Election 1) May: Brussels is about to find out what it’s like to deal with a ‘bloody difficult woman’

Arm Wrestling‘Theresa May lashed back at Jean-Claude Juncker tonight after poisonous briefings claiming she is clueless about Brexit negotiation. The PM insisted the EU chief is finding out she is a ‘bloody difficult woman’ amid signs that relations with Brussels are plunging to new lows. A bitter row has erupted after a detailed account of a dinner between Mrs May and Mr Juncker was leaked to a German newspaper. Dismissing the briefing as ‘Brussels gossip’ tonight, Mrs May – who has spent the day campaigning in the West Country – highlighted Tory grandee Ken Clarke’s grudging praise of her as a ‘bloody difficult woman’. ‘I think what we’ve seen recently is that at times these negotiations are going to be tough,’ she told the BBC.’ – Daily Mail


>Today: Alex Morton’s column: May should pitch away from Liberal Democrat voters – and towards Labour and UKIP ones.

Election 2) Wallace: The Juncker leak wasn’t about us, it was about an internal EU battle

‘The dogmatists in Brussels started off in charge of the EU position. After all, it’s their full time job. But, as time goes by and practicalities are considered, they find themselves at risk of being reined in by more pragmatic voices in the national capitals, who have taken longer to organise themselves – not least because they have other things to occupy their time. It’s no great surprise, then, that Juncker, dogmatist in chief, is now leaking stories that paint himself as simply a reasonable guy, trying to be practical in the face of outrageous demands from London. He appears to be trying to reassure a German audience that he isn’t putting the ideology of Eurofederalism ahead of the real life interests of the EU’s residents – even though this has always been the EU project’s nature, as the unemployed 23.5 per cent of Greeks can attest.’ – Mark Wallace, The i paper

>Yesterday: Matthew Elliott on Comment: Leavers? Remainers? Forget it. Most of us are Brexiteers now.

Election 3) The EU ups its ‘Brexit bill’ demand to €100 billion

Euro meltdown‘The EU has raised its opening demand for Britain’s Brexit bill to an upfront gross payment of up to €100bn, according to Financial Times analysis of new stricter demands driven by France and Germany. Following direct requests from several member states, EU negotiators have revised their initial calculations to maximise the liabilities Britain is asked to cover, including post-Brexit farm payments and EU administration fees in 2019 and 2020. Although over coming decades Britain’s net bill would be lower than the €100bn upfront settlement, the more stringent approach to Britain’s outstanding obligations significantly increases the estimated €60bn charge mentioned by Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission president.’ – FT

Election 4) Rudd: Police budgets will be protected

‘Theresa May will vow to ringfence the £12 billion police budget for the next five years, Home Secretary Amber Rudd signalled yesterday. Responding to Labour’s pledge to hire an extra 10,000 bobbies on the beat, Ms Rudd insisted that voters should be in “no doubt” a Conservative government would always put security first. And she said: “What we’ve seen in recent years particularly is a protected police budget.”’ – The Sun

>Yesterday: James Frayne’s column: What are main vulnerabilities in this election for the Conservatives?

Election 5) Scottish Tories plan an Ed Balls moment for the SNP’s Robertson

Ruth Davidson‘Scots Tory boss Ruth Davidson claimed knocking out the SNP’s Westminster leader from his Moray seat would be Scotland’s “Ed Balls moment”. It came as Ms Davidson declared her party was in a “titanic battle” to oust Angus Robertson from his North East seat with the party’s chances of defeating him “close to 50 per cent”. The former shadow Chancellor – who has now moved on to become a Strictly star – was one of the biggest Labour scalps to fall in the General Election two years ago. Now the resurgent Scottish Tories believe they have the momentum do the same thing again in Angus Robertson’s Moray seat – held by the SNP for 30 years . Ms Davidson declared today: “Should Angus Robertson’s seat fall, it’s a real Ed Balls moment for Scotland.”’ – The Sun

  • Davidson eyes a blue comeback – FT
  • Scottish Labour describes itself as a ‘protest vote’ – FT


Election 6) Conservatives pledge to compensate diesel drivers

‘Diesel drivers will receive compensation to encourage them to scrap or “retrofit” highly polluting vehicles under Conservative plans to reduce emissions to be unveiled later this week. The Government will on Friday publish its new air quality strategy which will include plans for a “targeted” diesel scrappage scheme, The Telegraph has learned. Ministers will also consult on plans to give people help with “retrofitting” older, more polluting diesel vehicles to reduce the levels of harmful nitrogen dioxide that they emit. The Conservatives will warn local authorities against imposing pollution taxes on motorists amid concerns that doing so would “punish” motorists and become an election issue.’ – Daily Telegraph

  • Cross-party committee suggests banned drivers should resit their test – The Times (£)
  • The Government will publish its air pollution strategy next week – The Guardian

Election 7) Abbott’s police car crash

LABOUR dead rose‘Theresa May tonight tore into Diane Abbott for now knowing how much it costs to implement her party’s promise to recruit more police – saying it shows the Corbyn ally is unfit to serve in government. Mrs Abbott was humiliated today after a car-crash interview in which she said it would cost just £300,000 to pay for an extra 10,000 police officers. She later upper this to £80million, but this would still fall far short and only give each policeman an annual salary of £8,000. The policy is actually costed at £300m a year by 2021/22. The Prime Minister said the blunder was no laughing matter and shows the chaos that lies ahead if Jeremy Corbyn is elected PM on June 8.’ – Daily Mail

Election 8) Corbyn fends off demands that he step down after the local elections

‘Labour candidates are being warned off mounting an effort to oust Jeremy Corbyn after tomorrow’s local elections, however badly the party performs. Activists are being summoned to help to defend even once rock-solid local authority strongholds such as Doncaster in a sign of Labour fears that it will sustain heavy losses. With one respected analyst suggesting that the party is on course to lose 125 council seats, a worse defeat is certain to trigger fresh questions about Mr Corbyn’s leadership. Members of Labour’s parliamentary committee last week discussed begging Mr Corbyn to stand down if the local election results pointed to a wipeout in the general election, according to one present…Nick Brown, the chief whip, and John Cryer, parliamentary Labour Party chairman, are understood to be strongly discouraging the move and allies of Tom Watson, the deputy leader, insist he is unaware of the discussions.’ – The Times (£)

>Today: ToryDiary: Our survey. A record 96 per cent of Party members predict a Conservative majority.

Macron tries to woo French MPs

French flag‘Emmanuel Macron wooed defectors from the wreckage of France’s mainstream parties yesterday as he looked to be on track to become the country’s next leader. With polls setting him up for a comfortable win over Marine Le Pen, the far-right candidate, he is already looking ahead to the parliamentary elections next month that will shape his term of office. The independent centrist wants to build a majority — without which he would be a lame-duck president — by luring MPs from the ruling Socialists and the opposition Republicans. Senior members of both mainstream parties admitted yesterday that they were on the brink of extinction.’ – The Times (£)

  • If he reaches out, he will win big – The Guardian Leader
  • Le Pen’s policy on the Euro gets confused – The Times (£)
  • How their policies compare – FT
  • Let’s be honest, Macron’s love story is a bit weird – Sarah Vine, Daily Mail
  • Russia and the US talk Syria – The Times (£)
  • Putin says he never interferes in other countries – The Sun

Energy committee warns power supply is at risk

‘The future of Britain’s power supply has been jeopardised by Brexit and the government must act urgently to ensure nuclear power stations stay open, MPs have warned. The influential Commons business, energy and industrial strategy committee said that any gap between the UK leaving a European atomic power treaty and entering into secure alternative deals would “severely inhibit nuclear trade and research and threaten power supplies”. The cross-party group of MPs said it shared the nuclear industry’s concern that it would take more than two years to hammer out a new deal for regulating nuclear power stations and trade. It urged the government to delay exit from the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) or set up transitional arrangements.’ – The Guardian

News in Brief

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