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 Johnson insists Brussels could end up paying a ‘divorce bill’ of its own

“Brussels could end up having to pay Britain a Brexit divorce bill because the UK has contributed to so many EU assets, Boris Johnson has suggested, as he accused Europe of wanting to “bleed this country white”. In his first major interview of the election campaign, the Foreign Secretary said there were “very good arguments” to why Britain should demand money back, adding that EU leaders were “trying it on”. He said Britain could leave the EU without paying a penny if there was no Brexit deal, and compared warnings about a “no deal” Brexit to the unfounded fears over the non-existent millennium bug in 1999. He also said there is a “realistic possibility” of Vladimir Putin trying to sabotage the general election, adding that the Russian president would “rejoice” if Jeremy Corbyn won on June 8.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Davis claims Juncker is trying to get him sacked – The Sun
  • Conservatives deny blocking Eurosceptics from standing in the election – FT

More Brexit:

  • Ulster may leave the UK over Brexit, says Blair – The Times (£)
  • Irish peace deal will need to be amended, claims former Prime Minister – FT
  • Is this why MEPs are trying to take the Euro medicines agency from London – Daily Express
  • ‘Paranoid’ May not suited to leading EU talks, says Clegg – The Times (£)
  • Miller’s Europhile outfit has ‘strong links’ to Soros – Daily Express
  • May is campaigning in the old Remain battlebus – The Independent

Comment:

  • Brazil is wide open to business with post-Brexit Britain – Eduardo Dos Santos, Daily Telegraph
  • Drop the migration target, it’s unrealistic and ineffective – Ryan Shorthouse, The Guardian

>Today:

Tartan Tories are ‘on the comeback trail’

“Nothing in politics, as we know these days, can be taken for granted. But last week, on the high street in Perth, a Nationalist heartland for more than 20 years, I noted two unexpected things: a succession of strongly voiced attacks on the SNP’s record in government and an almost defiant pronouncement that, here at any rate, the Tories were in with a chance. Time was when opting for the Conservatives in Scotland was something you kept quiet about. It was the vote that dared not speak its name. But here was a group of stallholders in the farmers’ market not only inveighing against the failure of SNP ministers to deliver on promises to improve education or help small businesses, but announcing that their intention to vote Tory was rock solid.” – The Times (£)

  • CBI urges Scottish Government to focus on Brexit and the economy – Daily Telegraph

Comment:

  • Upsurge in Tory support should help Mundell hold on – Alan Cochrane, Daily Telegraph

Conservatives will offer the right to delete your online past

“Theresa May will today promise a crackdown on internet giants that gives people the right to have their social media history wiped. The Prime Minister will pledge to make the country the ‘safest place in the world to be online’, with the threat of punitive new levies unless firms clean up their act. Web users can demand platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram delete their records from before they were aged 18. It would mean that adults do not face the prospect of embarrassing pictures they took when younger, or posts they regret writing in their youth, coming back to haunt them. Sites will also be required not to direct browsers unintentionally to hate speech, pornography, or other sources of harm.” – Daily Mail

  • Tech giants to face crippling fees if they don’t crack down on hate content – The Sun

Prime Minister steps up attack on Labour leader after Opposition policies revealed

“Theresa May launched her most personal attack yet on ‘appalling’ Jeremy Corbyn today, accusing him of ‘deserting’ working class voters. Delivering a series of vicious barbs at the veteran left-winger as she mounted another campaign raid on Labour’s traditional heartlands, the PM branded him ‘appalling’ and said he was unable to ‘add up’. Mrs May warned activists in Tyneside that Mr Corbyn was trying to take the country ‘back to the 1970s’ with a disastrous hard-left plan for government. The Prime Minister stepped up her attempts to win over traditional Labour voters as the election reached its halfway point. In a sign of the presidential-style campaign being waged by the Tories, the party’s new battlebus has been unveiled emblazoned with the slogan: ‘Theresa May: For Britain.’ The word ‘Conservatives’ has been relegated to a small logo on the door.” – Daily Mail

  • Tories make a pitch for blue-collar workers – FT
  • Labour ‘can’t add up’: May twists the knife – The Sun

More May:

  • Prime Minister won’t rule out fresh vote on Syria airstrikes post-election – The Independent

>Today: Adam Wildman in Comment: Having more Conservative women MPs is brilliant. But we now need a “WorkingClass2Win”

Matthew Parris: The Tories will regret not bothering to make the case for their own beliefs

“And none dare preach the positive case for small government, individual responsibility, family duty and that element of sink-or-swim that sounds harsh but is integral to the case for Adam Smith economics. Brexit will save Mrs May and spare her the bother of trying to frame a principled case for 21st-century Conservatism. But Brexit will not always be with us, and meanwhile we’re allowing Conservatism as a philosophy to atrophy. Imagine a pugnacious, funny, moderate-sounding Ed Balls as Labour leader; imagine Mrs May without the Brexit wind in her sails; imagine a Tory government tripping a bit as the novelty wears off, as it will: as she will. Then read that manifesto again. And tremble.” – The Times (£)

  • Voters overwhelmingly back Labour’s policies, poll finds – The Independent

Comment:

  • The Prime Minister may mock Corbyn, but at times they’re virtually interchangeable – Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph
  • Provincial normalcy gives May the power to steal Labour votes – Julian Glover, FT

Editorial:

  • The Tory manifesto must be a vision of a Britain where voters can win – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday:

Corbyn insists he can be trusted on defence… against the next Nazi Germany

“Jeremy Corbyn insisted he can be trusted to defend Britain today – despite refusing to back the nuclear deterrent and making clear he would only go to war if there was a Nazi-style threat. The Labour leader tried to sweep his track record under the carpet by declaring he is not a ‘pacifist’ and would take military action as a ‘last resort’. But asked whether there was any circumstance he would use force, the only example he gave was the Second World War – ignoring the war to reclaim the Falklands from Argentina in 1982. He also said a deployment would only happen with UN security council approval – effectively giving Russia and China a veto.” – Daily Mail

  • I’m no pacifist, claims leader who wants a ‘Minister for Peace’ – The Sun
  • Veterans’ anger at claim UK hasn’t fought a just war since 1945 – Daily Telegraph
  • Labour leader opens old wounds by hinting that he’d drop Trident – The Times (£)
  • Candidate faces suspension for comments on Northern Ireland veterans – The Sun

Sketch:

  • Major Confusion decides that war isn’t really his thing – Matt Chorley, The Times (£)

>Yesterday:

Lewis defies Corbyn to spearhead ‘progressive alliance’

“One of Labour’s biggest lefties in Parliament has broken ranks with Jeremy Corbyn to head up a cross-party anti-Tory group. Clive Lewis has been named as the headline speaker at the Progressive Alliance campaign launch on Monday – joining Lib Dem and Green candidates to urge voters to work together to beat Tory candidates. It is the latest move by the desperate former Labour frontbencher – who fears losing his Norwich South seat to the Tories next month. He wants Green voters to help him over the line. The Green party announced it was only standing in seven out of ten seats in a bid to help rivals beat Tory candidates.” – The Sun

  • Watson says Labour are determined to prevent a Thatcher-style Tory landslide – The Guardian

More Labour:

  • Trump is a danger to the world, says Corbyn – The Independent
  • Anti-Blair effect drives fans of ‘Britain’s Bernie Sanders’ – FT
  • Party’s old stagers accused of ‘bed blocking’ – The Times (£)
  • Gardiner accuses BBC of ‘bias’ for reading our front page! – The Sun

Tom Harris: Corbyn is only a pacifist towards despots and terrorists

“Jeremy Corbyn is not a pacifist. Today’s denial from the man himself rings true, and any cursory inspection of the historical record will confirm the accuracy of his claim. A pacifist is an individual who believes that war and violence can never be justified. They must condemn, therefore, all violence and acts of aggression. So right away, Corbyn will find it extremely easy to prove that the term “pacifist” can never be applied to him… For there have been many other acts of war and violence with which Jeremy Corbyn – and, crucially, those he has chosen as his closest advisers – seems to be much more comfortable. In August 2015, in an interview with BBC journalist Stephen Nolan, he was given the opportunity five times to condemn IRA violence in Northern Ireland during the Troubles. Five times. He decided not to take that opportunity, choosing instead his favourite catch-all excuse of condemning “all bombing”, singling out – surprise, surprise! – the British Army for specific criticism.” – Daily Telegraph

  • May is creating a poverty epidemic, don’t give her a free hand – Gordon Brown, The Guardian
  • The left’s useful idiots return – Tony Rennell, Daily Mail

Editorial:

Lib Dems pledge to legalise cannabis

“The Liberal Democrats have pledged to legalise cannabis and allow it to be sold on the high street, with users also free to grow it at home. In a first for a British political party, its manifesto will commit to bringing in a fully regulated cannabis market that could raise up to £1billion in taxes. But last night critics said legalising the class B drug sent out a ‘bad message’ to young people and described it as a bid for headlines by the Lib Dems. Under the proposals, it would be legal to produce and sell cannabis to those over 18. The party says it will spend the tax raised on sales and production on education and treatment.” – Daily Mail

UKIP pull out of 247 seats and experts predict a Tory boost

“Ukip will field no candidate for nearly 300 seats, handing a significant advantage to the Conservatives. Paul Nuttall’s party is standing in 377 of the 650 constituencies, down from 624 in the 2015 election. It is the smallest number of Ukip candidates to stand in a general election since 1997, and puts the party behind the Greens, who are fielding 468 candidates. The Conservatives have 636 candidates, Labour 631 and the Liberal Democrats 629. Experts said that Ukip’s low number could tip the balance in favour of the Tories in dozens of marginal constituencies, particularly in the north of England. Ukip has said that it does not want to stand against Brexit-supporting Tories.” – The Times (£)

  • Nostalgia is morphing into an existential crisis for UKIP – Jimmy Leach, The Times (£)

>Yesterday:

News in Brief:

  • Ebola epidemic declared after three deaths in the Congo – Daily Mail
  • Nursing union under fire for promoting ‘unproven’ therapy – The Times (£)
  • Taiwan on alert amidst fears it could be hit by ‘second wave’ of cyber attacks – Daily Telegraph
  • Trump’s ‘frontal assault’ on US institutions – FT

And finally… Thatcher statue set for Parliament Square

“She was the Iron Lady, but Margaret Thatcher has been immortalised in bronze in a new statue – and she won’t be carrying her handbag. Instead, she will wear her Order of the Garter regalia, a first glimpse of the statue reveals. Last year it was reported that Baroness Thatcher’s daughter Carol had objected strongly to the £300,000 statue because her mother is not carrying her trademark handbag. Now a planning application for the 10ft statue, which would be placed on a stone plinth at the back of Parliament Square, has been lodged with Westminster City Council. According to a planning document, the statue shows Baroness Thatcher ‘in her most dignified attire’. It says: ‘She has a resolute posture looking towards the Parliament with a stern gaze slight rightward akin to her political leanings.’” – Daily Mail

33 comments for: Newslinks for Saturday 13th May 2017

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