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Polls 1) May rallies with ICM after the Manchester attack…

“Theresa May’s “strong” handling of the terrorist crisis has put her on course for an emphatic return to power, a poll reveals today. The PM’s response to the tumultuous events of the past week has convinced voters the nation’s security is safer in her hands. A Sun on Sunday survey shows she has cemented her lead over Labour and is set to re-enter Number 10 with a whopping 126-seat majority. Most people say they want a hard line against extremist violence – with two in three supporting the death penalty for terrorists and child-killers. In the first gauge of public opinion since the Manchester bombing, Mrs May emerges as the toughest leader, compared to “clever but weak” Jeremy Corbyn.” – Sun on Sunday

  • How the Prime Minister took control in her darkest 24 hours in office – Sunday Telegraph

Polls 2) …and with ComRes, despite growing support for Corbyn over social care

“Theresa May retains a 12-point lead in a ComRes opinion poll for The Independent – a finding that will steady Conservative nerves after a YouGov poll on Friday showed the lead narrowing to just five points. Despite growing support for Labour and Jeremy Corbyn, notably over social care, the Conservatives are on 46 per cent and Labour on 34 per cent. Labour is up four points from the last ComRes poll two weeks ago, and the Conservatives down two, but the figures suggest Ms May is still heading for a majority of about 110. The poll was taken between Wednesday and Friday this week, a day later than the YouGov poll, but mostly before the resumption of election campaigning on Friday.” – Independent on Sunday

  • Despite May’s lead, Labour’s brand has been strengthened by this campaign – Independent on Sunday

Polls 3) Her personal ratings are down with Opinium

“Jeremy Corbyn has dramatically cut Theresa May’s previously commanding lead in approval ratings among voters, according to the latest Opinium/Observer poll, in a further sign that the race for Downing Street may be tightening with 10 days to go until the general election. The narrowing of May’s lead suggests her decision to call a snap election and then focus her campaign almost entirely on her leadership, contrasting it with Corbyn’s, may be backfiring. More than a third of voters (37%) say their opinion of the prime minister is more negative than at the start of the campaign, against 25% who say it is more positive. The opposite is true of the Labour leader, with 39% saying they have a more positive view of Corbyn compared with 14% who now have a more negative view.” – The Observer

Polls 4) YouGov return another narrow lead of seven points…

“Today’s YouGov poll for The Sunday Times shows the Tories have clawed back a lead of seven points, with Labour support dropping since the suicide bomb in Manchester claimed 22 lives. This is a third of the lead enjoyed at the campaign launch. The Tories are on 43% to Labour’s 36%, enough for a Commons majority of 50. Yet party chiefs remain concerned Labour is within striking distance and MPs privately said May will have failed if she does not secure a majority “north of 80”. MPs and ministers remain furious that May’s advisers kicked their core supporters by axing plans in the Tory manifesto to cap care costs. On Monday the prime minister reversed the policy but refused to say where the cap would be imposed after the election.” – Sunday Times (£)

Polls 5) …whilst ORB puts it at just six

Jeremy Corbyn is closer to winning the election than at any time during the campaign thanks to a surge in support from women, a poll for the Sunday Telegraph indicates. Labour is now just 6 points behind the Tories with less than a fortnight to go – the smallest gap recorded by pollsters ORB International since the vote was called. The Tories are on 44 per cent of the vote with Labour on 38. The Liberal Democrats are on 7 while Ukip has collapsed to just 4. It marks a dramatic tightening of the election race, with the Tories enjoying a 15-point lead over Labour at the beginning of the month.” – Sunday Telegraph

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

Tories plan to refocus on Brexit to regain the initiative

“Wavering Ukip supporters will be told their Brexit vote will be “stolen” unless they pick Theresa May as the Tories attempt to wrestle back control of the election campaign. Conservative strategists believe polls showing a dramatic tightening in the race are correct and have blamed a focus on policy rather than the “bigger picture”. They plan to campaign relentlessly on Brexit and leadership in the final 11 days to swing the election narrative onto territory that favours the Conservatives. It comes after the Tory lead dramatically dropped from more than 20 points six weeks ago to single digits as the election race enters its final straight.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • English voters don’t want Sturgeon given seat at negotiating table – Sunday Times (£)
  • Labour must fill pro-EU chasm, says Blair’s former chief of staff – The Observer
  • Irish politician demands referendum on UK-EU deal – Sunday Express

More election:

  • Tory ‘dark ads’ overpowering Labour’s in Wales – The Observer
  • In the North East, the Tories are the ‘anti-establishment’ party – Independent on Sunday

Comment:

  • May intended this election to be all out Brexit and who could secure a better deal – Professor John Curtice, Sun on Sunday
  • Every attempt to stop us leaving the EU has made it more certain – John Rentoul, Independent on Sunday
  • Wales will revel as a key election battleground – Laura McAllister, Sunday Times (£)

>Today: ToryDiary: Retail – and why the Conservatives should turn their focus to how Corbyn would plunder your purse, wallet and savings

>Yesterday: Andrew Stoler and Geoff Raby in Comment: Brexit Britain has no need to fear WTO terms

Terrorism 1) Prime Minister to appoint anti-extremism czar to ‘root out hate mongers’

“Theresa May is to appoint an anti-extremism czar to root out hate-mongers before they turn to terrorism. The PM has decided to confront the menace of radical Islam head-on after telling aides: “Enough is enough.” She will set up a Whitehall commission with sweeping powers to identify festering evil and nip it in the bud. Mrs May’s tough new initiative comes as her hard stance against terror saw her open up a 14-point lead over Labour in an ICM poll for The Sun on Sunday. After the Manchester bomb outrage, she admits governments have failed to respond to twisted messages being peddled at vulnerable young men.” – Sun on Sunday

  • May opens up on the sickening targeting of children in Manchester – Sunday Express
  • The Prime Minister will withdraw troops from the streets on Monday night – Mail on Sunday

Terrorism 2) Rudd claims Corbyn increases the risk of future attacks

“Britain can expect more terrorist atrocities if Jeremy Corbyn becomes Prime Minister, Home Secretary Amber Rudd has claimed. He had ‘boasted’ about opposing anti-terrorist measures, there was ‘no evidence he will keep people safe’ and he would ‘sign our security away,’ she said in an interview with The Mail on Sunday. Asked if she was suggesting it would mean a greater risk of another terrorist atrocity if Mr Corbyn became PM, Ms Rudd stressed she was not linking it to the Manchester bomb, but added: ‘It absolutely does, yes.’” – Mail on Sunday

  • Labour leader blamed Poppy Day massacre on British ‘occupation’ of Ulster… – Sunday Telegraph
  • …and secured salary for convicted IRA terrorist – Sunday Times (£)

More Opposition:

Theresa May: If new criminal offences are needed to defeat extremists, we’ll change the law

“Our shared enjoyment of Britain’s rich diversity must never prevent us from confronting the extremism lurking in our midst, even if that is sometimes an embarrassing or difficult thing to do… My plan to take on the extremists will strengthen our society and make our country safer. There is clearly a role for government in tackling extremism where it involves behaviour that is or ought to be criminal. So, if new criminal offences are needed to defeat the extremists, we will change the law. But the answer to the challenge of extremism is to make sure the public sector and society at large gets much better at identifying it earlier and working to stamp it out.” – Sun on Sunday

  • Put down the nail bomb, Jeremy wants to talk – Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times (£)
  • At last, after Corbyn’s speech on terror, a clear choice for voters – Dan Hodges, Mail on Sunday
  • As a refugee, I’m sickened that Abedi betrayed this country – Nadhim Zahawi, Sunday Telegraph

Editorial:

  • May’s calm and careful handling of the attack shows her contrast with Corbyn – Sun on Sunday
  • Terror must not obscure the crucial election issues – Mail on Sunday

Row over social care sees public split between Timothy and Hill…

“Those involved in the production of the manifesto say not enough time was spent on the care policy because they had assumed that the decision to means-test the winter fuel allowance would be more controversial. “We took our eye off the ball,” one source said. Sir Lynton Crosby, the Tory strategist, had made clear his opposition to the plans from the start. “He thought it was crazy,” said a Tory with close links to No 10. When May began to learn of the scale of the opposition there was another voice in lockstep with Crosby. For the first time since she became prime minister her two chiefs of staff — Fiona Hill and Nick Timothy — were at odds in public. “Nick wanted it in. Fi didn’t. He basically overruled everyone,” a senior Tory said. Hill’s opposition was confirmed by another senior figure, who said: “Fiona liked it even less than Lynton — and that is saying something.”” – Sunday Times (£)

  • Ageing population ‘liability’ for those of working age – Sunday Telegraph
  • Winter fuel means testing ‘bombing’ on the doorstep – Mail on Sunday
  • Osborne’s ‘blistering attack’ on manifesto pledges – Sunday Telegraph

Analysis:

  • May’s party will let her say anything to make sure it wins – The Observer

>Today:

>Yesterday:

…as they’re caught up in reshuffle ‘blackmail plot’

“The Prime Minister’s all-powerful chiefs of staff were last night at the centre of extraordinary claims of a ‘blackmail’ plot by members of Theresa May’s Cabinet. Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill, who form Mrs May’s ‘Praetorian Guard’ in Downing Street, were warned that notes were being kept by Ministers of their private exchanges – with the implicit threat that they will be leaked if they are sacked. According to the reports, Mrs May’s team should expect more ‘details to come to light’ about rows with unnamed Ministers if they are casualties of a post-Election reshuffle. It comes as last week’s shock slump in Mrs May’s poll ratings has blown the lid off simmering resentment in the party over the power which Mr Timothy and Ms Hill wield.” – Mail on Sunday

Jeremy Warner: Voters might not pay much heed to manifestos, but business does

It’s hard to exaggerate what a complete disaster the Conservative Party election manifesto has turned out to be. What’s doubly distressing is that it was so unnecessary. The social care debacle could easily have been avoided by simply committing the Government, in the vaguest possible terms, to coming forward after due consideration with a comprehensive package that would be fair to all… Yet though party manifestos may seem irrelevant to voters, they are very much noticed by business, where the Tory messaging is being taken seriously and badly, and will therefore almost certainly have an adverse impact on confidence and investment intentions.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • Even in these dark days, voters are focused on May’s wobble – Adam Boulton, Sunday Times (£)

News in Brief:

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