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Brexit 1) Green ‘takes charge of growing empire’

“Damian Green now sits on all but two of Theresa May’s cabinet committees, a sign of the increased influence of the prime minister’s oldest political friend. Mr Green, who as first secretary of state is effectively the deputy prime minister, sits on 18 of the cabinet’s 20 committees, subcommittees and implementation taskforces, and is chairman of eight. He is a committed Europhile – having sat on the board of Britain Stronger in Europe, the official campaign during the referendum – and now sits on every cabinet committee and subcommittee concerned with Brexit. He is chairman of two of them, allowing him to make decisions about the withdrawal negotiations in Brussels.” – The Times (£)

  • May pledges no ‘cliff edge’ for business – FT
  • EU ‘rules out’ deal if UK ‘rips up’ workers’ rights – The Independent

>Today: ToryDiary: Damian Green, now the most powerful man in the Government

Brexit 2) Cabinet ‘signs up to soft landing’ on EU migration

“The Cabinet has agreed to pursue a ‘soft-landing’ transition from the EU that could see free movement continue in all but name until 2022. A senior government source told the Daily Mail that Remainers had declared victory in their battle for a lengthy transition period, despite fears it will slow the process of taking back control of Britain’s borders. The source claimed leading Brexiteers such as Liam Fox, Boris Johnson and Michael Gove have now signed up to the idea of a substantial ‘implementation phase’ after the UK leaves in 2019, in order to give business and government time to adjust to departure from the EU.” – Daily Mail

  • Fox ‘deepens Cabinet rift’ and says UK can ‘survive’ with no deal – The Sun
  • Davis receives £15,000 from pro-Remain donor – The Times (£)
  • Britons risk losing free healthcare in Europe… – Daily Express
  • …and the right to live in another country – The Guardian

Comment:

  • Ignore the cries of doom, Britain will get an exit deal – Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph

>Today: Brandon Lewis in Comment: Our plans to secure our borders while welcoming skilled migrants

Brexit 3) UK accuses Brussels of ‘judicial imperialism’

“Britain has accused the European Union of judicial imperialism by demanding that the European Court of Justice enforce the rights of its citizens living in the UK after Brexit. Senior government officials said that it was “unprecedented” for another country or bloc like the EU to demand that its court be allowed to overrule judgments made in Britain. They said that agreeing to the EU’s demand would effectively give EU citizens living in the UK additional rights that British people would not enjoy. However, there was little sign yesterday that the EU was prepared to back down. Michel Barnier, the commission’s chief negotiator, described it as a “fundamental” disagreement.” – The Times (£)

  • Europe demands Britain drops demand for criminal checks on EU nationals – The Times (£)
  • Article 50 author blasts Barnier for ‘unrealistic’ demands – Daily Express

Editorial:

  • London must not concede to Brussels on legal jurisdiction – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: James Arnell in Comment: In Europe, negotiation is a turbulent sport – we only need to worry if the Brexit talks go smoothly

Brexit 4) Gove tells farmers post-Brexit subsidies will depend on environmental impact

“Michael Gove will today put farmers on notice that big subsidies will only continue after Brexit if they benefit the environment. The new Environment Secretary will warn that farms will have to compete against other “public goods” for taxpayers’ cash after we have left the EU. Lifeblood subsidies from Britain’s agriculture have been guaranteed until 2022, but Mr Gove will hint that he plans to redesign the system after that. In his first major speech as Environment Secretary, the arch-Brexiteer will say leaving the EU is “historic opportunity” to rip up reams of EU red tape and set our own “gold standard” in “clean, green growth.”” – The Sun

Brexit 5) Fraser Nelson: The Government is losing Brexit on spin, but winning on substance

“We have a newly competitive currency, fuelling demand for our goods and helping employment to an all-time high. There’s even a consensus about what Brexit should look like: a clean break with the EU, untying our hands to strike new alliances. The journey is bumpy, but the direction is clear. So it’s hard to portray Brexit as being an unmitigated disaster. But a great many people are doing a rather good job of it. Their mistake is to look at the state of the Government and assume that the Brexit project is in the same dilapidated condition. Negotiations with the EU, which finished their second stage yesterday, were always going to be tortuous.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Barnier is wrong to think the clock ticks only for Britain – Aarti Shanker, Daily Telegraph
  • ‘Punk diplomacy’ risks anarchy in the UK – Richard G Whitman, Times Red Box
  • The EU may not take Brexit seriously, but petty point-scoring remains – Asa Bennett, Daily Telegraph
  • Why the moaning? If anything can halt the fat cats, its Brexit – Larry Elliott, The Guardian
  • The challenge is not to stop Brexit, but to shape it – Brian Wilson, The Scotsman

>Yesterday: Majority: Leaving the EU offers an opportunity to reduce energy bills

Johnson pursues more rights for students

“Universities face the prospect of being sued if they fail to make the grade and renege on contracts they offer to their students, under government plans to reform the higher education sector. Universities and other higher education institutions will be expected to offer value-for-money contracts setting out what undergraduates should expect in terms of lecture time, assessment and feedback, if a consultation is approved. Jo Johnson, the universities minister, said that he would ask the recently created Office for Students (OfS) to consult on introducing the contracts to give students more consumer rights and protection over the education they are paying for.” – The Times (£)

  • Corbyn’s student loan albatross – Jo Johnson, Times Red Box

>Yesterday: Barry Lewis in Local Government: To win young voters, we must make the case for wealth creation and entrepreneurship

Tom Newton-Dunn: Why the next Prime Minister is likely somebody you’ve never heard of

“Its is now very clear to me that the parliamentary Conservative Party is crying out to be shown the new Chosen One. A modern day Lancelot to lead them from today’s smouldering ruins to the promised land of a comfortable parliamentary majority. Conversely, the powerful reaction also revealed nobody has hope any more in the current crop of contenders on offer – Boris, DD, Philip Hammond, Amber Rudd etc. They were all the future once, not any more. Here’s how the new generation’s thinking goes: today’s top tier of clashing egos have conspired to thoroughly screw it all up. So, keep Theresa where she is for two years, let her suck up all the toxicity of Brexit, and then move her on – along with much of today’s greying Cabinet for one of them to take over.” – The Sun

>Today: Iain Dale’s column: A Cabinet Minister asks “how long before we can topple her?” With May standing only three feet away.

Police chiefs warn against falling numbers as crime rises

“Police chiefs have seized on figures showing officer numbers had fallen to their lowest level in 30 years – despite officials admitting the records were not ‘directly comparable’. New figures showed there were 123,142 officers across all ranks in England and Wales at the end of March. This was a fall of 924 – or 0.7 per cent – on the previous year. The release led to grumbles from senior officers that their forces are stretched, even though police strength is still higher than when Tony Blair came to power in 1997.” – Daily Mail

  • Crime hits highest level in a decade – The Times (£)
  • Government ‘dumps’ controversial report so MPs can’t scrutinise it – The Guardian

Comment and Analysis:

  • The police tell us they are struggling, and we are listening – Nick Hurd, Times Red Box
  • Numbers spell deep trouble for May – Alan Travis, The Guardian
  • Tories’ record on crime is abysmal – Daine Abbott, Times Red Box

Editorial:

  • Rudd must face down May and restore stop and search – The Times (£)

>Yesterday: Rory Geoghegan in Think Tanks: The Justice Secretary can do one very simple thing to make tagging smarter

Opposition frontbenchers ‘bankrolled’ by the unions

“Labour frontbenchers were bankrolled by the country’s most militant union, parliamentary records show. Eight members of the Shadow Cabinet received donations of thousands of pounds from the RMT rail union around the time of the general election. They include Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott and shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald. Another six backbench MPs were given money by the hard-Left union.” – Daily Mail

  • How 52 former ministers landed plum private jobs last year – Daily Mail

More Labour:

  • Corbyn may means-test the state pension – Daily Express
  • Labour leader plans Scottish rallies to build on election gains – The Scotsman

Cable pledges to restore Liberal Democrats’ ‘credibility’

“Sir Vince Cable vowed to restore the Liberal Democrats as a “credible, effective party of national government” and suggested they could join a wider Macron-style centrist movement as he became leader by default yesterday. The former business secretary, 74, was the only one of the party’s 12 MPs to have declared his candidacy before nominations closed at 4pm yesterday. The race to succeed Tim Farron, who stood down when the party failed to meet expectations in the general election, became a coronation after Jo Swinson and Sir Ed Davey declined to run.” – The Times (£)

  • Tieless peer leads ‘quiet revolution’ in the upper house – Daily Telegraph

Comment:

  • Looking like losers can help the Lib Dems – Philip Collins, The Times (£)

Editorial:

Female presenters may sue the BBC over pay

“At least ten female BBC presenters are considering taking legal action against the Corporation over its gender pay gap. News of the planned lawsuit emerged last night as panicked BBC bosses were desperately scrambling to stop rival broadcasters poaching Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis. On Wednesday the BBC was forced to declare that only a third of its 96 top earners were women – and the top seven were all men. The female presenters, led by Woman’s Hour host Jane Garvey, were left furious by the revelations and have been contacting each other to work out the best way to force the BBC to close the pay gap.” – Daily Mail

  • Lawyers warn BBC against cutting male pay – The Times (£)
  • More than 100 Corporation managers on ‘rich list’ – Daily Mail

Comment:

  • The licence fee is strangling the BBC – Allister Heath, Daily Telegraph

Editorial:

  • BBC’s gender pay divide should spark national debate – The Times (£)
  • Women are right to be angry at earnings gap – FT

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: For all its blunders, faults and bias, the BBC is a price worth paying to help build a civilised society

News in Brief:

  • Baroness to make history as UK’s first female top judge – The Times (£)
  • Powerful earthquake hits the Mediterranean – Daily Mail
  • Government ditches rail electrification plans – Daily Telegraph
  • Thousands protest against Polish judiciary bill – FT
  • Hyde Park bombing victims remembered – The Sun

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