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Conservatives try to steady campaign after Labour start to close the gap

“The prime minister was in the air en route to Sicily on Thursday night when news broke of a YouGov poll cutting the Conservative lead over Labour to five points. At the start of the campaign, some polls had been suggesting a lead of almost 20 points. The findings reverberated through the RAF Voyager. Although Conservatives have learnt to treat polls, particularly single surveys, with suspicion, the YouGov poll spoke to what many had noticed: a hardening of the Labour vote… Conservative campaign chiefs are still confident of a comfortable victory. Mr Goodman said he had spoken to numerous Tory candidates in Labour marginal seats and the mood was upbeat, in spite of a bad week. “Labour’s position has hardened but the gap is nothing like this poll suggests,” he said. “Candidates say they never believed the party was 20 points ahead but nor do they believe it has fallen to five.”” – FT

  • Fears of hung parliament send pound plummeting – The Times (£)
  • Poll points to a majority of 60 – The Sun
  • Corbyn’s rise gives opponents pause for thought – FT
  • Tories renew attack on Corbyn amidst fear that ‘strong and stable’ lacks bite – Daily Telegraph
  • Prime Minister returns to the offensive after G7 dash – FT
  • Whitehall on the back foot over prospect of Prime Minister Corbyn – The Times (£)

Comment:

  • Don’t get your hopes up about Labour’s polling surge – Andrew Grice, The Independent
  • This is just the scare Tory voters need to go out and stop Corbyn – Asa Bennett, Daily Telegraph
  • Young voters have registered in force, and May will rue under-estimating them – Anne Rhodes, The Independent

>Today: ToryDiary: Are Labour closing the gap – and if so, how much does it matter?

>Yesterday:

May ‘gets tough’ with Macron over EU ‘divorce bill’

“Theresa May has told Emmanuel Macron that Britain will not pay a Brexit divorce bill until talks on our future relationship with the bloc start. The Prime Minister and the newly-elected French president smiled warmly for the cameras as they met with other world leaders at the G7 summit in Sicily. But behind closed doors in bilateral talks Mrs May got tough with Mr Macron, telling him the UK and EU should discuss their future relationship and free trade deal at the same time as  discussing the terms of the withdrawal. Mr Macron adopted a hard-line on Brexit  during his election campaign, backing EU negotiators who insist there must be progress on UK paying a divorce bill before talks on a new deal can start.” – Daily Mail

  • Talks on Brexit and trade should be in tandem, Prime Minister insists – The Times (£)
  • Britain faces grim relations with the EU if it doesn’t pay, Brussels source claims – The Sun

Comment:

  • Re-Leavers won’t accept a ‘no deal’ Brexit as easily as May thinks – Vince Cable, The Independent

>Today: Andrew Stoler and Geoff Raby in Comment: What would WTO mean? Brexit Britain has no need to fear WTO terms

>Yesterday:

Matthew Parris: The Prime Minister suffers for her silence on Brexit

“Meanwhile we sail almost silently onward towards the biggest, hardest negotiation our country has faced in my lifetime. And nobody speaks. Theresa May is all but struck dumb. The Labour Party is muted, trying to avoid an argument about whether it even wants this to happen. The Lib Dems, led by a glorified bingo caller, duck behind the cover of a hoped-for second referendum. Will nobody talk about Brexit? Are we to enter the polling booths in 12 days with the biggest question all but undiscussed, still hanging above our country? It would be like conducting a British general election in 1938 without mentioning the Third Reich.” – The Times (£)

  • May will face the same fate as Clinton if she sticks to a secretive campaign – Andreas Whittam Smith, The Independent

>Today: ToryDiary: Is May a Thatcherite? What’s your view of the Tory campaign so far? And of the manifesto? Please take our monthly survey.

Terrorism 1) May re-opens intelligence sharing with the US…

“Britain has reopened information-sharing ties with the US again – less than 24 hours after suspending intelligence sharing over leaked evidence from the Manchester bombing. An extraordinary row erupted between British and US authorities after highly sensitive images of the blood-smeared remnants of attacker Salman Abedi’s backpack and a diagram showing precisely where his victims died were handed to the New York Times. The halting of intelligence sharing with the US happened for what is understood to be the first time. It applied only to intelligence related to the Manchester attack.” – Daily Mail

  • Tillerson says Washington takes responsibility for leaks – The Sun
  • President and Prime Minister had ‘frank and productive’ discussion – Daily Mail
  • Trump ‘honoured’ to look like Johnson – The Sun

>Today:

Terrorism 2) …calls for terrorists to be prosecuted where they are caught…

“Britons fighting for Islamic State should be prosecuted in the countries in which they are caught rather than be returned to this country, Theresa May told the G7 summit yesterday. The prime minister urged other world leaders to give more help to countries around Syria and Iraq to prevent foreign fighters returning undetected, by bolstering their capability to identify and catch fighters through data-sharing and helping to build the legal capacity to prosecute them. Mrs May said: “It is vital we do more to co-operate with our partners in the region to step up returns and prosecutions of foreign fighters. This means improving intelligence-sharing, evidence gathering and bolstering countries’ police and legal processes.”” – The Times (£)

  • May outlines tough new measures to tackle home-grown jihadis – The Sun
  • New laws may be introduced to tackle extremism – The Times (£)
  • MI5 reveals there are 23,000 terror suspects – Daily Mail
  • World leaders back online crackdown – The Times (£)

Comment:

  • Why MI6 must share the blame for the jihadis in our midst – Peter Oborne, Daily Mail

Terrorism 3) …and ‘lashes’ Corbyn for blaming British foreign policy

“Theresa May lashed out at Jeremy Corbyn tonight for making ‘excuses’ for terrorists after he linked UK foreign policy to the Manchester bombing. The Prime Minister accused the Labour leader of saying terror attacks are ‘our own fault’ and condemned him for delivering the controversial speech just four days after the atrocity.  Mrs May said while she had been working with G7 leaders at a summit in Sicily, Mr Corbyn had shown he was ‘not fit’ to be in charge of the country… The brutal rebuke came after the Labour leader claimed that Britain’s foreign policy in countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria had ‘fuelled terrorism’. Senior Tories branded the timing – with funerals yet to take place and the injured still being treated in hospital – ‘monstrous’ and ‘appalling’.” – Daily Mail

  • May puts Manchester bombing at the heart of the election – The Guardian
  • The Labour leader’s three decades of blocking anti-terror legislation – Daily Telegraph
  • Corbyn insists he ‘never met the IRA’ in TV grilling – The Independent
  • Abbott mocked over leader’s terrorism speech – Daily Express
  • Police cuts made Manchester vulnerable, insists Burnham – The Times (£)

More Labour:

  • Corbyn won’t back Labour’s position on Trident – The Guardian
  • Billionaire Blair donor wanted in Chinese bribes enquiry – The Times (£)

Comment:

  • Labour’s leader thinks Western intervention is the real evil – Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph
  • Corbyn has been a shameless apologist for evil men – Guy Adams, Daily Mail
  • Of course Manchester was linked to British foreign policy – Simon Jenkins, The Guardian

Sketch:

  • Corbyn takes a security risk and confounds critics – John Crace, The Guardian

Editorial:

>Yesterday:

Scottish Conservatives challenge Brown’s federalist plans

“The Scottish Conservatives have called on Gordon Brown to clarify whether Scottish Labour’s plan for a federal UK would require a referendum. Mr Brown is expected to campaign in the General Election on Saturday as a key force behind the party’s plans for increased federalism in the UK. Scottish Conservative constitution spokesman Adam Tomkins said: “To move to a federal UK would mark a historic and monumental constitutional change. “As a leading proponent of the idea, Gordon Brown has to spell out how it would be achieved.”” – Daily Telegraph

  • Tories demand that Labour spell out referendum position – Daily Express

More Scotland:

  • Independence drive alienating voters in two battleground seats, Ashcroft suggests – The Scotsman
  • Davidson and Sturgeon battle it out as polling day looms – The Sun

Comment:

  • Profile of the Scottish Conservative leader – Jan Moir, Daily Mail

>Yesterday: Lord Ashcroft in Comment: “Sturgeon still keeps banging on about independence”. My general election focus groups from Scotland.

IFS attacks Labour’s ‘victimless’ tax rises

“Labour will raise taxes to their highest level since just after the Second World War – and ordinary families will take a hit, economists said yesterday. In a damning assessment of Jeremy Corbyn’s manifesto wish-list, the Institute for Fiscal Studies said the party should drop the pretence that tax rises were victimless and everything can be paid for by ‘someone else’. It warns that swingeing tax increases on business will make a broad group of people worse off by hitting wages and pushing up prices. The think tank said Labour’s manifesto would put the tax burden up to the highest level since 1949.” – Daily Mail

  • Spending plans would tank the economy and raise the deficit, experts warn – The Sun

Comment:

  • Business should fear Corbyn’s socialism, it would devastate the UK’s competitiveness – Allister Heath, Daily Telegraph
  • Sergeant Jezza is long on hippiness, light on policy – Patrick Kidd’s sketch, The Times (£)

Editorial:

  • Corbyn would cause capital flight and an investment crisis – The Times (£)

News in Brief:

  • Economic growth revised down as inflation deals blow to consumer spending – Daily Mail
  • Man jailed over Tube bomb – The Times (£)
  • Grande to return to Manchester for benefit concert to help victims of bombing – Daily Telegraph
  • Turkey says judiciary purge over after 4,000 sacked – FT
  • Obama wows politicians at Edinburgh dinner – The Scotsman

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