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Manifesto 1) May promises swathe of new council houses

‘Theresa May will launch an audacious bid to woo Labour voters when she puts plans for a new generation of council homes for the working classes at the heart of her programme for government. In an interview with The Sunday Times, the prime minister said she will change the law to help councils and housing associations build hundreds of thousands of homes, ending years of neglect of social housing. May will also seek to emulate Margaret Thatcher’s dream of a “property owning democracy” in the 1980s, by ensuring a proportion of the new homes will have to be offered for sale to tenants after 10 to 15 years under the Right to Buy scheme. The plan to adapt Thatcher’s most popular policy to help “Generation Rent” will form the centrepiece of the Conservative election manifesto, due to be published on Thursday.’ – Sunday Times (£)

Manifesto 2) The Armed Forces will get a share of the aid budget

‘Britain’s armed forces will get a slice of foreign aid cash under a shake-up being planned by ministers. Senior Tories want the military to play a bigger role in maintaining security in strife-torn countries. It will mean troops being used to deliver food and medicine to overseas trouble spots – and raking off some of the ballooning overseas aid budget. Plans to blur the lines between aid and defence spending are being thrashed out by party bigwigs for inclusion in the election manifesto. Insiders insist Theresa May will keep the commitment to spend two per cent of national income on defence and 0.7 per cent on aid.’ – The Sun on Sunday

  • The immigration cap will be pledged this week…for the third time – The Sun on Sunday

Manifesto 3) Thatcherite grandees warn May against abandoning free markets

‘Theresa May has been warned not to abandon Margaret Thatcher’s free market economics as she prepares to reveal the most interventionist Tory manifesto for generations…Her more interventionist economics, which is part of an election strategy to win over traditional Labour voters, has triggered a backlash among some Tory grandees. Lord Tebbit, who held the trade and employment briefs under Mrs Thatcher, said Mrs May “would be wise” to “extend” the Iron Lady’s free-market thinking…Sir Bernard Ingham, Mrs Thatcher’s long-serving chief press secretary, warned Mrs May “against a manifesto that ignores the past” when it comes to Government intervention. Two other cabinet ministers who served under Mrs Thatcher were scathing of the Prime Minister’s energy price cap when speaking off the record.’ – Sunday Telegraph

The Ronseal Prime Minister

‘She is, as one minister calls her, “the Ronseal prime minister”, appropriating the slogan from the adverts for the quick-drying wood stain: “She does what she says on the tin.” When I mention this nickname May suddenly comes alive, leaning forward, smiling: “Well, I hope so. Certainly that’s my political philosophy. I try to say it as it is and I would hope that what people see is what they get. What it says on the tin is what they get.” What you get is a sober, straight­forward, no-nonsense approach that is attracting support from former Labour voters and has Conservatives in raptures.’ – Sunday Times (£)

The NHS suffered 66 ransom virus attacks last year – but none were reported to police

‘Hackers demanding ransoms launched 66 cyber attacks on English hospitals last year – but none was reported to police. The astonishing failure of the NHS to take action laid its computer systems open to the devastating assault on Friday, experts said. Details of the 2016 incidents only emerged during a Mail on Sunday investigation using freedom of information requests. Our inquiries found that one London NHS trust – Imperial College Healthcare – was hit 19 times in the year. And eight of the 27 trusts affected were subjected to more than one attack. The NHS was crippled on Friday by a global computer virus which encrypted data and demanded a ransom for it to be unlocked again.’ – Mail on Sunday

Editorials

>Today: ToryDiary: After “the biggest ransomeware offensive in history”, how safe is our personal data – which the state requires others to keep?

Davidson: They said it was once in a generation, so indyref2 should be in 2049

‘Ruth Davidson has said she will try to keep a second independence referendum off the table for a generation – suggesting another vote should not be considered for around 35 years…“When Nicola Sturgeon signed the Edinburgh Agreement and said she’d respect the result I believed her. She said it would be for a generation. We will endeavour to make sure that it is. This is something that is very much decided by the people of Scotland,” said Davidson. When asked how long she thought “a generation” should be, Davidson said: “What was Alex Salmond’s definition? He said that between the ̓̓79 and 2014 referendum that was about a generation. That works for me.”’ – Scotland on Sunday

Tories enjoy lead among Leavers – and among the majority of Remainers who accept the result

‘On the question of Brexit, the electorate can be broken down into three core groups instead of two: the Hard Leavers who want out of the EU (45 per cent); the Hard Remainers who still want to try to stop Brexit (22 per cent); and the Re-Leavers (23 per cent) — those who voted to Remain last summer but think that the government now has a duty to leave…The Conservatives’ stance on Brexit has won not only the backing of those who voted for EU withdrawal, but is also siphoning extra votes from the Re-Leavers. Among the two-thirds of the electorate who are Leavers or Re-Leavers, the Tories have the support of six in 10 voters. It matters a lot less that Mrs May’s party is losing voters among Hard Remainers.’ – Marcus Roberts, FT

>Today: Tina Stowell on Comment: The question that voters are asking in this election is – who’s with us, and who’s against us?

Corbyn was arrested when protesting against the trial of IRA terrorists

‘Jeremy Corbyn was arrested in 1986 taking part in a protest by IRA sympathisers to “show solidarity” with accused terrorists including the Brighton bomber, a Sunday Times investigation reveals. Corbyn joined a picket outside the Old Bailey to oppose the “show trial” of a group including Patrick Magee, who was subsequently convicted of murdering five people at the 1984 Tory party conference. Magee was also convicted with the other defendants of planning a massive bombing campaign in London and seaside resorts. The disclosure comes the week after Corbyn said that Britain had not fought a just war since 1945, although he supported some peacekeeping operations. The protest was organised by activists from the Troops Out Movement, closely linked to Sinn Fein, the IRA’s political wing.’ – Sunday Times (£)

Blair allies draw up plans for a new party following the election

‘Close allies of Tony Blair have drawn up plans to create a new political party if Labour crashes to a historic defeat and have already received pledges of funding if it is needed, according to sources familiar with the discussions. The former prime minister has said he wants to see the moderates reclaim control of Labour after the general election. But some of his political allies have concluded that the party cannot be saved from the clutches of the hard left and that a “plan B” will be required.’ – Sunday Times (£)

Trump denies asking Comey for a pledge of personal loyalty

‘President Donald Trump has flat out denied asking former FBI director James Comey for a loyalty pledge and has refused to answer questions about whether he records conversations in the White House. In an interview with Fox News Channel’s Jeanine Pirro on Saturday night, Trump said he never questioned Comey about his loyalty. ‘No I didn’t, but I don’t think it would be a bad question to ask,’ Trump said. ‘I don’t know how that got there because I didn’t ask that question.’ – Mail on Sunday

News in Brief

  • Robinson riles Today programme colleagues – Sunday Times (£)
  • James Hewitt suffers heart attack and stroke – Mail on Sunday
  • Hawking: colonise a new planet or risk extinction – Sunday Times (£)
  • North Korea fires another missile towards Japan – Mail on Sunday
  • Campaigning will pause for an hour next Sunday to commemorate Jo Cox – Sunday Times (£)
  • Nuttall: I won’t resign if I lose – Sunday Telegraph

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