (£)

News in Brief:

  • Misery for commuters as Tube staff vote to strike through Monday rush hour – Daily Mail
  • Lenders square up for mortgage price war – The Times (£)
  • Police arrest market speculator for Borussia Dortmund attack – FT
  • Secondary schools almost twice as likely as primaries to be underperforming – The Sun
  • Government to sell Green Investment Bank – The Independent
  • Russia moves troops and equipment to the North Korean border – Daily Telegraph
  • US deploys nuclear ‘sniffer planes’ after fears of North Korean nuke test – Daily Mail

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