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Conservative campaign renews focus on Brexit

‘Theresa May will try to re-energise her general election campaign today by urging working-class Labour and Ukip voters to switch to the Conservatives over Brexit. With a new poll indicating that Labour is solidifying recent gains, the prime minister will seize on “aggressive” Brexit demands from Brussels to insist that only she can negotiate a deal to “define” Britain’s future. She will also explicitly woo voters who are concerned about immigration and Britain’s sovereignty, saying that their views have been “ridiculed and ignored for too long”. The Tories’ decision to use the final full week of campaigning to refocus on Brexit comes after a poll suggested that attempts to portray Jeremy Corbyn as soft on terrorism had failed to win over voters.’ – The Times (£)

>Yesterday: Andrea Leadsom on Comment: Brexit can let us give British agriculture a better deal

TV Battle 1) May defends policing record and social care plans from tough questioning

‘Theresa May was forced to defend Conservative plans for a “dementia tax” and cuts to the NHS, police and school budgets in a bruising encounter with the public in the first televised election “debate” last night. The prime minister repeatedly tried to turn the agenda on to Brexit as audience members pressed her on Tory reductions in public spending. A midwife told her that she witnessed “efficiency savings that were cuts” and staff “at their wits’ end”, a policeman attacked her for cutting officer numbers, while a pensioner berated the prime minister for her planned changes to social care. “I don’t like the prospect of being unable to leave our home to our family . . . if you were to introduce your so-called dementia tax,” Philip Webster, an 89-year-old audience member told Mrs May.’ – The Times (£)

>Today: WATCH: May v Corbyn – last night’s Battle for Number Ten interviews in full

TV Battle 2) Corbyn pressed by audience and Paxman over the IRA and the Falklands

‘Jeremy Corbyn tonight accused Margaret Thatcher of making a ‘great deal’ of Argentina’s invasion of the Falklands as furious voters confronted him over security. Labour’s ailing leader risked provoking outrage with his remarks about the Falklands as he accused Mrs Thatcher of ‘exploiting’ the 1982 war in defence of British citizens. He did not deny claiming the war was a ‘Tory plot’ but insisted his motivation had been in stopping the fighting. In the first major TV bout of the election campaign, the Labour leader was pulled up by a panel of voters and inquisitor Jeremy Paxman over his support for the IRA and his refusal to use force on terrorists.’ – Daily Mail

Patel builds international alliance to change the rules on aid spending

‘Britain is teaming up with Germany to demand radical changes to the way billions of pounds are spent on overseas aid, the Sun can reveal. Ministers are also working with Holland and Nordic nations as they prepare to lobby the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) for rule changes to allow taxpayers’ cash to be invested in vital counter-terror work and disaster relief. Under the plans Britain would be able to use some of the £13billion aid budget to help states like Afghanistan beef up their intelligence networks. Ministers also want troops to be able to deliver aid to war-torn states. And they want to be able to “pre-position” or stockpile aid in countries in advance of storms or hurricanes.’ – The Sun

Wallace: Chance handed May a golden opportunity – will she make the most of it?

‘Everyone remembers: “You know what some people call us – the nasty party.” Few remember the preceding sentence: “Our base is too narrow and so, occasionally, are our sympathies.” The “nasty party” comment grabbed the headlines, but the other comment continues to define her politics…May’s good fortune is that she is prime minister at a time when the electoral potency of her philosophy is at its greatest…The same voters who fit her vision are also far more likely to have voted leave…Simultaneously, Labour’s chosen leader offends many of the values these voters hold…These factors have cut the ties that once bound a significant number of voters to Labour. They don’t guarantee victory for May: David Cameron and Hillary Clinton can attest that no outcome is ever certain, and the social care fiasco is a reminder that any would-be prime minister is walking a tightrope. But they do give her the opportunity to communicate a compelling message to people who would otherwise have been far less likely to listen.’ – Mark Wallace, The Guardian

  • Leading pollsters say they can’t promise greater accuracy than 2015 – The Times (£)
  • They could be very wrong again – John Rentoul, The Independent
  • Turnout analysis is all-important – Matt Singh, FT
  • Hayward predicts majority of 75 – The Sun
  • Skinner’s seat is being targeted – FT
  • Conservative candidate apologises for tasteless joke in Batley and Spen – The Sun

>Today: ToryDiary: Never mind the polls, watch the target seats (if you can work out which these are)

Labour’s ‘garden tax’ could triple council tax bills

‘Families could see their council tax bills treble under Labour plans for a ‘garden tax’, the Tories claimed last night. The small print of Jeremy Corbyn’s manifesto contains proposals to replace council tax and business rates with a Land Value Tax (LVT) on homes and gardens. Labour has pledged to use the levy –based on the land value rather than property prices – to raise extra money for their spending splurge. The Conservatives last night put the average cost at nearly £4,000 and warned the ‘devastating’ and ‘destructive’ tax would send house prices plummeting and plunge mortgage holders into negative equity.’ – Daily Mail

Corbyn opens the door to a second Scottish independence referendum

‘Jeremy Corbyn will be prepared to “open discussions” with Nicola Sturgeon about a second referendum on independence for Scotland if he becomes prime minister. The Labour leader said that he would try to dissuade the first minister from holding another poll on Scotland’s future until after the end of Brexit negotiations. In remarks likely to be seized on by his opponents, he said that if he won the general election he would take heed of the wishes of the Scottish parliament, which has called for another referendum in the next two years…Ruth Davidson, the Scottish Conservative leader, said: “Nicola Sturgeon has said she’d put Jeremy Corbyn into No 10. Now Jeremy Corbyn says he is happy to open discussions with her about a second referendum.’ – The Times (£)

  • The SNP say they would make a deal with Labour in a hung parliament – The Guardian
  • The shine is coming off the nationalists – FT
  • Sturgeon’s manifesto will pledge to vote on English-only matters – The Guardian
  • Greens target Labour’s left – FT

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Political gravity looks to be catching up with the SNP

Clegg’s warning over security post-Brexit is dismissed by veteran counter-terror boss

‘Nick Clegg’s claim that Brexit poses a ‘direct threat to national security’ has been dismissed by a former Scotland Yard counter-terrorism chief. The former Lib Dem leader claimed a ‘hard Brexit’ could see the UK lose access to the EU Schengen Information System (SIS II) database – which contains ‘real time’ details about terrorism suspects and criminals. But Richard Walton, former head of the Metropolitan Police’s counter-terrorism command, said: ‘The reality is that Brexit will have little, if any, impact on UK counter-terrorism operations, even if it ceases to become a formal member of Europol.’’ – Daily Mail

>Today: Christopher Howarth’s column: NATO will survive both Trump and Merkel’s criticisms. But it might not survive a Prime Minister Corbyn.

BA accused of profiting from computer meltdown

‘British Airways was accused of exploiting passengers’ misery yesterday amid claims that travellers affected by the global IT crash at the weekend were made to pay for expensive upgrades to reach their destinations. The airline faced criticism over its response to the chaos after it emerged that trapped passengers had to spend up to £800 to gain access to spare seats in premium economy cabins. It was suggested that BA may fail to reimburse in full passengers who had to travel with other airlines, despite some being landed with bills of up to £1,600.’ – The Times (£)

A week on, police search for Manchester bomber’s blue suitcase

‘Police have warned the public not to approach the blue suitcase that Salman Abedi was seen pulling just hours before he blew himself up and killed 21 innocent people at the Manchester Arena. Greater Manchester Police have issued a CCTV image of the suicide bomber with the hip-high case in the city centre last Monday. The force are warning people to contact them immediately if they see the luggage item and not to approach it.’ – Daily Mail

  • Crowds join silent vigil – The Times (£)
  • Libyan pilot arrested in Sussex – The Times (£)
  • Extremists must be kept out of the country – The Sun Says
  • Nuttall is open to the return of internment without trial – The Times (£)
  • Warsi calls for the end of the veil – The Times (£)
  • Islamists kill because they hate freedom – Douglas Murray, The Sun

News in Brief

  • Zookeeper mauled to death by tiger – Daily Mail
  • Prince William on the legacy of his mother’s death – The Times (£)
  • ‘Intoxicated’ British men arrested after driving into pedestrians – Daily Telegraph
  • Macron warns Putin over chemical weapons – The Guardian
  • Noriega has died – Daily Mail
  • Suspected Yorkshire Ripper link to two Swedish murders – The Independent
  • Scientists revive antibiotic thought useless against superbugs – The Times (£)
  • RIP John Noakes – The Sun Says

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