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Election 1) Prime Minister likely to drop pledge to withdraw from the ECHR

MAY Theresa pensive“Theresa May is to drop a pledge to pull the UK out of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Prime Minister said she wanted to leave the convention while she was Home Secretary, saying it frustrated her plans to deport hate preacher Abu Qatada. But in her new role at Number 10, she is expected to drop the pledge from the new Conservative manifesto, deeming it a distraction to Brexit negotiations… At the end of December last year, the Prime Minister said she would be committed to pulling out of the ECHR, laying out plans for a 2020 manifesto. She intended to enshrine the same rights in UK law, cutting off the overriding power from the Strasbourg court. But earlier this week, liberal Conservatives were reportedly concerned she would see the election as an opportunity to get a mandate to pull out as well as strengthening her Brexit plans.” – Daily Mail

  • May won’t exclude students from immigration figures – The Independent
  • Senior Tories say Downing Street may keep ‘triple lock’ after all… – Daily Mail
  • …but is weighing up cheaper ‘double lock’ – The Guardian
  • OEDC says UK should scrap state pension for the rich – FT

>Today:

>Yesterday:

Election 2) Don’t trust Corbyn with defence, warns Johnson

“Boris Johnson entered the election fray last night with a warning that Jeremy Corbyn is too weak on defence to protect Britain in a new ‘age of uncertainty’. The Foreign Secretary ripped apart Mr Corbyn’s record on security issues, highlighting his lukewarm support for Nato, his opposition to Trident, and his refusal to countenance ever using Britain’s nuclear deterrent. He suggested Mr Corbyn was more interested in ‘virtue-signalling’ than standing up for Britain’s interests. And he dropped a heavy hint that the Tories will commit to the Nato target of spending 2 per cent of GDP on defence in their election manifesto.” – Daily Mail

  • Johnson to be Tory TV poster boy – The Times (£)
  • Goldsmith plots return as he’s selected for Richmond Park – Daily Mail
  • McVey set to return to Parliament – The Independent
  • Lack of reduncancy pay for 2015 intake staff a ‘scandal’ – The Times (£)
  • Cameron takes credit for current Conservative strength – Daily Mail
  • UKIP could field just 100 candidates – The Sun

Comment:

  • It would be a mistake for May to stall Osborne’s devolution progress – Andrew Carter, Times Red Box

>Today: MPs Etc.: Four former MPs selected. Shortlist of two to take on Farron. All the latest candidate news.

>Yesterday:

Allister Heath: Once the ballots are cast, May must fight the Tory corner

CONSERVATIVE logoThe problem for the Tories is that not all of these gains will be sustainable: they can’t remain a 1950s-style national party forever. There will only ever be one Brexit election. Once we’ve left the EU, and Britain begins to settle into its new identity as an independent nation, the old cleavages will reappear. A new centre-Left party will emerge and disagreements over tax and spend will take centre-stage once more. Those who depend on the state will vote for higher taxes and more spending. It will become apparent that the forces of political gravity had only been temporarily suspended. It is therefore vital that the Tories not to get carried away by their likely triumph, and start planning for the future when they remain at the height of their powers.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Don’t feel sorry for Corbyn, that mutton-headed old mugwump – Boris Johnson, The Sun
  • Why Tories should fear a May landslide – Iain Martin, The Times (£)
  • The Tories are in the grip of Theresa Mania – Michael Deacon, Daily Telegraph
  • Striking ratings suggest the Prime Minister will outdo her predecessor – Gideon Skinner, Times Red Box
  • Why hide Johnson away when he can electrify the base? – Rupert Myers, Daily Telegraph

Editorial:

  • This election is a chance to ditch pointless ‘locks’ on policy – The Times (£)
  • Johnson is popular with voters and doesn’t deserve to be sidelined – Daily Telegraph

Labour staff plan post-election strike to oust Corbyn

“Staff in Labour headquarters are planning to strike if Jeremy Corbyn tries to cling on after a large defeat. The threat came as Matt Zarb-Cousin, a former media aide to Mr Corbyn, criticised Labour HQ workers, accusing them of “endless leaks” that made it difficult to function. Officials at the party’s headquarters at Southside in Pimlico, half a mile from the Houses of Parliament, fear that the leader will refuse to go even if he loses dozens of seats on June 8. Most Labour staff were appointed before Mr Corbyn came to power and, while usually neutral in party contests and over political disputes, almost none shares his politics.” – The Times (£)

  • Corbyn plans 8 per cent tax hike for every British business – The Sun
  • Party warned that there’s no ‘magic money tree’ – The Times (£)
  • Opposition could lose 60 seats as UKIP voters switch to the Tories – Daily Telegraph

Comment:

  • PMQs showed that Corbyn has the character to fight the election – John Rentoul, The Independent
  • Labour’s Welsh meltdown shows no party can take its base for granted – Ellie Mae O’Hagan, The Guardian
  • Whatever happened to the great populist insurrection? – Bill Jamieson, The Scotsman

Editorial:

>Yesterday:

Farron ousts ex-MP accused of anti-semitism

Lib Dem Logo“Tim Farron blocked a former MP accused of antisemitism from standing for the Liberal Democrats at the general election. The Lib Dem leader had insisted he had no power to stop David Ward, a former MP, from fighting again for his old seat on June 8 but soon after reversed this and announced he was “unfit to represent the party”. The decision to “sack” Mr Ward came less than two hours after Theresa May condemned the Lib Dems at the dispatch box for putting forward a candidate “with questionable views on antisemitism”. Mr Farron said: “I believe in a politics that is open, tolerant and united. David Ward is unfit to represent the party and I have sacked him.”” – The Times (£)

  • Let us forgive the Liberal Democrat leader his u-turn on gay sex – David Aaronovitch, The Times (£)

>Yesterday:

Salmond contradicts Sturgeon on SNP’s independence fixation

“Alex Salmond has admitted the SNP would use an “overwhelming” general election victory in Scotland to try to force a second independence referendum only two days after Nicola Sturgeon played down the link. The former First Minister said the Nationalists would try to use a big win north of the border to “reinforce” their demand for another independence vote at a time of the Scottish Parliament’s choosing. He argued that Theresa May’s refusal to allow another vote as soon as autumn next year will “crumble” even if the Prime Minster wins a Commons majority of 150 across the UK. The Conservatives said Mr Salmond has “let the cat out of the bag” after Ms Sturgeon faced widespread mockery for arguing that the election campaign has nothing to do with independence.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Nationalists ask Greens not to stand in Tory targets and sign anti-EU fishing pledge – Daily Telegraph
  • Flowering in Scotland: Conservatives set their sights on five more seats – The Sun
  • Brexit will boost haggis sales, claims Johnson – The Scotsman

Comment:

  • Tories focus on independence to distract from ‘rape clause’ – Tom Peterkin, The Scotsman

>Yesterday: MPs Etc.: Battleground Seats 2) Scotland

Half of the Finance Bill put on hold until after the election

PARLIAMENT“More than half of the finance bill has been put on hold until after the UK general election, including a raid on dividend incomes, an overhaul of the non-dom rules and plans to force small businesses to keep digital tax records. The decision to remove 72 of the 135 clauses, before the legislation was rushed through parliament in just two hours on Tuesday, has dramatically reduced the size of a bill that would otherwise have been the longest in history. The parts that were removed included a cut to the annual tax-free allowance on dividend income from £5,000 to £2,000, forecast to generate almost £1bn in extra tax a year by 2020.” – FT

  • Lords water down push for minimum broadband speed – FT

Twitter must assist in the war on terror, says May

“The prime minister has piled pressure on Twitter to reverse its decision to stop the security services accessing data from tweets that they previously used to monitor terrorist support. Theresa May signalled her anger yesterday after the technology company and publisher prevented a third-party analytics business from providing intelligence reports on pro-Isis tweets to government and spy agencies. Despite its hardline against any state surveillance, Twitter, which yesterday reported its first drop in revenue, continues to sell details of its 328 million users’ tweets to businesses, both directly and through third parties. These data sales have partially offset losses from advertisers leaving the platform.” – The Times (£)

  • Surveillance drags UK below South Africa in press freedom rankings – The Times (£)

Cameron says that UK should pay £50 billion Brexit ‘divorce bill’

EU Brexit“David Cameron today risked enraging his Tory party colleagues by saying Britain should settle the terms of its Brexit ‘divorce bill’ before trade talks can start. The former PM made the intervention just hours before Theresa May has her first face-to-face meeting with the bloc’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier. Mr Barnier has warned that the UK must ‘settle the accounts’ amid threats that Brussels could demand £50bn exit fee from Britain. The pair will meet alongside European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker at Downing Street this evening.” – Daily Mail

  • Former Prime Minister claims referendum ended ‘poisoning’ of politics – The Independent
  • Outgoing Stuart slams Labour for not making the most of Brexit – Daily Mail
  • Gibraltar chief hits back at Spain over claim they’ll own the Rock – Daily Express
  • Branson a major donor to Miller’s tactical voting effort – Daily Mail
  • Top pollster predicts anti-Brexit campaign will fail at polls – Daily Express

More Brexit:

  • YouGov tracker finds more voters think leaving the EU wrong for the first time – The Times (£)
  • US claims British ‘bandwidth issues’ make trade deal a lower priority – Daily Mail
  • Firms across Europe urge an ambitious deal – Daily Telegraph
  • Drug companies threaten to quit Britain without NHS funding boost – The Times (£)
  • European politicians trying to steal British business, warns banker – Daily Express

Comment:

  • Dear Mr Juncker: Brexit isn’t a divorce, so Brussels should forget alimony – John Redwood, Daily Telegraph

>Today: ToryDiary: Open Britain betrays its supporters’ trust

Witch hunt of Ulster veterans ‘morally indefensible’, say MPs

“British soldiers who served in Northern Ireland have been left in a ‘morally indefensible limbo’ by a controversial police investigation, a report found yesterday. Up to 1,000 retired troops face becoming murder and manslaughter suspects over killings from the height of the IRA’s terror campaign. In a scathing paper, a Westminster committee warned that if a line was not drawn ‘urgently’ under the witch-hunt it would ‘grind on for many years’… MPs said veterans in their sixties and seventies should be immune to investigation and prosecution four decades after they fought terrorism in the Troubles. In a decision that has sparked outrage, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) is re-examining every Army killing in the fight against Irish terrorism.” – Daily Mail

  • MPs’ fury at £5 billion NHS flop – The Sun

News in Brief:

  • Chaos continues on the streets of Venezuela – Daily Mail
  • North Korean missiles within range of the US – The Times (£)
  • New sanctions as US aims to bring Pyongyang to its senses – Daily Telegraph
  • President decides not to withdraw from NAFTA – FT
  • Explosions rock Damascus airport – Daily Express
  • Children’s wellbeing ‘compromised’ by NHS staff shortages – The Independent
  • College lecturers strike across Scotland for better pay deal – The Scotsman
  • Foster says Irish language won’t be ‘stumbling block’ to new Executive – Belfast Telegraph

37 comments for: Newslinks for Thursday 27th April 2017

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