Published:

Debate 1) May comes out fighting on Question Time

“Theresa May came out fighting tonight as she vowed to force through Brexit in a crucial live TV election special. The Prime Minister insisted she had the ‘balls to call an election’ as she came in for a fierce grilling from voters in the showpiece event of the campaign. In a staunch defence, she said she had called the national ballot in order to deliver a ‘successful Brexit’ and spelled out her ‘resolute determination to respect the will’ of the public. She warned that Jeremy Corbyn and ‘Marxist’ John McDonnell were relying on a ‘magic money tree’ and would be a disaster in government. She repeatedly took aim at prospective home secretary Diane Abbott for her weak stance on terrorism.” – Daily Mail

  • Abbott claims warnings about her becoming Home Secretary are ‘racist’ – Daily Mail
  • Labour frontbench fury as Abbott goes rogue – The Times (£)

Audience:

  • BBC audiences may have been hijacked by Labour supporters, experts warn – Daily Telegraph
  • Conservatives claim BBC whipped up 200-strong flash mob – The Sun
  • Audience member booed for calling for second EU referendum – Daily Express

>Today: Video: WATCH: “The worst possible deal at the highest possible price.” May on what a bad Brexit deal means.

Debate 2) Corbyn savaged over anti-nuclear position

“Jeremy Corbyn last night refused to say whether he would defend Britain from nuclear attack. The pacifist Labour leader was heckled by a live TV audience as he repeatedly ducked questions about his attitude to the UK’s nuclear defences. In a nightmare performance, he also struggled to answer questions about his sympathy for terrorist groups including the IRA, Hezbollah and Hamas. He was pilloried for his spendthrift policies, with one audience member likening Labour’s manifesto to ‘a letter to Santa Claus’ – and he was challenged over his failure to expel his friend Ken Livingstone from the party over anti-semitic remarks.” – Daily Mail

Comment:

  • It showed how much the leaders have changed in six bizarre weeks – Tim Stanley, Daily Telegraph
  • The Prime Minister came out fighting – John Rentoul, The Independent

>Today: Video: WATCH: “Answer the question!” Corbyn heckled as he ducks and dives over nuclear weapons use

May reaches out to business as Brexit tensions escalate

“Theresa May has vowed to consult business at every step of Brexit negotiations, including on devising a new migration strategy, as she tried to defuse tensions between corporate leaders and Downing Street. Mrs May, in an interview with the Financial Times, insisted that if she won the election, she would negotiate an “implementation phase” to allow companies to adapt to Brexit, adding: “Some people talk about two or three years”. Speaking during the week when the average Tory poll lead over Labour in the FT’s poll tracker fell to eight points, down from 20 points at the start of the campaign in April, Mrs May said much was at stake for business on June 8.” – FT

  • ‘No deal’ mantra causing bemusement from Brussels to Berlin – The Times (£)
  • Hammond insists migration clampdown won’t hurt businesses – Daily Mail
  • Brexit team asks Swiss deal-maker how to negotiate – The Times (£)
  • Corbyn dodges questions over departure deadline – The Sun
  • The poverty of English in a post-Brexit EU – FT
  • Campaigners launch final push to block hard-Brexit MPs – The Independent

Comment:

  • May is in denial about Britain’s declining power – Patrick Cockburn, The Independent
  • The Prime Minister is too cowardly to give us the Brexit election we need – Martin Kettle, The Guardian
  • Why I’m standing down from Parliament – Gisela Stuart, Daily Telegraph

Editorial:

McKinley attacks CPS for timing of charges announcement

“A Conservative charged with election expenses fraud has slammed the CPS for announcing his prosecution a week before the election. Crag Mackinlay denied the two charges against him and insisted his re-election campaign would continue until June 8. The Tory politician questioned why the CPS had chosen to make its announcement today when prosecutors have held the file on him since April and did not have to make a decision until June 11, after the general election. Mr Mackinlay was backed by Prime Minister Theresa May today. She said the allegation was ‘unfounded’ and he was ‘innocent until proven guilty’.” – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: MPs Etc.: Mackinlay, his agent, and a CCHQ official charged over election expenses allegations

Campaign 1) Fallon (not Hammond) promises a post-manifesto cap on tax for high earners

“High earners will not face income tax rises if the Conservatives are re-elected, one of Theresa May’s most senior ministers pledged yesterday. With polls continuing to tighten just before the election, the Conservatives attempted to regain the momentum with Sir Michael Fallon making a promise that was not in the party’s manifesto. Mrs May had ditched David Cameron’s controversial “tax lock” pledge made in 2015 not to raise the three main levies – income tax, national insurance contributions or VAT. Modifying that promise to only freeze VAT was billed two weeks ago as a responsible move to give the government maximum flexibility to cope with Brexit uncertainty.” – The Times (£)

  • Tories u-turn on plan to build more social housing – The Independent
  • May limps, diminished, towards the finishing line – FT

More campaign:

  • Labour say they have ‘every chance’ of winning Rudd’s seat – The Independent
  • A Tory’s battle to win in South Wales – The Times (£)
  • Conservative incumbent slow-clapped over food banks – Daily Mail

Comment:

  • Corbyn’s catch-up exposes the shallowness of May’s campaign – Jimmy Leach, The Times (£)
  • Can we all just admit we don’t have a clue what’s going on? – Matt Chorley, The Times (£)

>Today: ToryDiary: In these last few campaigning days, May must spell out what the choice means for your wallet, purse and savings

>Yesterday:

Campaign 2) Patel vows to ‘rip up’ rules on foreign aid…

“Ministers are prepared to tear up Britain’s foreign aid laws in a bid to cut waste, the International Development Secretary said last night. Priti Patel said she was willing to unilaterally re-write the international rules governing aid spending if other countries refuse to accept Britain’s call for reform. The rules ‘have not kept up with the changing world’ and were limiting the ability of the Government to make the most of the vast aid budget, she added. The International Development (Official Development Assistance Target) Act, passed by the Coalition government, enshrines in law the target of spending 0.7 per cent of Britain’s income on aid, which has seen the aid budget balloon to more than £13 billion.” – Daily Mail

  • USA’s withdrawal means UK taxpayers will pay more to tackle Third World climate change – Daily Mail

Prime Minister:

  • May urged to confront Trump over abandoning climate pact – The Times (£)
  • Prime Minister hits back at criticism over handling of President – The Sun

Comment:

  • Decarbonisation is a miserable fantasy which hurts the planet and makes us poorer – Nigel Lawson, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Trump just made life much harder for British sceptics of costly green policies

Campaign 3) …and accuses Corbyn of promising £9.5 billion in unfunded new commitments

“Jeremy Corbyn was last night accused of dreaming up another £9.5 billion of unfunded spending commitments in the past week. Tory Cabinet Minister Priti Patel blasted the Labour leader for believing he could “magic money” out of the pockets of hard-working families – and putting the economy at risk. The Labour manifesto commits the party to an extra £58 billion of Government spending each year – excluding wholesale nationalisations. But Tories said Mr Corbyn had added even more in just a matter of days through commitments to waive student debt – and end a benefits freeze. On Thursday the Labour leader said he was “looking at ways” to reduce the existing £30 billion debt of students and graduates.” – The Sun

  • Ex-leader of Labour’s British-Indians attacks leader for leading party away from aspiration – The Sun

Comment:

  • Crosby’s futile attacks on Corbyn show he’s lost his touch – Chris Powell, The Guardian

>Yesterday: LeftWatch: Abbott’s Arithmetic 5) The uncounted costs of free tuition

Campaign 4) Army fears for future as Conservative drop troop numbers pledge

“Officers are preparing to reduce the size of the army to as little as 65,000 after the Conservatives dropped a pledge to maintain the force at its target of 82,000, The Times understands. Options being considered within the military include reducing the army by 17,000 personnel to less than two thirds of the size of the French army and only slightly bigger than Germany’s land force, according to two defence sources. A third source said that “contingency plans” were being prepared in case the army was cut to 60,000 or 70,000. Officials were even asked this year to consider the implications of a full-time army of as few as 55,000, although officers believe this is unlikely.” – The Times (£)

  • A drastic cut in troop numbers would send a message of decline – The Times (£)

Campaign 5) Matthew Parris: May has my vote, through gritted teeth

“They could have shown grace, a willingness to listen, a quiet confidence. They could have looked like the party trying to raise the tone; they could have been polite. They could have reflected in their demeanour the uplifting and inclusive language of their manifesto. Instead we’ve had bluster and abuse. On everything that didn’t matter, wasn’t a serious threat or was an argument already won, noise. And on the one thing they actually said they’d called the election to settle, silence. Silence, too, from the Labour Party. And silence from much of the press.” – The Times (£)

  • The Prime Minister is no longer winning the battle for authenticity – Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph
  • In May and Corbyn, Britain has the politicians it deserves – Jeremy Paxman, FT
  • May’s lead is narrowing but she could still romp home – Ben Page, Times Red Box

Analysis:

  • The Prime Minister doesn’t need to be liked if she feels she’s right – Dominic Kennedy, The Times (£)

Editorial:

  • The Conservatives must spend the next few days making the case for Conservatism – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday:

Labour: Scottish leader boasts of new taxes on the South…

“Labour will hammer London and the South East with new wealth taxes, a senior party figure admitted yesterday. Scottish leader Kezia Dugdale claimed Labour would ‘tax wealth in London and the South East and redistribute it across the UK according to need’. She said the United Kingdom was the ‘means by which we redistribute wealth’. Her comments will alarm middle-class families in and around the capital and raise concerns that Jeremy Corbyn intends to milk them to pay for a spending spree in Scotland and other parts of the country. The Tories said Mr Corbyn was planning ‘punitive taxes for his hard-Left agenda’.” – Daily Mail

  • Tories warn that Labour deal with the SNP will put the Union at risk – Daily Mail
  • Sturgeon would explore ‘progressive alliance’ – The Scotsman

More tax:

  • How Corbyn will take tax rates back to the 1970s – Daily Telegraph
  • Jez’s £300 mortgage bombshell – The Sun

Comment:

  • Corbyn’s state-run firms would be catastrophic for the economy – Allister Heath, Daily Telegraph

>Today: Richard Short in Comment: Labour’s Garden Tax is ready to savage the homes and gardens of ordinary working people

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: May now has her chance to credibly warn that Sturgeon will prop up Corbyn

…whilst Corbyn prepares to ‘wage war on church schools’

“Jeremy Corbyn is plotting to wage a war on church schools by cutting their funding and banning selection by faith, it was claimed last night. The Labour leader and his team have repeatedly threatened to abolish faith schools or stop them from prioritising Christian pupils. The 7,000 faith schools around the country, which make up around a third of the total in England, consistently achieve higher performance in exam results. But Mr Corbyn, his shadow chancellor John McDonnell and shadow home secretary Diane Abbott have consistently pledged to hamper them. As a backbench MP, Mr Corbyn regularly signed parliamentary motions calling for an end to religious selection in schools. In 2013, he sponsored a Commons petition seeking ‘to open up all state-funded schools to all children without regard to religion’.” – Daily Mail

  • Labour manifesto would put ‘substantial’ pressure on the NHS – Daily Express

More Labour:

  • Pressure on Corbyn to tackle fake Twitter accounts backing his campaign – Daily Telegraph
  • Labour leader defended men convicted of raising money for terror groups – The Sun

>Yesterday: George Maggs in Comment: We must never forget that Corbyn is a cheerleader for terrorists and tyrants

News in Brief:

  • Police foil huge Semtex bomb plot in Northern Ireland – Belfast Telegraph
  • German rock festival evacuated after ‘concrete’ threat to 90,000 fans – Daily Mail
  • ‘Myths’ by Muslims hurt anti-terror fight – The Times (£)
  • Putin says hackers could have framed Russia over election attacks – Daily Telegraph
  • Disappointing US jobs growth jolts markets – FT
  • Ireland set to have first openly gay prime minister – Daily Mail
  • SNP put tender out for controversial ‘Teach First’ scheme – The Scotsman

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