Brexit Party takes early poll lead

“Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party has surged into the lead for the European elections, according to two opinion polls. Having formed only in January, the party has leapfrogged Labour and the Tories and eaten into Ukip’s support. A YouGov poll for The Times put the Brexit Party on 23 per cent, Labour on 22 per cent and the Conservatives on 17 per cent. Last week it was on 15 per cent, Labour was on 24 per cent and the Tories were on 16 per cent. Many former Ukip voters appear to have followed Mr Farage away from the party he had led in three separate stints. Ukip has languished in seventh place on 6 per cent since the launch of the Brexit Party. The polling was less positive for Change UK. The breakaway group of former Labour and Conservative MPs was on 8 per cent in The Times’s European elections poll, up just a point.” – The Times

  • Disunity to cost Remain parties seats – FT
  • Beckett says Farage will win unless Labour backs Remain – The Guardian
  • Stanley Johnson rejected as Tory MEP candidate – The Sun


  • Remain MPs can delay legislation to ensure we take part in Euros, warns da Costa – Daily Telegraph
  • Britain left in charge of Brussels over Easter – The Sun


  • How the details of PR could stymie Remainers – Miranda Green, FT
  • Britain will have its second referendum… on 23 May – Timothy Garton Ash, The Guardian
  • The Tories face annihilation – Allister Heath, Daily Telegraph


>Yesterday: Daniel Hannan MEP’s column: Brexit. Vote Conservative in the European elections to help us deliver it – and finish the job.

Skidmore and Ellwood demand universities do more for military families

“Ministers have told universities to help more people from military backgrounds. Just 24 per cent of young people with parents in the services go on to higher education, compared with 43 per cent in the general population. And veterans who want to apply are often hindered by having served rather than studied. Now Universities Minister Chris Skidmore and Veterans Minister Tobias Ellwood have written to all universities demanding that they sign up to the Armed Forces Covenant. Just 57 of 136 have so far committed to the pledge that the Armed Forces community will not be disadvantaged. The two ministers are also calling for military experience and qualifications to count towards course entry requirements.” – The Sun

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Potemkin legislation

Hunt ‘sets out leadership stall’

“Jeremy Hunt has set out his credentials for the Tory leadership as he warned that the Tories must restore their reputation as the “party of aspiration” and overcome claims that they “don’t care” about young people. The Foreign Secretary told the New Statesman that the Tories need to find some “big social issues” to show that “it’s not all money for money’s sake”. He said the Tories need to show that they are not only the party of “wealth creation” but establish themselves as the party of “prosperity with purpose”. He insisted that he is just as radical as Michael Gove, who is seen as another leadership contender, and that the reforms he introduced in the NHS were as significant as those introduced in schools.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Express readers ‘back Johnson’ (on Twitter) – Daily Express


  • Pray the next leader isn’t in this cowardly Cabinet – Allison Pearon, Daily Telegraph

Government to force pupils to take a foreign language GCSE

“All schools will be ordered to sign their pupils up for foreign language GCSEs from September – and will be marked down if they don’t, The Sun can reveal. In a bid to boost Britain’s bilingual skills Schools Minister Nick Gibb has set a target of getting three in four of all pupils studying and taking a foreign language GCSE by 2022. Currently just under half of kids in England and Wales sit a foreign language GCSE. But from September all secondary school starters will be expected to study one and take the exam. And to get the numbers up schools will be assessed on the proportion of pupils studying foreign languages. As well as being held to account by Ofsted inspections, schools will also be judged on their foreign languages take-up in league performance tables.” – The Sun

  • Method to the madness of Labour’s ban on primary testing – Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph
  • Schools which off-roll pupils need to be named and shamed – David Laws, The Times

>Yesterday: Left Watch: Abolishing SATs is a policy designed to please teaching unions, not help school pupils

Tory MPs preparing ‘fresh push’ against Bercow

“Conservative MPs are to launch a further attempt to prise John Bercow from office amid anger over what they claim is the Speaker’s bias against Brexit. The backbencher behind the move, who says it has support from the government front bench, warned Mr Bercow yesterday that “enough is enough”. There have been reports that the Speaker wants to stay in his post beyond the summer if Brexit is not resolved. Crispin Blunt, former chairman of the Commons foreign affairs select committee, is canvassing support among MPs for an early day motion expressing no confidence in Mr Bercow. He hopes to table the motion when parliament returns on Tuesday, after the Easter recess.” – The Times Continue to all today’s Newslinks