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EU 1) May warns that EU officials are trying to influence the election

MAY Britannia“Theresa May accused Brussels yesterday of seeking to manipulate the election result, wreck Brexit talks and damage Britain’s economy in a heightening of tensions with EU leaders. The prime minister used a statement on the steps of Downing Street to return fire after a series of hostile leaks and a warning that Britain’s divorce bill could reach €100 billion. As she sought to turn the hardening stance of EU leaders to her domestic advantage, Mrs May claimed “some in Brussels” wanted to sabotage Brexit and harm the UK while trying to “affect the result of the general election”… Referring to a leaked account of the private dinner she hosted last week for Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, she said that she had been “misrepresented in the continental press”.” – The Times (£)

  • How the Prime Minister’s anger finally spilled over – Daily Telegraph
  • The speech: ‘Vote for me to get the best deal’ – The Times (£)
  • Secrecy just puts Britain on the back foot – FT

>Today: ToryDiary: The EU and the election. May throws not a dead cat, but a live lion on the table.

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: May accuses EU officials of trying “to affect the result of the General Election”

EU 2) Row will help Tories in the election, claims Davis

“The furious row over the disastrous dinner between Theresa May and the EU over Brexit will help the Tories win the election, David Davis has claimed. The Brexit Secretary said voters would not be “terribly impressed” by Brussels leaking brutal details of last week’s talks – and accusing the Prime Minister of living in a “parallel reality”. Ms May has already exploited the row by warning Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission’s president, that he will soon discover her reputation as a “bloody difficult woman”.” – The Independent

  • Davis says Brussels can’t unilaterally write Brexit rules – FT
  • Brexit will mean ‘tsunami’ of under-scrutinised legislation – Daily Telegraph
  • Sir Bill Cash decries divorce bill – Daily Express
  • Ignore ‘bill’ and focus on trade, CBI urges both sides – Daily Telegraph

EU 3) Barnier rebuffs the Prime Minister on Brexit talks

The Guardian 04-05-17“Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, has rebuffed Prime Minister Theresa May’s plans for the divorce talks, insisting that the UK must agree to pay all outstanding liabilities to the EU before trade discussions can begin. Setting out a hardline opening position after the Financial Times calculated that the UK’s gross bill for exiting the union could be as much as €100bn, Mr Barnier also suggested that the divorce could be painful and time-consuming. “Some have created the illusion that Brexit will have no material impact on our lives or that negotiations can be concluded quickly and painlessly. This is not the case. We need sound solutions, legal precision and this will take time,” he said at a press conference in Brussels.” – FT

  • Brussels admits it faces ‘explosive’ crisis if UK resists divorce bill – Daily Mail
  • Divorce won’t be quick or painless, EU chief tells May – The Times (£)
  • Will the Brexit bill really cost €100 billion? – The Times (£)
  • Spain to wield veto to end Gibraltar’s ‘unjustified privileges’ – The Times (£)
  • EU immigration likely to continue for some years, claims think-tank – The Guardian

EU 4) Thornberry decries speech as paranoid and ‘xenophobic’

“Theresa May was today described as a ‘hybrid’ between Richard Nixon and the bloodthirsty Game of Thrones character Cersei Lannister by a senior Labour MP. Emily Thornberry, the shadow foreign secretary, hit out at the Prime Minister over her attack of meddling politicians in Brussels. She accused the PM of making ‘paranoid and xenophobic’ claims in a way that is reminiscent of Cersei, a murderous Queen who kills all of her enemies in the hit TV show. She said: ‘For Theresa May to use the backdrop of Downing Street to‎ make such preposterous, paranoid and xenophobic claims is ill-befitting the office of Prime Minister. The only response from the British public should be to get her out of that office as soon as possible.'” – Daily Mail

  • May’s ‘vicious attack’ brings UK-EU relations to new low – The Independent

EU 5) David Aaronovitch: May should be bold and truthful about the tough choices we face

The i 04-05-17“Tony Blair learnt to his cost that restrictive promises in elections can cause political reflux. The Liberal Democrats suffered for it in 2015. And Theresa May learnt it a few weeks ago. The manifesto she stood on two years ago said without qualification, “we will not raise VAT, national insurance contributions or income tax”. Which is why her chancellor got manifestoed into a costly U-turn by his own backbenchers in March when he tried to raise national insurance on the self-employed. Perhaps that was the moment Mrs May began to think seriously about an election. About a new mandate. Never mind Brexit for a moment – even without it we are now in the land of hard choices, mainly due to our ageing nation.” – The Times (£)

  • Brussels’ bid to impose WWI-style reparations will only unite Britain – Allister Heath, Daily Telegraph
  • May is talking loudly but carrying a small stick – Martin Kettle, The Guardian
  • How the EU actually owes us £58 billion – Leo McKinstry, Daily Mail
  • Sorry Mr Juncker, you are the delusional one – Iain Martin, The Times (£)
  • The EU’s menacing henchmen show we have a battle ahead – John Longworth, Daily Telegraph

Sketch:

  • The Prime Minister gave whispering Eurocrats a clobbering – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail

Editorial:

  • Battle cry to all who want a free Britain – Daily Mail
  • May can turn hostile briefings to electoral advantage – The Times (£)
  • The EU’s antics serve as a reminder of why we voted Leave – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Ici Londres – Juncker wants the hardest of Brexits. So why is Farron siding with him? asks Daniel Hannan

Prime Minister may call snap vote on bombing Syria

“Theresa May is set to call a shock Commons vote to bomb Assad’s forces if the Tories win the general election, The Sun can reveal. If approved by MPs the Government will have free rein to expand military action against Assad’s forces if they commit another gas attack atrocity. It comes after chilling new evidence gathered by British spooks linked two rogue Syrian generals to April’s deadly sarin attack which left over 80 innocents dead. A top Whitehall source confided they were “99.9 per cent” certain Assad’s forces were behind the nerve agent strike.” – The Sun

Tories press for education funding rethink

School“Theresa May has been urged to rethink changes to school funding by a coalition of senior Conservatives. In a sign that frustrated Tories are not willing to let the issue go quiet during the election campaign, more than a dozen of Mrs May’s candidates called on the prime minister to address the issue in the party’s manifesto. Justine Greening, the education secretary, proposed a new funding formula for schools in December after MPs and councils across the country said they were treated unfairly. It aims to ensure similar schools in different areas of the country receive equivalent funds, but schools in some areas stand to lose out as a result.” – The Times (£)

  • White Van Man will be offered tax breaks to go green – The Sun

Comment:

  • What should the Conservative manifesto pledge on… housing? – Tim Knox, Daily Telegraph
  • Conservative drift to the left must be checked – Ryan Bourne, Daily Telegraph

>Today: James Kirkup in Comment: May’s manifesto should chart a path to dominating the centre ground

>Yesterday:

Hunt confirms NHS probe into ‘rogue surgeon’

“Jeremy  Hunt will launch a major inquiry into why the NHS failed to stop a rogue breast cancer surgeon maiming hundreds of women. The Health Secretary wants to establish how Ian Paterson was allowed to carry out botched operations for 15 years. Paterson, 59, who was said to have a ‘God complex’, was convicted last week of harming ten patients he conned into having surgery. Lawyers believe he could have had more than 1,000 victims. NHS bosses face questioning over why they ignored the concerns of whistleblowers and failed to carry out a thorough investigation.” – Daily Mail

  • Hospital waiting lists to rise above five million – The Times (£)
  • Non-NHS groups net half of community care spending – FT

Comment:

  • Labour is wrong to score points on crucial reforms – Harry Quilter-Pinner, Times Red Box

ITV to press ahead with also-rans debate

ELECTION 2017 May Corbyn Farron“ITV has announced it will hold an election TV debate and invite all the main party leaders despite Theresa May ruling out taking part. The broadcaster insisted its programme would go ahead on May 18 even if some of the leaders choose not to take part. Mrs May ruled out taking part in any TV debates as the election campaign began – prompting Jeremy Corbyn to suggest he also would not go. The decision raises the prospect of a debate featuring only Lib Dem leader Tim Farron, Ukip’s Paul Nuttall, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood, and one of the Green Party’s leaders.” – Daily Mail

Comment:

  • May, Corbyn, and an election trapped in the past – Philip Stephens, FT
  • This election is vitally important, so why is it so dull? – Suzanne Moore, The Guardian

Editorial:

  • The British public are the ultimate test of a politician’s mettle – Daily Telegraph

>Today:

>Yesterday:

Local Elections 1) Tories tipped for two Metro Mayor victories

“The Tories are tipped to pull off two astonishing Metro Mayor victories in tomorrow’s local elections – as the working class deserts Labour. Labour sources told the Sun they fear a huge shift by blue-collar Brits to the Conservatives in recent weeks which could see Tory candidate Andy Street crowned Mayor of West Midlands. But they added there was even a chance the Tories could win the Mayoral contest in Tees Valley – which includes Darlington, Redcar and Middlesbrough. Local councillor Ben Houchen is standing for the Conservatives. One Tory campaigning in the North-East admitted: “I’ve never known a reaction on the doorstep like it. We really do have a chance.”” – The Sun

>Yesterday: Cliff Jordan in Local Government: Why Norfolk needs a Tory majority

Local Elections 2) Focus on Corbyn hits Labour’s push for council seats

Labour holes“Jeremy Corbyn’s prominence in the general election campaign could boost support for the Conservatives in hundreds of council polls today. Labour candidates warn privately that the focus on the national leaders and their suitability to be prime minister will cost the party votes as it battles to hold on to its last bastions of local government. Elections are being held for seats on 35 councils in England, most of them county councils, plus all 32 in Scotland and 22 in Wales. The Conservatives believe that they are joint favourites in the race for the new mayoralty of the West Midlands, a region dominated by Labour for years.” – The Times (£)

  • Labour face local elections disaster and could lose 200 councillors – Daily Mail
  • Opposition steel themselves for foretaste of fortunes in June – The Guardian

Scotland:

  • Old strongholds to fall as Scottish Labour implodes – The Times (£)
  • Party braced for SNP surge – FT
  • Sturgeon’s mandarin urged to investigate pre-election payment to Glasgow – Daily Telegraph

More Labour:

  • Moderate MPs give up fight against Corbyn – FT

Comment:

  • Five things to watch out for in today’s metro mayor elections – Andrew Carter, Times Red Box

McDonnell plans to halve inheritance tax threshold

“Labour will reverse dramatic cuts to inheritance tax if it wins power on June 8 in a new blow to middle class families, it emerged today. Shadow chancellor John McDonnell would raise £1billion by returning the threshold for couples to £425,000 – less than the value of an average property in London. While outside the capital the £425,000 band catches only bigger homes there are many parts of the country where it includes family-sized properties. The Conservatives branded the plan ‘nonsensical’ and claimed it would hit hundreds of thousands of working families.” – Daily Mail

Comment:

  • Pensioners are facing a Tory bombshell – Angus Robertson, Times Red Box
  • Conservative have a chance to show rail unions who’s boss – Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph

UKIP to call for end of BBC licence fee

UKIP glass“The licence fee should be scrapped and the BBC should be funded through subscriptions and advertising, Ukip has said. Patrick O’Flynn, the party’s economics and media spokesman, said if the licence fee was floated as a way of funding television today it would be “felt to have more in common with the politics of North Korea” than a democratic state like the UK. He said the £147 annual payment for accessing BBC content should be phased out over three years and replaced with a subscription model with an element of advertising.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Nuttall would cut aid spending to 0.2 per cent of GDP – The Sun

>Today: Steve Turner in Local Government: Why I have joined the Conservatives

>Yesterday: Alex Morton’s column: May should pitch away from Liberal Democrat voters – and towards Labour and UKIP ones.

News in Brief:

  • Queen calls entire household to ‘highly unusual emergency meeting’ – Daily Mail
  • French conservatives’ new leader aims to ‘govern from opposition’ – The Times (£)
  • Le Pen and Macron both on the attack in final debate – Daily Telegraph
  • Amazon primed for UK expansion with AI and drones – FT
  • MPs’ report on fixed-odds betting terminals found to breach standards – The Guardian

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