The EU27 toughen up the terms of their opening negotiation bid…

BARNIER Michel“The other 27 EU member states took just four minutes to agree a hardline stance on Brexit at a summit meeting in Brussels before Jean-Claude Juncker, the head of the European Commission, and Michel Barnier, the chief European Union Brexit negotiator, rounded on the prime minister. They told EU leaders that May had used a meeting with them on Wednesday night to demand that a “detailed outline” of a future free trade deal be in place before the UK agrees to pay any money to Brussels as part of the Brexit divorce deal. An EU diplomat said: “This was a rather incredible demand. It seemed as if it came from a parallel reality.” – Sunday Times (£)

…But May waves these aside as a negotiating position

“The Prime Minister said requests formally agreed by EU leaders were simply a negotiating position. Mrs May insisted she was sticking to her own demands outlined in a speech earlier this year which included tariff-free trade, ending the jurisdiction of European courts and stopping free movement of migrants. When asked about mounting fears the UK could be “bullied by Brussels” she claimed that voters re-electing her was the best way to secure a good deal.” – Sunday Telegraph

Davis: The talks will be “the most complex the UK has faced in our lifetimes”

“Brexit Secretary Mr Davis said: ‘Both sides are clear – we want these negotiations to be conducted in the spirit of goodwill, sincere cooperation and with the aim of establishing a close partnership between the UK and the EU going forward. But there is no doubt that these negotiations are the most complex the UK has faced in our lifetimes. They will be tough and, at times even confrontational. There are already people in Europe who oppose these aims and people at home trying to undermine them.” – Mail on Sunday

May: Corbyn is weak.  (And she, by implication, is not)

Screen Shot 2017-04-29 at 15.55.53“Interviewed by The Mail on Sunday on Wednesday, she is invited to sum him up in three words. She offers four: ‘Weak, unstable, nonsensical and floundering.’ In the course of a wide-ranging conversation, she:

  • Says she prays regularly for ‘spiritual connection and uplift’ – and not just in church on Sunday.
  • Admits she had grown much less shy since becoming PM: ‘We all change and develop.’
  • Is cool about Margaret Thatcher, saying: ‘I barely knew her.’
  • Reveals she does her Red Box Cabinet papers in the No 10 flat in the evening, ‘listening to Classic FM radio and chatting’ to husband Philip.” – Mail on Sunday

More Conservative election news:

  • ICM poll points to 142 seat Tory majority – Sun on Sunday
  • ORB poll says Tories have overtaken Labour in London – Sunday Telegraph
  • Manifesto 1: Pensions Regulator will have the power to block business takeovers if they are being used to strip pension funds – Mail on Sunday
  • Manifesto 2: Plan for tax breaks for family care – Sunday Express
  • Manifesto 3: Triple lock may be ditched in 2020 in favour of double lock – Sunday Times (£)
  • Manifesto 4: Cabinet Ministers out of loop, Timothy and Gummer in charge – Sunday Telegraph
  • Downing Street denies claim that manifesto would impose capital gains tax on sale of family homes – Mail on Sunday
  • Labour accuses the Prime Minister of hiding away – Observer
  • STREET AndyStreet and Simon battle it out  – Sunday Times (£)
  • A new Britain waits to emerge in Birmingham – Matthew D’Ancona, Sunday Times (£)
  • May rejects Sturgeon’s bid for a second independence referendum – Sunday Express
  • Sturgeon urges Scotland’s voters to send the Prime Minister a message – Scotland on Sunda
  • Conservatives target Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk, East Renfrewshire, Perth and North Perthshire, Aberdeen South, Banff and Buchan, West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, and Moray – Observer
  • Andrew Davies says May makes Welsh voters’ eyes “light up” – Sunday Express
  • Ministers brief against Truss: Heald, Grieve and Wright touted as replacements – Sunday Telegraph
  • Cameron forks out £25,000 for garden shed – Mail on Sunday
  • The energy cap is a cruel joke – Christopher Booker, Sunday Telegraph
  • The Prime Minister must declare her hand – Andrew Rawnsley, Observer
  • She should abolish the Lords – John Rentoul, Independent on Sunday
  • She deserves to win – Mail on Sunday Editorial
  • She seems to be coasting to victory – Sunday Times Editorial (£)

Today: Daniel Downes on Comment: Beware of what you wish for – in this case, an election landslide


Labour promises to ban zero hours contracts

Screen Shot 2017-04-29 at 15.55.24“Labour has pledged to ban all zero-hours contracts, put a halt to unpaid internships and end the pay cap on public sector staff in an unashamedly leftwing pitch to British workers. In a move welcomed by union leaders but that will be attacked as “anti-business” and unaffordable by opponents, the 20-point blueprint also includes commitments to double paid paternity leave to four weeks, increase paternity pay and guarantee temporary and part-time workers the same rights as full-time employees.” – Observer

Tim Shipman: Corbyn isn’t fighting this election so much as Labour’s next leadership contest

“What do Harlow in Essex and Bethnal Green in east London have in common? Not much, but recently they were both unlikely campaign stops for Jeremy Corbyn. Labour officials are bemused that he would drop by a Tory seat with a majority of 8,000, which he’ll never win, and a safe Labour seat with a majority of 24,000, which surely even he cannot lose. But the officials say they are both Corbynista strongholds, and he is already trying to shore up his base for his third leadership contest, instead of fighting to win. Apart from a trip to Scotland, Corbyn has barely left London.” – Sunday Times (£)

  • Labour has to explain to voters why its leader would make a good Prime Minister – John Curtice, Sun on Sunday
  • Corbyn’s cadre awaits a rout – Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times (£)
  • He is being laughed out of town – Dan Hodges, Mail on Sunday
  • I’m a Labour donor, but I will stand against him – Michael Foster, Sunday Times (£)
  • Vote Labour to stop a Tory landslide – John Mann, Sun on Sunday
  • Labour’s class base has broken down – Janet Daley, Sunday Telegraph
  • Blair denies he is urging voters to vote tactically for pro-EU candidates… – Adam Boulton, Sunday Times (£)

…But it is claimed he has spoken to Farron about “a new progressive alliance”

BLAIR Marr May 2016“The former Prime Minister has had talks with the Liberal Democrats about setting up a new force to fight for the centre ground. He has spoken to Lib Dem leader Tim Farron and his predecessor Nick Clegg about the prospect of creating a pro-European group that would appeal both to Lib Dems and disaffected Labour voters. A source close to Blair said: “He wants to save the Labour Party along with his legacy by wading in behind the Lib Dems and forging a new progressive alliance that will fight for the centre ground.” A source close to Farron has confirmed the talks took place.” – Sunday Express

  • Liberal Democrats have not ruled out a Coalition – Sunday Telegrap
  • Cable warns councils against property boom-and-bust – Observer
  • Why I joined the LibDems – Rachel Johnson, Mail on Sunday
  • Who would vote for the them, a party whose name is a lie? – Simon Heffer, Sunday Telegraph

Nuttall to stand in Boston and Skegness

Screen Shot 2017-04-29 at 15.56.48“Paul Nuttall revealed on Saturday that he is to stand for Ukip in the heavily Brexit-supporting constituency of Boston and Skegness in what is widely regarded as his last throw of the dice as party leader. Polls show that support for Ukip is dropping by the week with many voters defecting to the Tories. In an apparent admission that the party is facing a battle for its survival, months after Britain’s vote for Brexit vote took the wind out of its sails, Nuttall insisted Ukip had a “great future” and the question of whether it would match the 4m votes it got in 2015 was irrelevant.” – Observer

> Yesterday: ToryDiary – Electoral pacts will likely do no-one much good

Lawson warns against the silencing of free speech on campus

“Lord Lawson, who led a Conservative campaign for Brexit, said that political correctness is a “great blight of our age”, adding students often have their way because of “totally supine” university authorities. “Safe space” and “no platform” movements have swept across campuses including a campaigns to ban certain speakers who are deemed offensive. Speaking at an event to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the University of Buckingham, the UK’s first private university, he said it is crucial that universities are independent from Government.” – Sunday Telegraph

News in Brief