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Local elections 1) May warns against complacency after triumph

theresamarch“Theresa May has sought to play down talk of a landslide general election victory after the Conservatives made major gains at local elections. The Tory leader said she would fight for every vote on 8 June to strengthen her hand in Brexit talks. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said his party faced a challenge on a “historic scale” to win back power, but insisted he could close the gap on the Tories. The Tories gained 500 seats and seized control of 11 councils. It was the best local election performance by a governing party in 40 years, with the gains mostly coming at the expense of Labour and UKIP, which lost all of its 145 local authority seats.” – BBC

  • Tories still face an uphill battle – John Curtice Independent
  • Lib Dem and Tory candidates draw straws in Northumberland – The Guardian
  • 57 per cent of Labour voters say Corbyn should go – Independent

Today:

>Yesterday:

Local elections 2) Andy Street elected Mayor of the West Midlands

“The gamble of giving up an £800,000 a year boardroom job for frontline politics has paid off for Conservative Andy Street after he was elected the first West Midlands Mayor. The 53-year-old stepped down from the top job at retailer John Lewis last year, fought a slick £1 million campaign in a region previously dominated by Labour and won. …In all, Andy Street received 238,628 votes to Simon’s 234,862.” – Birmingham Mail

  • Andy Burnham elected Mayor of Greater Manchester – The Guardian
  • Ben Houchen elected Mayor of Tees Valley – BBC

>Yesterday:  ToryDiary: Mayoral election results: Live Blog. The city of Joe Chamberlain turns blue again. Andy Street will be the West Midlands Mayor.

Local elections 3) Gains in Scotland are a springboard says Davidson

scotsmange“Tory leader Ruth Davidson wants to use the party’s success in today’s council elections as a platform to mount a “fightback against the SNP” in next month’s general election. The Tories have gained more than 100 seats across the country with about two-thirds of the councils having declared, while the SNP has lost more than a dozen. It consolidates the Tory comeback north of the border after last year’s Holyrood election saw the party more than double its tally of MSPs to become the second party in Scotland.” – The Scotsman

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Scottish and Welsh election results: Live Blog – Tories gain 164 seats across Scotland

Local elections 4) Polling experts predict General Election landslide will follow

“Polling experts suggested that Labour could do even worse in next month’s general election than under Michael Foot in 1983, when the Conservatives secured a 144-seat majority. Anthony Wells, from YouGov, said: “You cannot draw a simplistic line between local and general elections. But if you compare previous occasions when one came straight after the other, then Theresa May is in a stronger position than Margaret Thatcher was before her 1983 and 1987 landslides.” Betting on a Tory landslide hardened, with markets pointing to a predicted Conservative majority of 160, according to IG, an online trading company.” – The Times(£)

  • June 8th will be worse for Labour – Lewis Baston The Guardian

Local elections 5) Labour turns on Corbyn for not taking the blame

“Jeremy Corbyn has been branded “cowardly and selfish” after he failed to take responsibility for Labour’s local election wipeout, leaving local activists to take the blame. Labour candidates described the results as “an unmitigated disaster”…Party sources said Mr Corbyn has demanded data on the number of doors that were knocked and leaflets delivered in the areas where the party did badly, suggesting he is preparing to lay the blame at the door of local campaigners.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Hattersley calls for “guerilla” campaign against Corbyn – Daily Express

Local elections 6) Abbott gets the figures muddled – again

“Diane Abbott suffered more cringeworthy confusion over figures today as she claimed Labour had only lost 50 council seats. The shadow home secretary gave another car crash interview just days after claiming putting 10,000 more police on the streets would cost just £300,000. In her latest shambolic performance, Mrs Abbott floundered desperately after being asked what the party’s net losses were so far in local elections.” – Daily Mail

Local elections 7) UKIP virtually wiped out

guardiancrush“Former UKIP MP Douglas Carswell declared ‘it’s over’ for the party today after it was obliterated at the ballot box in local elections. Leader Paul Nuttall tried to put a brave faced on the dismal results and claimed Ukip was a ‘victim of our own success’.   The party has so far won just a solitary seat – a gain from Labour in Lancashire. It has lost every seat it was defending in the declared results – currently 145 of the 147 seats it won last time around.” – Daily Mail

  • Rest in Peace UKIP. Now it’s up to Mrs May – Leader Daily Mail
  • UKIP and Labour are both pointless – The Sun Says
  • It did what it set out to – Stephen Pollard Daily Express

Local elections 8) Lib Dems flop

“The town hall elections also demonstrated that the Liberal Democrats fightback is much weaker than party leader Tim Farron would have us believe. There is virtually no evidence that the Lib Dems look set to give the Conservatives a bloody nose on June 8.” – The Sun

Local elections 9) Losses for Labour in their Welsh heartlands

“While Welsh Labour was upset at losing out in constituencies with strong historical ties to the party such as Merthyr Tydfil and Blaenau Gwent, it held on to power in Newport, Swansea and Cardiff. When it launches its general election campaign next week its branding and slogans will make it clear it has its own identity. Strategists believe the Welsh Labour leader and first minister, Carwyn Jones, is playing well on the doorstep and – during the council elections at least – has helped counter any potential negative impact from Jeremy Corbyn.” – The Guardian

Local elections 10) Labour’s facing extinction and Blair is to blame says Oborne

timeslandslide“Without wishing to be over-dramatic, I believe that Labour is in a similar position to the Titanic after it hit an iceberg but before actually sinking. Of course, Labour has been a great political party. Even those who disagree with its policies must recognise that it shaped Britain, in many ways for the better, in the 20th century. It gave a voice to the working classes and the trades unions; it inspired many vital social reforms, including the creation of the Welfare State and the NHS. The heirs of Keir Hardie will always have an honourable place in British history. But now it faces extinction as a front-rank political force. Some will inevitably blame Mr Corbyn, but that would be unfair. Mr Blair must shoulder huge responsibility — having taken the Labour Party’s traditional working-class roots for granted in search of instant political gain.” – Peter Oborne Daily Mail

Local elections 11) My Party is triumphant yet I feel fearful, says Parris

“When Mrs May’s government takes over UKIP’s cause — and appears to have taken over their blame-the-foreigners, Britain-against-Europe attitude too — then far from their fox having been shot, they are invited to join the Tory hunt and carry on under a blue banner rather than their old purple and yellow one. That is what worries me. It is values and policies we should be tracking in our politics, not the colours of the flags. In the heady rush of the victory which surely now awaits the Conservative Party on June 8 — and for which, with all my worries, I shall unhesitatingly vote — I see the tiny skull that the old masters used to paint in one corner of their portraits of the grand: memento mori. Remember you must die.” – Matthew Parris, The Times(£)

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Don’t make the General Election too presidential says Moore

MOORE Charles blue background“Mrs May has been shown the focus groups. They all say that she is more popular than her party. Therefore, she is advised, she must campaign as Theresa May, not as its leader. In her counter-attack against Mr Juncker, she used the word “me” five times. She ended by inviting voters to “give me your backing to lead Britain”. At no point did she use the word “Conservative”…. What Mrs May calls the “overriding task” of Brexit is concealing the lack of thought about what sort of country we want to be when we leave. If she thinks this election is all about “me”, she is riding for a fall – though not, probably, on June 8.” – Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph

Perrior laughs at claims that May is short of stamina

“On Easter Day a newspaper columnist proclaimed that the end of the May era was in sight. This pundit had been told that an “exhausted” prime minister did not have the stamina for an election campaign. Those, like me, who were left in her wake night after night, both in Downing Street and in the decades of constituency events in almost every Conservative club in the country, gave a mirthless laugh. Had that sage only seen the woman going through her paces at a Maidenhead gym the day before his column appeared, he might have quietly starting deleting words that were to be proved embarrassingly wrong just two days later when she called the June 8 election.” – Katie Perrior, former Downing Street Director of Communications, The Times(£)

Archbishops raise election concerns

Welby“The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have raised concerns about housing, the NHS and poverty in a general election letter to Anglican churchgoers. The three-page message urges voters to consider their Christian heritage and “obligations to future generations”. It also calls on politicians to “renew and re-imagine” the UK’s shared values amid divisions of recent years. There needs to be “serious solutions” to home-building and a “flourishing” health service, the letter says.” – BBC

Lib Dems propose income tax rise

“A Liberal Democrat government would raise income tax to help fund the NHS and social care, the party has pledged. It said a penny-in-the-pound rise on all income tax bands and on dividends would raise around £6bn a year. The Tories said 30 million people would be hit by the tax rises. Labour said its NHS plans would be in its manifesto. The Lib Dem pledge is complicated by devolution, such as Scotland having its own tax-raising powers.” – BBC

BBC to hold election debate for Scottish leaders

Ruth Davidson 07-07-16“BBC Scotland is to host a television debate with the leaders of the country’s five main political parties, ahead of the UK general election. Nicola Sturgeon, Ruth Davidson, Kezia Dugdale, Willie Rennie and Patrick Harvie will take part in the 90 minute debate at 19:30 on Sunday 21 May. The event in Edinburgh will be chaired by Sarah Smith and broadcast on BBC Scotland and on the BBC News Channel. It is one of a series of programmes planned for the election campaign.” – BBC

Leadsom’s clean air plans published

“The government’s draft clean air plan has been dismissed as “toothless” and “weak” by critics. Under the proposals to tackle dirty air, some drivers of older cars could be paid to move to electric vehicles. The draft plan also considers retrofitting buses, lorries and black cabs as a way of delivering cleaner air. Clean air zones could be set up in dozens of cities and towns according to the document. ..”Improving air quality is a key priority as we support businesses in building a stronger and cleaner economy,” said Andrea Leadsom, the secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs. “Our plan today sets out how we will do just that – including presenting options for targeted diesel scrappage schemes.” – BBC

  • Motorway speed limit could be cut to 60mph – Daily Mail

Brexit 1): Forsyth: May is preparing for No Deal

FORSYTH, James“I understand that not only has the Cabinet Secretary Jeremy Heywood told every Government department to prepare for a no-deal scenario, but the Government is also considering publishing it. They hope that by setting out their plan, they would show the rest of the EU that Britain really was prepared to walk away rather than sign up to a bad deal. There was, of course, politics at play in May’s decision too. It is hard to persuade voters that Jeremy Corbyn is a credible threat. But Jean-Claude Juncker is a far more convincing bogeyman. By portraying herself as the woman who will stand up for Britain, May is pitching herself to Ukip and Labour Leave ­voters.” – James Forsyth, The Sun

Brexit 2) The clash with the EU only leaves me more optimistic says Raab

“If some in Brussels truly feel the need to exact a price from Britain, to show it hurts to leave the EU, what does that say about levels of insecurity amongst the EU’s top brass? This argument only makes sense if they fear a sensible deal with Britain – that focuses on trade, security and wider cooperation – that would leave Britain doing rather better outside the political club. It is an argument from Brussels that smacks of self-doubt. It’s not going to convince doubters, across the rest of Europe, to stay in the EU.” – Dominic Raab, Independent

  • Goldman Sachs chief warns of Brexit risk to the City – BBC

Macron hit by hackers..

“The campaign of French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron says it has been the target of a “massive hacking attack” after a trove of documents was released online. The campaign said that genuine files were mixed up with fake ones in order to confuse people. It said that it was clear the hackers wanted to undermine Mr Macron ahead of Sunday’s second round vote.” – BBC

…Macron would be terrible but Le Pen even worse says Hannan

Daniel Hannan“France is our ally, as well as our consumer and supplier. As Theresa May keeps saying, we want the EU to succeed. Stable states make good neighbours; good neighbours make willing customers. While a looser, more flexible arrangement in Europe would serve everyone’s interest, a disorderly collapse would not. The smug elitist is bad; the angry nativist worse. There are no good outcomes here, either for us or for our French friends.” Dan Hannan, Daily Telegraph

News in brief

  • Death toll in Venezuela reaches 38 – Daily Telegraph
  • Obamacare repeal to go the Senate – BBC
  • English “is losing importance” says Juncker – The Sun
  • US unemployment rate falls – BBC
  • EU law means drivers face £640 speeding fines – Daily Express

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