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Local Elections 1) Conservatives secure record performance since 1974

Rosette shield“Theresa May is on track for a big victory in the general election after racking up gains from Labour in local polls overnight – while the Ukip vote is crumbling. As the results flow in, the Tories have already gained around 130 council seats and seized control of Warwickshire, Lincolnshire Gloucestershire and the Isle of Wight. The party has also won the first new mayoral contest, with Tim Bowles triumphant in the West of England. Senior Labour figures have been making clear that they blame Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership for their woes. At a time when it should be adding to its tally, the Opposition has so far lost more than 100 seats.” – Daily Mail

  • Tory candidate wins West of England mayoralty – FT
  • Party reaps reward of tough Brexit position – The Guardian
  • Conservatives fear landslide will make voters complacent – The Times (£)
  • Result suggests historic landslide in June – The Independent
  • May drops Conservative brand to play personality politics – FT

>Today: ToryDiary: The local election results so far suggest that the stage is set for May’s Great Patriotic General Election

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: The metro mayors can help rebuild urban conservatism

Local Elections 2) Fraser Nelson: May is not a reflection of populism, but the solution to it

“Earlier this week, Jeremy Corbyn accused her of trying to “wrap the Conservative party in the Union Jack”. This is precisely what she is doing – and it works. While Le Pen laps up applause in France, populism is dying in the UK. The British National Party will struggle to find a dozen candidates to field in next month’s election; even poor old Ukip is falling apart. Mrs May’s critics are quite wrong to say this is a nostalgic grab for the Fifties: this is a new kind of politics, responding to new concerns that globalism has overreached itself. That borders, and nation states, are needed again.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Best results since the 90s will buoy the Tories – Jonathan Carr-West, The Times (£)
  • What should the Conservative manifesto say on tax? – Tim Knox, Daily Telegraph

Local Elections 3) Labour braced for record-breaking third year of losses

Labour holes“The Labour Party is braced for a grim day of significant losses in council elections across the country as early results show the Conservatives making gains. Theresa May will also be bolstered by a total collapse in support for Ukip, with just five weeks until the general election. Barry Gardiner, Labour’s shadow international trade secretary, said it had been a “really disappointing night”, adding: “It’s never good to hear that we are losing seats.”… In Wales, Labour has lost control of Bridgend and Blaenau Gwent to independents, and the result is on a knife edge in Merthyr Tydfil – where the final three seats will be declared on June 8 with Labour needing to win them all to retain a majority. Brendan Toomey, who was the leader of Merthyr Tydfil council but lost his seat, told BBC Radio 4: “It’s the birthplace of Labour, we are having a very disappointing evening.” – The Times (£)

  • Independents take control in Labour’s Welsh heartlands – Wales Online
  • Vote for the Conservatives is vote to escalate Syrian war, warn Labour – The Guardian
  • Hard-left mob backs Corbyn, claim Tories – The Times (£)

More Labour:

  • Labour frontbencher sparks backlash with graceless royal remarks – Daily Mail
  • Brexiteer Apprentice star to stand against Labour in Hull West – The Sun
  • Welsh First Minister calls for post-Brexit power grab – Daily Express

Comment:

  • Results show that Tory wave is coming to sweep Corbyn away – Asa Bennett, Daily Telegraph

>Today: Nick Hillman in Comment: Students, the election and our poll. More than half say they will vote Labour. And they still want to punish the LibDems.

>Yesterday: LeftWatch: Take Corbyn’s “tribute” to Prince Philip with a pinch of salt

Local Elections 4) Liberal Democrats do ‘less badly than Labour’ but fail to break through

“The Liberal Democrats have managed to cling onto more seats than Labour in England. The party has managed to increase its vote share and hold on to many of its seats. But it is still suffering at the hands of the Conservatives and may struggle to get a substantial number of seats in next month’s general election. With full results from 17 of the 88 councils holding elections declared, the party had 111 councillors. That was a net loss of nine – far fewer than the net 58 seats that Labour lost during the vote. Almost all of those seats – as well as many from Ukip – have been handed to the Conservatives. They had had 429 councillors, a net gain of 109. Lib Dem former business secretary Sir Vince Cable called the night “neutral” for his party.” – The Independent

  • Attlee’s granddaughter to stand for the Lib Dems in Yeovil – The Independent

Comment:

  • The best the Lib Dems can hope for? To stop being patronised – Martin Kettle, The Guardian
  • We need a strong voice in Parliament opposing Hard Brexit – Vince Cable, The Times (£)

Local Elections 5) UKIP faces wipe-out at the ballot box

CONSERVATIVES SQUEEZE UKIP Krieg“Ukip faces being wiped out at the ballot box after failing to hold onto a single seat at the local elections. Paul Nuttall’s party lost all its seats in Lincolnshire, Hampshire and Essex, all key battlegrounds for Ukip at next month’s General Election. With results available from 15 councils, Ukip had lost all 30 seats it held and failed to win a single contest. Elections expert Michael Thrasher said Ukip’s share of the national vote could fall as low as three per cent, down from 22 per cent in the same contests in 2013. Ukip lost 10 seats in Lincolnshire, where party leader Mr Nuttall has decided to run in the General Election. It lost a further eight seats in Hampshire and six seats in Essex. As a sign of how bad a night Ukip is having, “Ukip 0″ was trending on Twitter early on Friday.” – Daily Telegraph

  • People’s Army face obliteration in local election disaster – Daily Express

>Yesterday: Steve Turner in Local Government: Why I have joined the Conservatives

Local Elections 6) Sturgeon ‘called out’ over pre-election spending spree

“Nicola Sturgeon was yesterday challenged to “come out of hiding” amid a growing storm over a £17 million public spending spree that could sway polls. Opposition MSPs claimed a “stink of sleaze” and “cash for votes” scandal had engulfed the First Minister following accusations taxypayers’ cash was misused for electioneering. There have already been demands for a probe into the announcement of an £8.4 million cash injection into a Glasgow regeneration scheme. Glasgow City Council has been held by Labour since 1980 but is tipped to fall to the SNP.” – Daily Express

  • First Minister faces claims that SNP ignored cash rules – The Scotsman

More Scotland:

  • Nationalists warn Labour: don’t prop up Tories on councils – The Scotsman

Comment:

  • No transparency on Scottish Government cash – Brian Wilson, The Scotsman

Conservatives fear shift away from free market in manifesto

TIMOTHY Nick Barrie“Senior Conservatives fear a significant ideological shift away from free markets in the party’s new manifesto, which they say is being drafted in secret with little input from MPs. One minister said “many people are concerned” about the power over party policy concentrated in the hands of Nick Timothy, Theresa May’s co-chief of staff, and Ben Gummer, a loyal but low-profile Cabinet Office minister. Mrs May’s promise of a cap on energy prices, originally promoted by former Labour leader Ed Miliband, is seen by some as a harbinger of a more interventionist government. “This is Nick Timothy’s finest hour,” said Paul Goodman, editor of the ConservativeHome website. But Mr Goodman said a number of Thatcherite ministers had expressed concerns about a shift away from free market economic policies.” – FT

  • Government urged to give councils power to seize land from developers – The Sun
  • May’s Maidens! Tories to beat Labour’s 1997 record for female MPs – Daily Mail

More Conservatives:

  • Prime Minister breaks from Cameron ‘cronyism’ by refusing honours to departing MPs – Daily Telegraph
  • Zahawi wins libel case against Iranian TV – Daily Mail

Comment:

  • How strange that capitalism’s noisiest enemies are now the right – Giles Fraser, The Guardian

>Today:

>Yesterday: James Kirkup in Comment: May’s manifesto should chart a path to dominating the centre ground

Hammond warns Brussels against raid on the City

“Philip Hammond has warned EU chiefs that a fresh raid planned on the City would wreak havoc across Europe. The Chancellor hit out at a new proposal from Brussels that could strip London of its €1 trillion euro-clearing business after Brexit. Tough new rules being drawn up by the EU may make financial firms have to relocate to the continent. But Mr Hammond said: “We should be careful of any proposals which might disrupt growth, raise the cost of investment in Europe and the UK or weaken financial stability.”” – The Sun

  • Tusk taken to task for patronising ’emotional’ May – The Times (£)
  • Sun delivers small business call to May to avoid tax rises – The Sun
  • Rail upgrades face cash crisis as Treasury puts £2bn towards deficit – The Times (£)

Comment:

  • Why has the pound shrugged off May’s EU argy-bargy? – Nils Pratley, The Guardian

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: The EU and the election. May throws not a dead cat, but a live lion on the table.

News in Brief:

  • New era for the Royal Family as Prince Philip retires – Daily Telegraph
  • GPs call for freedom to charge for extra services – The Times (£)
  • Students shot dead in Venezuela as protests continue – Daily Mail
  • President celebrates House vote to repeal Obamacare – FT
  • Protesters greet Trump on first New York visit – Daily Telegraph
  • Macron to sue Le Pen over smears – The Times (£)

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