Article 50: May sees off rebels to pass bill unamended…

EU Exit brexit“Theresa May saw off a fresh Tory revolt to force her to guarantee the rights of EU citizens in the UK after Brexit now. Dozens of Conservative MPs want the PM to allow the 3.2 million already living here to stay before Brexit talks begin. But Home Secretary Amber Rudd won them round by promising in a letter there would be no change to the status of EU nationals without Parliament’s approval first. The government defeated a Labour bid to enforce the move now by 332 to 290 last night, a majority of 42. Just three Tory MPs rebelled – Andrew Tyrie, Ken Clarke and Tania Mathias.” – The Sun

  • Seven senior pro-EU Conservatives rebel after saying Government went back on deal – The Sun
  • Tory whips outfox opponents – FT
  • All the amendments May crushed – Wales Online
  • MPs to have final say on status of EU migrants – The Sun

>Today: ToryDiary: Ten reasons why the whips were able to crush the rebels


…as rumours of Corbyn’s departure swirl as ally resigns

“Jeremy Corbyn was hit with a new high-profile resignation from his shadow cabinet last night as he suffered another rebellion over Brexit. Clive Lewis, the shadow business secretary once seen as a close Corbyn ally, became the most prominent Labour figure to quit after concluding that he could not “in all good conscience” back a bill allowing the government to trigger the Brexit process. The move was seen by many Labour MPs as an attempt to position himself as the successor to Mr Corbyn. His resignation came hours after the Labour leader’s advisers were forced to deny rumours that he was planning to stand down before the next election. Mr Lewis was one of the 52 Labour MPs to defy Mr Corbyn and vote against the triggering of Article 50, which begins the Brexit process, at the bill’s second reading.” – The Times (£)

  • Leader denies rumours he plans to step down – The Sun
  • Labour in crisis as Lewis quits Shadow Cabinet – Daily Telegraph
  • Abbott lashes out at Davis after Article 50 vote… – Daily Mail
  • …but she did vote for it in the end – The Independent
  • Corbyn mocked for ‘pathetic’ rallying cry – Daily Telegraph
  • The 12 Welsh MPs who voted against triggering Article 50 – Wales Online


  • Russell accuses Government of ‘moving goalposts’ over UK-wide approach – The Scotsman
  • Deputy Speaker has to silence SNP for singing EU anthem – Daily Express
  • Scottish Government told to prepare for referendum – The Scotsman


  • Another win for the Brexiteers… and another loss for Corbyn – Michael Deacon, Daily Telegraph


  • The Commons has seen sense over Article 50, and so must the Lords – Daily Telegraph
  • MPs have failed their first test – The Guardian


>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Starmer repeatedly refuses to say if Abbott will vote for Article 50

Tom Harris: If Corbyn resigns it will be because he can’t bear to fire his friends

Jeremy Corbyn“Here is the nub of Labour’s many and varied problems right now. Under any previous leader, under any functional regime, there would be no debate, no speculation about what might happen to a frontbencher of any rank who breaks party discipline. They would be gone, either by resignation or by being sacked. No discussion, no compromises – bye bye, don’t let the door hit you on the backside on the way out, etc. But not in Jeremy’s Labour. From the moment that Dawn Butler, the former Shadow Equalities Minister resigned her post in protest at Corbyn’s demand that she wave the Brexit Bill through, it was being made clear that her exile on the back benches would not last long.” – Daily Telegraph

  • We can’t stop Brexit now, but we can plan for a better Britain – Wes Streeting, The Guardian

More comment:

  • If Brexit campaigners break their promises to Wales, distrust in politics will grow – Martin Shipton, Wales Online
  • Brussels’ demands for an exit fee are utterly ridiculous – Leo McKinstry, Daily Express
  • Another referendum is a big risk for the SNP – Bill Jamieson, The Scotsman

May 1) Government denies ‘sweetheart deal’ for Surrey Council

“Jeremy Corbyn has accused Theresa May of offering a Tory-led council a “sweetheart deal” in a bid to”kill off” plans for a 15 per cent rise in council tax .The Labour leader confronted Mrs May with a series of leaked text messages from the leader of Surrey County Council, claiming ministers had offered him a special deal. On Tuesday Surrey County Council called off a planned referendum on a 15 per cent rise in council tax that was intended to help fund social care… The Prime Minister’s Official spokesman denied that a deal had been made and insisted that Surrey County Council would not receive any extra cash for calling off the planned referendum.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Tory council’s referendum ‘bought off with cash’ – The Independent
  • Leaks put May under pressure to plug shortfall – The Times (£)
  • Labour MP ‘begs’ the Prime Minister to raise NHS spending – The Sun

More public spending:

  • Low-income tenants at risk from Universal Credit glitch – The Sun


  • One of Corbyn’s best days at Prime Minister’s Questions – Patrick Kidd, The Times (£)
  • A Surrey state of affairs – Michael Deacon, Daily Telegraph


  • How we’ll restore the public’s faith in democracy – Ben Gummer, Times Red Box
  • We need spending cuts, not tax rises – Andrew Lilico, The Sun

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Corbyn ambushes May at PMQs with leaked texts about the Surrey council tax referendum

May 2) Brady wins concessions over school funding

School“Theresa May yesterday signalled a climbdown over changes to school funding which have sparked a bitter backlash from rural MPs. Ministers have drawn up a new funding formula, which calculates how much schools receive, in a bid to make it fairer. Under rules which date back to the last Labour government, some schools in urban areas currently receive thousands of pounds per pupil more than those in rural areas.  But when the new proposals were published last months, they caused fury among Conservative MPs whose local schools are set to lose out.” – Daily Mail

  • Schools failing poor but clever girls – The Times (£)
  • New grammars will take only top 10 per cent of children – Daily Mail
  • Cleverest Scottish pupils ‘a year behind on science’ from when SNP took over – Daily Telegraph


Iain Martin: The Prime Minister’s iron fist needs a velvet glove

“Even many of us who voted for Brexit acknowledge that the negotiations are fraught with risk. And in Scotland support for independence hit 49 per cent in a poll yesterday, as the SNP hopes to force another referendum next year. Amid all this, May needs a deeper reservoir of goodwill to draw on. She will need the trust of a wider group of colleagues and the support of Whitehall advisers encouraged to think intelligently, not just obediently, during an emergency. She needs friends, not ever more enemies, when there’s trouble ahead.” – The Times (£)

  • Is it too much to expect Tories to act like Tories, and cut taxes? – Stephen Glover, Daily Mail
  • Right-wing populists have no chance of actual power – David Aaronovitch, The Times (£)

Anger as Goodwill announces end of ‘Dubs’ refugee scheme

GOODWILL Robert headshot“Campaigners have responded with anger to news that a government scheme to rehouse thousands of lone child refugees in Britain will close after accepting just 350. Robert Goodwill, immigration minister, announced on Wednesday that the “Dubs” scheme — named after Lord Alf Dubs, a peer who was rescued from Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia in 1939 and lobbied for a programme to take in children stranded in camps across Europe — will accept only 150 more unaccompanied children on top of the 200 who have been settled in the UK so far.” – FT

  • Government accused of closing door on children – The Guardian


  • Westminster is no place for this Holocaust memorial – Edward Leigh, Times Red Box

Duddridge puts Bercow under pressure to resign

“Plans to oust John Bercow as Commons Speaker took a step forward last night when a Tory MP publicly demanded to know how the government would react in a vote of no confidence. The move is a blow to the Speaker. In 2009 the mere threat of a vote of no confidence forced the resignation of Michael Martin. James Duddridge wrote to the prime minister asking for ministers, usually bound by collective responsibility, to be given free rein in any vote of no confidence in Mr Bercow. Downing Street has already said that it was a matter for parliament. Ministers confirmed to The Times that they would vote against Mr Bercow in an unwhipped vote.” – The Times (£)


  • Bercow’s lapse of reason reflects the lack of consensus in our politics – Philip Johnston, Daily Telegraph

Aid fraud has soared since Cameron set target

aidgraphic“Fraud allegations involving Britain’s £12 billion aid budget have quadrupled in the five years since David Cameron’s spending target was set, a damning report reveals today. The official watchdog said pledging 0.7 per cent of national income to foreign aid – and targeting ‘fragile’ states – had increased risk of wrongdoing. Some taxpayers’ money may even have ended up in the hands of extremists, the National Audit Office (NAO) warned. Its report found there were 429 fraud investigations in 2015/16, compared with 102 in 2010/11 – the year Mr Cameron came into office and set the 0.7 per cent target.” – Daily Mail


  • How much longer can the aid madness last? – Daily Mail

Trump’s foreign policy creating ‘axil of upheaval’

“When Donald Trump reasserted his “America first” mantra on Inauguration Day, the world was put on notice that the new US president would pursue a very different foreign policy than his recent predecessors in the Oval Office. Yet while some turbulence was expected, the way Mr Trump has treated some of his counterparts since January 20 has left capitals from Tokyo to Berlin perplexed about how to handle a thin-skinned leader who is as willing to antagonise allies as he is to praise Vladimir Putin, the Russian president.” – FT

News in Brief:

  • Dozens evacuated after ‘explosion on Paris Metro’ – Daily Mail
  • British teenagers amongst world’s unhappiest – The Times (£)
  • English A&E record worst performances in 13 years – Daily Telegraph
  • A fifth of self-employed receive taxpayer support – FT
  • Le Pen tops another poll as support for Fillon plummets – Daily Express
  • Hyde Park bombing victims ‘betrayed again’ as they’re denied legal aid – Daily Mail
  • All 228 candidates in next month’s snap Northern Irish election – Belfast Telegraph