8pm ToryDiary: She may be "the most shameless exhibitionist since Barnum and Bailey", but Nadine Dorries should get the whip back

1pm Rob Barber on Comment: Retrospective legislation is an offence to justice and an enemy to growth

Screen shot 2013-05-04 at 06.41.39Tory Diary: "David Cameron, having labelled the former "fruitcakes, nutters and
closet racists", first stuck to the jibe, then took refuge in trying to
ignore UKIP altogether, and has finally climbed down.  His retreat is an
admission of eight years of strategic failure."
  How the Conservatives and UKIP can kiss and make up

Local Government: What should Conservatives offer UKIP to be council coalition partners?

Jackie Doyle-Price MP on Comment: "On polling
day, an Essex newspaper carried a letter from the MP for Billericay
which was critical of the Prime Minister and as good as invited
Conservatives to vote UKIP."
The way to fight Farage's party is to knock on doors – not knock each other.

Local elections. The morning after.  Cameron pressed on UKIP and the EU

1) Nirj Deva MEP breaks ranks to call for a Conservative-UKIP pact

Screen shot 2013-05-04 at 08.49.03"Other Tory MPs were reluctant to talk publicly about electoral deals lest it looked like a sign of Tory weakness. But they said that the experience of Tories and UKIP councillors running councils together could lead to informal arrangements where Tory MPs were not challenged by UKIP. Tories said that it was inevitable that Mr Cameron would have to follow through on his hint this week of supporting legislation in this parliament to write his promise of an in-out EU referendum after the election into law." – The Times (£)

  • "Tory Education Secretary Michael Gove jokingly dismissed any leadership
    speculation. He said: “I think that any of my colleagues who want to
    indulge in leadership speculation should spend the weekend reading the
    history books. It’s barmy, the idea of changing the leader is
    bonkeroony.” – Daily Express
  • Cameron has been told by senior Tories that he must bring back Nadine Dorries – The Times (£)

2) Cameron gives up on the fruitcake. He climbs down on "loonies and closet racists" jibe

"Asked if he stood by his attack, the Prime Minister said: 'Well, look, it is no good insulting a political party that people have chosen to vote for. Of course they should be subject and they will be subject to proper scrutiny of their policies and their plans. 'But we need to show respect for people who have taken the choice to support this party and we are going to work really hard to win them back.'" – Daily Mail

3) John Baron demands a law to lock in that EU referendum

Baron John  2"Tory Eurosceptics demanded immediate legislation to “lock in” the party to holding an in/out referendum on the EU after the 2015 election, as Mr Cameron has promised. John Baron, a Tory MP, said the party leadership must learn from its “errors” in handling the Ukip threat. “Our commitment to an EU referendum needs to be believable,” he said. John Redwood, the former Cabinet minister, said the results showed that voters, like Conservative MPs, “want faster progress on the new relationship with the EU”. But Bright Blue, a group which back Mr Cameron’s modernising project, warned him not to listen to the Tory right." – The Independent

4) David Davis launches class war on Downing Street. He says: No More Etonians

"The fact is that if we want to win the next election, we have to break this impression of being privileged and out of touch. The British public are neither snobs nor inverted snobs, but they do expect the Government to understand their problems and do something about it. That means more straight talking and fewer focus groups: more conventional Tory policies, not because they are Tory, but because they work: less pandering to metropolitan interest groups: and please, please, no more Old Etonian advisers." – Daily Telegraph

  • Dishonest Cameron has ditched our values. No wonder people are
    voting UKIP – Defeated former Conservative councillor Alexis McAvoy,
    Daily Telegraph

Farage's cry of triumph: Send in the Clowns!

Screen shot 2013-05-04 at 08.52.45"UKIP’s “clowns” yesterday pulled off a raid on councils up and down the country, humiliating Westminster’s elite. The anti-EU party recorded the biggest protest vote EVER in British elections, giving them 139 new councillors and taking thousands of votes off Tories, Labour and the Lib Dems…Toasting his success with his now trademark pint of bitter last night, Mr Farage joked: “Send in the clowns!”" – The Sun

Rob Ford: Who UKIP's voters are

"UKIP’s demographic base is older, often economically struggling, blue-collar workers with low education levels. These are socially conservative voters, alienated by the liberal values of today’s university-educated middle-class elite. They are angered by immigration. These voters once had a natural home in the party of Margaret Thatcher and Norman Tebbit, but feel marginalised in Prime Minister David Cameron’s party, which wants to broaden its appeal to younger graduates, ethnic minorities and working women." – Rob Ford, Financial Times

  • Who's laughing now? – The Independent
  • Former Conservative Ashcroft wins council seat for UKIP – Financial Times
  • Dazed and delighted, UKIP's new councillors – The Guardian
  • UKIP councillor with Vietnamese wife fed up with racism claims – The Times (£)
  • Farage's ancestor was German shocker – Daily Express
  • Is Ukip a passing storm or a major earthquake? – James Kirkup, Daily Telegraph
  • Who UKIP voters are – The Times (£)
  • There's only one way for Cameron to stub out Farage – Daily Mail
  • Told you so. Farage marches on, on, on – Patrick O'Flynn, Daily Express
  • Role of Nigel Farage’s party is still more psychological than electoral – Janan Ganesh, Financial Times
  • How can the Tories end their family feud with Ukip? – Jonathan Freedland, The Guardian

Miliband fails to break through

Miliband Ed Open Mouth"The party won only two county councils, retaking 284 council seats, fewer than predicted by many psephologists. In many councils, Labour found itself frustratingly falling short – for instance just failing to make the 26 gains needed to run Lancashire council, and gaining only 24 seats in Staffordshire. Most projections for the general election suggested Labour would not be able on this basis to claim an overall Commons majority, a disappointing return for a party in the middle of the longest postwar period of austerity. The Conservatives pointed out that in 1981 in the same stage of the electoral cycle Michael Foot secured more than 500 gains." – The Guardian

  • South Shields' Emma Lewell-Buck vows to be 'different sort of MP' – The Guardian
  • Red Ed marches left just as the voters are moving to the right – Dan Hodges, Daily Mail
  • ‘Ed Miliband is in the Blair tradition, and I should know’ – Lord Adonis interview, The Times (£)

And the LibDems? Well, they're "on a journey"

Screen shot 2013-05-04 at 08.56.35"After all 35 councils in England and Wales declared their results, the Lib
Dems had lost 125 councillors, about a quarter of the seats it has held
since 2009. Mr Clegg conceded it was “not good” to lose so many loyal party councillors. “The Liberal Democrats are on a journey,” he said. “We’re on a journey from a
party of protest, to a party of government.”

Results and projections

Screen shot 2013-05-04 at 05.45.56
  • "According to a BBC projection, the council results would give Labour 29 per cent at the next election with the Conservatives on 25, Ukip 23 and the Liberal Democrats 14." – Financial Times (£)
  • "Three out of four UKIP gains came at the Conservatives' expense. The Tories lost control of Dorset and Gloucestershire, where Labour and Ukip made gains, but retained Essex, Somerset, Hampshire and Dorset." – The Independent
  • Screen shot 2013-05-04 at 08.57.58"The BBC estimated the Tories’ performance was worth just 25 per cent of the vote in a general election, a rating equal to the worst the party ever suffered under John Major’s administration. However, once again it was the Tories’ coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats, who suffered the biggest drubbing….For Labour, an average eight-point increase on 2009 was insufficient to quell the doubts about whether the party has done enough to win voters’ hearts." – John Curtice, The Independent
  • The economy, not Europe, was motivation for this protest vote – Anthony King, Daily Mail
  • Times (£) OpinionFest on what the four party leaders should do next, starring Tim Montgomerie and Stephan Shakespeare – The Times (£)


Charles Moore says: Move towards UKIP – have an EU referendum now…

Screen shot 2013-05-04 at 08.58.43"What can he do? Since his political future probably hangs on this point, he would do well not to announce anything tomorrow, unless it be the sacking of Ken Clarke. But here are some things to bear in mind. The first is that a referendum, though certainly fraught with difficulty for the Tories, is equally so for Labour and the Liberal Democrats. If he now proposes one in this Parliament, rather than merely offering one if he wins the election, where will they be if they oppose it?" – Daily Telegraph

…But Matthew Parris says: Stay away from UKIP – and don't appease them

"That split reflects a division in the Conservative Party between those who think Tories should ignore UKIP and carry on regardless and those who think that to staunch a haemorrhage of support Conservatism should move towards UKIP’s own political stance: that UKIP points the way. Both factions are wrong. The Conservatives should take UKIP very seriously indeed. But as an enemy. They should move not an inch towards its agenda." – The Times (£)

> Today:

> Yesterday:

News in Brief

  • While the local election coverage rages, the Leveson Press regulation plan is pulled – The Sun
  • Israel bombs Syria – New York Times
  • My journey from left to right – Melanie Phillips, Daily Mail
  • Heathrow looks to rural shires for new airport – Financial Times (£)
  • US unemployment hits lowest level since 2008 – The Guardian
  • Top energy adviser walks out over 'Treasury meddling' – The Independent
  • Andrew Mitchell's plebgate bike sells for £10,600 at Aids charity auction – Daily Mail
  • 18-feet-tall mobile phone masts can be installed without planning permission – Daily Telegraph


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