EU believe May wants a larger majority so she can make ‘politically toxic’ concessions

EU Brexit“European Union leaders sense that Theresa May will surrender to their divorce demands rather than walk away in a “no deal” scenario leading to a disorderly Brexit. EU officials and diplomats have received private assurances and noted that the prime minister has dropped a pledge, made in January, that “no deal is better than a bad deal for Britain”. Her decision to hold a general election has been interpreted by the EU as a recognition that she will need to bolster her parliamentary majority and secure her government until 2022 in preparation for a politically toxic Brexit deal.” – The Times (£)

  • Leaders still insist that UK pay its ‘Brexit bill’ – The Guardian
  • Varoufakis: May should avoid negotiating at all costs – Daily Telegraph
  • UK wiped off EU map two years early – The Times (£)
  • Labour demands Brussels drop bid to give Spain veto on Gibraltar – The Sun


More Europe:

Charles Moore: Tories must promise a bonfire of energy regulations to keep prices down

“The issue of energy and the environment ought to be perfect territory for her. London, where the “metropolitan” elites are, by definition, centred, is one of the warmest parts of the United Kingdom. The further out of it – especially north – you go, the colder it gets, the more you need a car, and the higher the energy element in household and commercial bills. Anyone in Mrs May’s “just about managing” category vividly recognises this… The impact assessments of the Climate Change Act predicted ever-increasing price rises of oil and gas, making renewables look good. The opposite has happened: oil and gas prices have almost halved since 2014, yet our bills keep going up. Today’s high energy bills are the result of government policy much more than of wholesale prices or producer scams.” – Daily Telegraph

  • The populist revolt is paused, not retreating – Charles Krauthammer, Daily Telegraph

Hammond presses for more flexible tax pledge

tax“Philip Hammond is drawing up plans for a new Tory tax pledge that would guarantee the overall tax burden on ‘working people’ is cut as the economy grows. The Chancellor is urging Theresa May to use the Conservatives’ manifesto to ditch David Cameron’s controversial ‘tax lock’, which guarantees no increases in income tax, National Insurance or VAT, arguing it leaves too little ‘flexibility’ to manage the economy. In its place, he is looking to make a broader pledge that would see ‘the burden of taxation on working people falling’ as the economy grows.” – Daily Mail

  • Triple lock traps May between pensions and the polls – FT

More public finances:

  • UK ministers delay response on the state pension age – FT
  • Military fighting ‘£20 billion cash crisis’ – The Times (£)

More policy:

  • May ‘refuses to give Cabinet final say’ on manifesto – The Sun
  • Prime Minister urged to crack down on reticent housebuilders – The Sun
  • ‘Big Six’ energy firms back plans for price controls – The Sun


  • I’m fed up with being a cash cow for the energy giants: May should cap them – Stephen Glover, Daily Mail


Tories drop party name in the North to capitalise on the Prime Minister

The Conservatives appear to have dropped the party’s name in the north of England in a bid to capitalise on Theresa May’s soaring personal popularity ratings. The Prime Minister went to Leeds on Thursday evening for a rally in a seat held at the last election by Labour MP Richard Burgon with a 12,533 majority. At the event Mrs May spoke in front of a huge sign saying “Theresa May: Strong, Stable Leadership In The National Interest”. The crowd, comprising mostly activists, held up signs saying “Theresa May Strong, Stable Leadership” with the word “Conservatives” in very small writing. In contrast, at a campaigning event in Dudley five days earlier, Mrs May stood in front of large Conservative signs with no mention of her name.” – Daily Telegraph

  • May’s contempt for voters may backfire in the end – Marina Hyde, The Guardian
  • Boris and all the Tory chancers are busted – Janice Turner, The Times (£)

May holds the line against Sturgeon’s referendum demands

Britain shield“Theresa May yesterday reiterated that she won’t allow a second Scottish referendum – even if the nationalists win a majority. She said she will block any attempt to hold a vote on breaking up Britain unless there is clear evidence the Scottish people want one. And she rejected Nicola Sturgeon’s claim that the Government’s position will ‘crumble’ if the SNP wins the most seats in Scotland in the General Election. Her comments came as a poll showed most Scots do not want another referendum and 55 per cent would still back No if there was a rerun of the 2014 vote.” – Daily Mail

  • Prime Minister urges Scots to back her on Brexit – Daily Express
  • UK Government rejects First Minister’s Brexit plan – The Scotsman
  • Sturgeon makes another single market plea – Daily Express
  • SNP MPs get boost from Miller’s anti-Brexit fund – The Scotsman

More home nations:

  • Sinn Fein faces uphill battle to woo pro-EU unionists – FT


  • Wales braces to turn blue as the principality turns its back on history – Bronwen Maddox, FT
  • Tories’ stumbling start gives Labour hope of avoiding humiliation – Jimmy Leach, Times Red Box

Hollobone secures deal with UKIP in defiance of the leadership

“A Tory MP has taken the unprecedented step of signing an election pact with the UK Independence Party after saying he agrees with the party on Brexit, HS2, axing foreign aid targets and a burka ban. Under the terms of the deal Ukip has agreed that it will not oppose Philip Hollobone, the Conservative MP for Kettering who enjoyed a 12,590 majority at the last general election. In exchange Mr Hollobone will meet with Ukip members “every three months or when mutually agreed to discuss the progress of Brexit and provide a forum for questions, answers and feedback relating to Brexit”.” – Daily Telegraph

  • UKIP steps aside to thwart Lib Dems’ South West revival – FT

More MPs:

  • Iraq veteran short-listed for safe Conservative seat – The Sun
  • Turner standing down as MP over homosexuality comments – Daily Telegraph


  • Populist rebels without a cause – FT



Burnham warns that Labour face heavy local election losses

Labour holes“Labour must reconnect in the north or face “serious consequences”, Andy Burnham has said, with the party forecast to lose more than 100 seats in next week’s council elections. The Greater Manchester mayoral candidate said there was “too much Hampstead and not enough Hull” in today’s Labour Party. Speaking to The Times before the elections on Thursday for six newly created “metro mayors”, as well as 4,851 council seats, he justifies his failure to include Jeremy Corbyn in his election material by suggesting that Labour in the north needs to “break away” from the national party.” – The Times (£)

  • Nearly half of all Labour voters set to desert the party – Daily Telegraph
  • Opposition brace for worst-case scenario: 110 MPs – The Sun
  • Fruitless search for Labour die-hards in former stronghold – The Times (£)


  • Outgoing MP slams Corbyn for not understanding ‘normal voters’ – The Sun
  • Leader to use election to promote ‘warmer’ leadership style – The Guardian
  • Corbyn linked to tank-chasing lawyer – The Sun
  • May accused of hiding from the public – The Guardian

More Labour:

  • Corbyn allies sold spoof leaflet calling soldiers ‘professional murderers’ – Daily Mail


  • Personal attacks on Corbyn will backfire with the young – Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff, The Guardian

>Yesterday: Andy Street in Comment: Next Thursday, we can make history here in the West Midlands. This is your chance to be part of it.

Farron accuses May of fuelling ‘hate crime’

“Tim Farron has accused Theresa May of peddling “poisonous propaganda” about immigrants that leads directly to hate crimes, as he condemned the Prime Minister’s focus on limiting the number of people entering Britain from overseas. In an exclusive interview with The Independent, the leader of the Liberal Democrats said Ms May was “playing the immigration card” at the general election by sticking to her target to reduce migration despite opposition even from several of her ministers. Mr Farron has endorsed the Drop the Target campaign by The Independent and the Open Britain group against the Government’s goal to reduce net migration below 100,000 a year.” – The Independent

  • Lib Dem MP thinks he can hold Leave-voting seat – Daily Express
  • Wells: the seat which will show us how real the Lib Dem revival truly is – John Rentoul, The Independent

News in Brief:

  • Two London terror plots smashed in one day – Daily Mail
  • North Korea tests missile as US calls for sanctions – FT
  • Thugs storm the Macedonian parliament – The Times (£)
  • Filipino troops kill notorious kidnapper in clash – Daily Telegraph
  • Brazilian general strike turns ugly as workers clash with riot police – Daily Mail