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Tory vote share surges in every part of the country

‘The Conservatives are set to become the biggest party in almost every area of Britain including traditional Labour strongholds, new figures revealed today. Jeremy Corbyn’s unpopularity means that Labour has fallen behind the Tories even in areas such as Yorkshire and Wales. And the two parties are neck-and-neck in the North-West, with the Conservatives only two points behind in the North-East. Since the last General Election two years ago, the Tories have improved their position in every region of Britain. Experts predict that if the results of the YouGov regional poll are repeated in the election on June 8, Theresa May will sweep to a huge majority.’ – The Sun

>Today: ToryDiary: May pursues Erdington Man (and Woman)

May launches push to expose racial pay gap

‘Theresa May will force companies to reveal gaping differences in pay between races in a bid to end the “injustice”. The drive to expose firms that appear to discriminate on wages is another part of the PM’s workers’ rights boost, which she unveiled today. The major land grab onto traditional Labour territory saw Mrs May dubbed a ‘Red Tory’ by critics. It comes after it was revealed last year that there are still startling gaps in the amount different minorities take home for doing the same jobs. The biggest is between white graduates, whose pay is 23% higher than that of black people who went to the same universities.’ – The Sun

A tough day on the campaign trail for the Prime Minister

‘Theresa May endured her most difficult day of the campaign so far as she was confronted by angry voters over disability cuts and housing and was ambushed by Jeremy Corbyn on live television. Business leaders also raised fears that her manifesto promise of extra workers’ rights would burden companies with more red tape and additional costs. Mrs May, who has been accused of seeking to minimise her contact with voters, was asked about cuts to disability benefit payments during a walkabout in Abingdon, Oxfordshire. Kathy Mohan, 53, told the prime minister that she had lost about £100 a week as a result of the changes, saying: “I want my disability living allowance back”…The prime minister’s day worsened when, taking questions during an ITV/Facebook event, she received one from “Jeremy Corbyn of Islington”.’ – The Times (£)

Hunt speaks out about the NHS ransomware attack

‘Jeremy Hunt finally broke cover on the huge cyber attack on the NHS today after days dodging questions. The Health Secretary, who has been silent since the crisis erupted, said he was ‘encouraged’ there had not been a second wave of hacking. He also insisted criminal activity had so far been at the ‘lower end’ of what had been feared. The comments came after it was revealed the Care Quality Commission and Dame Fiona Caldicott, the national data guardian, raised fears about a ‘lack of understanding of security issues’ within Trusts. They highlighted problems with ‘ineffective’ technology and said the ‘cyber threat’ was becoming a ‘bigger consideration’.’ – Daily Mail

  • Former GCHQ chief blames Microsoft – The Times (£)
  • Trusts say the patches sent out didn’t work – The Times (£)
  • Hospitals to be rated on data security – FT
  • North Korea might have been behind the assault – Daily Telegraph
  • We need to up our game – Juliet Samuel, Daily Telegraph
  • Spies seek ‘ethical hackers’ to aid defences – The Times (£)
  • Patients whose operations were cancelled now have a six week wait – Daily Mail

Davidson: Scottish voters were bullied by the SNP, but no more

‘Ms Davidson told the Orwell Foundation that the key to nationalism identified by the author was to classify human beings into groups marked ‘good’ and ‘bad’ and this had “become a key part of our political practice in Scotland.” She said: “This has been pursued quite deliberately, so that many people who do not subscribe to the loudly advanced, so-called ‘good’ side of the argument feel voiceless and helpless. Because in Scotland, political nationalism has introduced the idea that only one side of the constitutional divide can be the authentic voice of ‘the people of Scotland’; that only it has the right to be heard; that other voices are, by their nature, illegitimate and phoney.” Ms Davidson added: “This technique has, for a long time, been effective. If people feel bullied and hectored into supporting SNP, I don’t blame them.”‘ – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Devolution is failing British children

Johnson: We won’t stand in the way of an EU army

‘Boris Johnson dropped Britain’s long-standing efforts to stop an EU army – in a bid to curry favour with Brussels ahead of crunch Brexit talks. In a major shift in stance the Foreign Secretary said Britain will “not stand in their way” as he met his European counterparts for a summit in Brussels to discuss plans to build a HQ in the Belgian capital for EU military training missions overseas. Aides said Mr Johnson made clear the UK is “not a fan of anything that goes onto look like an EU army” and added: “Whatever happens, EU military cooperation cannot step on the toes of Nato.” But sources conceded there was “only a certain amount we can do to hold things up”.’ – The Sun

  • Fallon blocks EU defence HQ plans – Daily Mail
  • A third of Labour Leavers could shun the party – FT
  • Will the Lib Dems ever realise voters have moved on? – Daily Mail Leader

>Today: Christopher Howarth’s Guide to Brexit: The manifesto must convince Leavers – and lock in our escape from the EU

Labour manifesto: Huge expansion in those paying the top rate of income tax

‘Almost four times as many people will pay the top rate of income tax under a Labour Government, the party’s manifesto will propose today. Jeremy Corbyn plans to start the 45p bracket at £80,000, meaning nearly one million more workers will be dragged into the highest tax bracket. Currently only those earning £150k pay the top rate, meaning it hits 330,000 people. But Labour’s plan will see this number almost quadruple to 1.2 million in a bid to find an extra £4.5 billion to fund the NHS. The tax raid will hit long-standing public sector workers including headteachers, doctors and police officers.’ – Daily Telegraph

  • They’re planning the return of the 50p tax band – The Times (£)
  • And more tax on beer – The Sun
  • And a ‘fat cat’ tax on high-paying firms – FT
  • £137,000 a year Labour leader refuses to say he is wealthy – The Sun
  • The economics of the madhouse – Alex Brummer, Daily Mail
  • Lewis wants Corbyn to stay regardless of the result – The Sun

Editorials

Corbyn’s campaign boss is a communist who expressed “solidarity” with North Korea

‘A hardline former communist and chairman of the Stop the War Coalition has been drafted in to help Jeremy Corbyn’s election campaign. Andrew Murray, a senior aide to Len McCluskey, Unite’s general secretary, is a longstanding friend of Mr Corbyn and Seumas Milne, Mr Corbyn’s communications chief. Mr Murray’s far-left views and past membership of the Communist Party of Britain, however, meant that his appointment prompted criticism among centrist Labour figures yesterday. A card-carrying communist since the age of 18, he joined the more hardline of the two factions that emerged when the British communists split in the 1980s. He quit his former party last December in order to join Labour. Before working for Unite he was a journalist, including for a Soviet Union mouthpiece called Novosti Press Agency.’ – The Times (£)

>Yesterday: LeftWatch: Corbyn’s NHS message revolves around a convenient, romanticised fiction

Cable predicts new centre left party

‘A new centre left, pro-business party could emerge in the event of a heavy defeat for Labour in the General Election, Sir Vince Cable has predicted. The Liberal Democrat former Business Secretary said a landslide victory for Theresa May’s Conservatives would pave the way for conversations about the formation of a new political party. Sir Vince, who is hoping to regain his former seat in Twickenham, said there would be a period of “blood-letting” in Labour if the party suffers the heavy losses predicted. “I think many of the Labour people are just waiting to see, to get this election out of the way,” he told the BBC.’ – Evening Standard

  • Blair’s involvement will toxify it – The Sun Says
  • Gina Miller’s tactical voting plan – FT
  • Who benefits when the Greens and UKIP don’t stand? – Daily Telegraph

Trump ‘revealed espionage secrets’ to Russians

‘Donald Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador during a meeting at the White House last week, it was reported on Monday night. The US president’s actions jeopardised a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terror group, the Washington Post reported, citing unnamed US officials. If confirmed, it would also call into question the ability of the US to protect its intelligence sources.’ – Daily Telegraph

Merkel dents Macron’s plans for EU reform

‘Emmanuel Macron’s plans for swift EU reforms were knocked back today as he met Angela Merkel for the first time since becoming president. The two met in Berlin on Macron’s first full day in office signaling his intentions to move rapidly on campaign promises to revive support for the bloc by reforming and strengthening it. But while both leaders said they were prepared to change European treaties if needed, Merkel insisted that such measures were not immediately on the table.’ – Daily Mail

News in Brief

  • Ian Brady dies, without revealing where his last victim was buried – Daily Mail
  • Soames campaigns on horseback – The Times (£)
  • Ten criminals a week commit a serious offence while on probation – Daily Mail
  • The Prime Minister discusses her diabetes – Daily Telegraph

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