May’s snap election 1) MPs set to confirm the date

mailcrush“Theresa May’s plan for a snap general election on 8 June is set to be authorised by MPs later. The early poll is expected to secure the two-thirds Commons majority it requires to go ahead, with Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn welcoming the PM’s surprise announcement on Tuesday. …The next general election had been expected in 2020, but the Fixed Term Parliaments Act allows for one to be held earlier if two-thirds of MPs back the move. A motion to this effect will be put before the Commons on Wednesday afternoon. The SNP has signalled its MPs will abstain in the vote, but Labour and the Liberal Democrats have welcomed the early election.” – BBC



May’s snap election 2) ICM poll gives a 21 point Conservative lead

“A Guardian/ICM survey on Tuesday placed the party 21 points ahead of Labour despite a policy blitz by Corbyn’s party. It had the Tories on 46%, compared with 25% for Labour and 11% for the Lib Dems. It also suggested there was support for a snap election, with 55% of respondents backing the idea compared with 15% opposing it. Labour sources pointed out that polls had not been consistent, with one recently placing the Tory lead at just nine points.” – The Guardian

May’s snap election 3) Crosby to play a key role in the Conservative campaign

bluemurder“Sir Lynton Crosby, the architect of David Cameron’s victory, has been appointed by Theresa May to play a leading role in the Conservative’s General Election campaign. The Australian election strategist, nicknamed the “Wizard of Oz”, will help run the Tory campaign from the Conservative Campaign Headquarters in central London. Ministers have privately admitted that the Conservatives will be judged by the size of the majority that they secure and know they cannot afford to be “complacent”.” – Daily Telegraph

  • UKIP will struggle – Asa Bennett Daily Telegraph
  • Never a better times to strike – Trevor Kavanagh The Sun

May’s snap election 4) She rules out TV debates

“Theresa May will not take part in TV debates ahead of the planned general election, a Number 10 source says. Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn accused the PM of “dodging” a head-to-head showdown and the Lib Dems urged broadcasters to “empty chair” her…Live TV debates took place for the first time in a UK general election in 2010, and the experiment was repeated in 2015 using a range of different formats.” – BBC

  • They could go ahead without the PM says Dimbleby – Daily Mail

May’s snap election 5) I can’t back Corbyn, says Woodcock

“One of Jeremy Corbyn’s own MPs last night urged him to quit to avoid a Labour meltdown in the election, saying he could not support him entering No 10. In an extraordinary outburst, John Woodcock, a moderate MP with a wafer-thin majority, said the hard-Left leader was not fit to be prime minister.” – Daily Mail

  • Crushing defeat gives Labour a chance to return to electability – Tom Harris Daily Telegraph

May’s snap election 6) Labour MPs will not face re-selection

guardianmandate“Labour MPs have been told they will be automatically re-selected as candidates in their constituencies for the general election on 8 June. Jeremy Corbyn had hoped to give party members a say in who was chosen, but has accepted there is insufficient time to do that before polling day. However, one Labour MP has told Mr Corbyn there is still time for him to stand down as leader before the vote.” – BBC

  • Blair urges voters to back any candidate who opposes Brexit – Daily Telegraph
  • Labour is fighting to win – Diane Abbott The Guardian

May’s snap election 7) Cable leads the charge for a LibDem revival

“Three Liberal Democrat knights from the Coalition era will make a comeback to try to win back their seats in the snap election. The trio of Remainers – all former Cabinet members – put themselves forward as the party attempts to come back from the political dead. Veterans Sir Vince Cable, Sir Ed Davey and Sir Simon Hughes all lost their seats in 2015 when the party was reduced to just eight MPs.” – Daily Mail

  • The Lib Dems are the only opposition – Tim Farron The Guardian

May’s snap election 8) A chance for Scotland to reject another independence referendum, she writes

scotsmanmay“A vote for the Scottish Conservatives in June will do two things. It will send a clear message of opposition to the SNP’s divisive plans for a second independence referendum, and it will strengthen my hand as I negotiate on behalf of the whole United Kingdom with the EU. In Scotland, only Ruth Davidson and her Scottish Conservative colleagues are able to stand up for our United Kingdom and provide a strong voice against the SNP. And only a strong Conservative Government at Westminster can deliver a Brexit that works for the whole UK.” – Theresa May, The Scotsman

  • Ruth Davidson must lay the ghost of Maggie – Alan Cochrane Daily Telegraph

May’s snap election 9) It’s like a Hitchcock movie says Tusk

“Donald Tusk prompted bemusement on social media after he sent out a tweet comparing the latest twist in the Brexit saga to an Alfred Hitchcock plot line. The EU Council president prompted some mocking and angry replies on Twitter over a missive posted in response to Theresa May’s decision to hold a snap General Election. He wrote that “it was Hitchcock who directed Brexit”, saying that the surprise election announcement following the shock vote to leave was like a movie which there is “first an earthquake, and the tension rises”.” – Daily Express

May’s snap election 10) Aid pledge and pensions triple lock face axe

telegraphbolt“The triple lock guaranteeing pension rises and the pledge to spend at least 0.7 per cent of Britain’s gross national income on overseas aid are leading candidates to be junked as Theresa May frees herself from promises made by her predecessor. David Cameron’s pledge not to raise VAT, national insurance or income tax is another remnant from the Tories’ 2015 manifesto that is unlikely to make it into the 2017 version.” – The Times(£)

  • Manifesto pledge will help secure new grammar schools – Interview with May The Sun
  • A chance to drop mistaken policies says Jacob Rees-Mogg – The Sun

>Today: ToryDiary: Now required. A radical manifesto to prepare Britain for Brexit. Here’s a seven point plan.

May’s snap election 11) Brokenshire – Stormont talks to continue

“The Northern Ireland secretary has said there will be no change in Stormont’s talks process despite the announcement of a snap general election. James Brokenshire also said he will fast-track laws through parliament by early May if a deal can be reached. Theresa May announced a plan to call an election for 8 June. Leaders of the DUP and Sinn Féin welcomed the decision. The announcement came during a pause in talks to restore devolved government in Northern Ireland.” – BBC

  • Landslide “would be terrible for unionists” – The Times(£)

General Election 12) Oborne: this poll gives Britain the chance to put an end to Labour forever

timeslandslide“I believe this will be one of the most important elections in British democratic history because it gives Mrs May the chance to do what every Tory leader since Winston Churchill has yearned to achieve: put an end to the Labour Party once and for all. The brutal fact is that Labour cannot survive as a mass political party after the General Election on June 8…..Back in 1983, in the wake of the Falklands War and facing the strongest peacetime Conservative leader of the 20th century, Labour managed to scramble to 209 Parliamentary seats. With the benefit of hindsight, that feels hugely impressive. I predict that Corbyn’s Labour — which now has 229 seats — will crash well below that figure.” – Peter Oborne, Daily Mail

Other comment

IMF upgrades growth forecast

growth flag“The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has raised its forecasts for the British economy this year for the second time in a row, as the strength of consumer spending continues to feed into stronger growth. The UK economy will expand by two per cent this year, the IMF predicted in its World Economic Outlook. This is 0.5 percentage points higher than the 1.5 per cent growth predicted in January and 0.9 points higher than the GDP growth predicted in October.” – City AM

RBS shares could be sold at a loss admits Hammond

“The chancellor has admitted for the first time that the government is prepared to sell its stake in Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) at a loss. The Treasury bailed out the bank by buying a 72% stake for £45bn, at 502p a share, at the height of the financial crisis in 2008. Shares in the loss-making lender are now trading at less than half that price at 223p. Philip Hammond told MPs on Tuesday: “We have to live in the real world.” – BBC

Britain could join US in future strikes against Assad, says Boris

boris-johnson“Boris Johnson yesterday likened Syrian president Bashar al-Assad to a ‘monster’ that needs ‘decapitating’. The Foreign Secretary also suggested Britain could join the US in future strikes on the Syrian leader’s chemical weapons stockpiles. Although no such decision has been taken, he said it would be ‘very difficult’ for the UK to say no if Washington asked for military support.” – Daily Mail

French Presidential race tightens

“Marine Le Pen was accused of reviving the toxic past of the National Front yesterday after lurching further to the right in an attempt to bolster her flagging presidential campaign….An Opinionway poll for Les Echos, the financial daily newspaper, put her on 22 per cent, down two points since last week and behind Emmanuel Macron, the independent centrist, who was on 23 per cent. François Fillon, the scandal-ridden centre-right candidate, was on 20 per cent and Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the far-left contender, on 19 per cent. Mr Mélenchon is rivalling Ms Le Pen’s claim to be the anti-establishment champion while Mr Fillon is pitching for the conservative Catholic vote. Benoît Hamon, the Socialist Party candidate, was on 8 per cent.” – The Times(£)

News in brief

  • Housing problems cause mental illness says Shelter – BBC
  • Frail Mugabe driven to podium – The Times(£)
  • New Met chief prioritises Tasers – The Guardian
  • Democrats fail to secure first round Georgia win – BBC