Brexit gulf widens between Ten and Eleven Downing Street

“Philip Hammond has said it would be “madness” not to seek “the closest possible arrangement” with the EU in comments that appear to widen the gulf between the Chancellor and Theresa May over Brexit. Mr Hammond, who flew to Hamburg with the Prime Minister for the G20 summit, suggested that leaving the EU was a “political argument” and stressed that the EU “will remain our largest trading partner”. His comments jarred with Downing Street’s outward-looking trade agenda, and come as Mrs May uses the G20 to talk trade with the leaders of the three biggest economies in the world: President Donald Trump, President Xi Jinping of China and President Shinzo Abe of Japan.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Corporate leaders feel the heat in Chevening talks – FT
  • Hammond backs CBI’s Brexit warnings – Daily Mail
  • Free trade deals will be of limited benefit, Chancellor suggests – The Independent
  • Davis rebuffs business over transition deal – FT


  • Treasury’s predictions on Brexit based on false assumptions, says watchdog – Daily Mail
  • Brexit will let us build closer relationship with US military, says Fallon – The Sun
  • Trump tell May trade deal could be done ‘very quickly’ – Daily Express
  • France woos City firms by slashing taxes – The Times (£)


  • Labour’s two-faced Brexit pitch cannot last – Asa Bennett, Daily Telegraph


>Today: Henry Newman in Comment: If the EU can strike a free trade, customs-friendly deal with Japan, why not with Britain too?


May 1) Prime Minister promises ‘bold’ government

“Theresa May has promised to be “bold” as she seeks to claw back authority lost in her election humiliation. Although she ducked a question of whether she would still be in Downing Street in a year’s time, Mrs May struck a defiant tone as she acknowledged the scale of last month’s poll setback. “There’s two ways the government can react to that. We can be very timid and sit back or we can be bold, and that’s what we are going to be.” She dismissed suggestions that she had been traumatised by voters’ rejection of her appeal for a personal mandate, saying: “Well, I’m still prime minister.”” – The Times (£)

  • Report suggests ‘radical’ reform of gig economy – The Times (£)
  • Tories vie for leadership of powerful Treasury committee – The Guardian



  • This Government will fly the rainbow flag for Pride – Justine Greening, Daily Telegraph

>Today: ToryDiary: It’s now past time the Conservatives built a new youth wing

May 2) Philip Collins: How our zombie Premier can revive herself

“The temptation to retreat to the bunker is strong. The public squall of ministers fighting over public sector pay shows they have no fear of No 10. The prime minister is regularly described as a living dead occupant of Downing Street: barely in office, let alone in power. Theresa May now has a choice. Accept her status as a zombie and drift towards oblivion or act as if she had life left in her. Really, it is no choice. She has to fight back and here are some things she can do.” – The Times (£)

  • The tragedy of Theresa May, in five acts – James Kirkup, Daily Telegraph
  • The Prime Minister is getting good at apologies – James Forsyth, The Sun

May 3) Corbyn confronted over abuse of Tory candidates

“Theresa May today called out Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn over the harassment of her candidates on the campaign trail. The Prime Minister said all party leaders should act to stop abuse of rival politicians as reports mounted of Tories subjected to campaigns of abuse. Tory MP Sheryll Murray exposed the campaign against her in South East Cornwall at Prime Minister’s Questions. And since other Tories have revealed signs branded with Nazi swastikas, posers defaced and online harassment.” – Daily Mail

  • Prime Minister vows to ‘stamp out’ bullying – The Sun
  • Vandalism risk no reason to halt Thatcher statue, says May – Daily Telegraph
  • Davidson hits back at SNP over ‘vitriol’ at her being made honorary colonel – Daily Telegraph


  • Scottish Tory leader must move Unionism away from indyref2 – Joyce McMillan, The Scotsman

May 4) Prime Minister uses G20 summit to ‘rebuild authority’

“Theresa May on Friday embarked on her latest attempt to shore up her diminished political authority by seeking a role in brokering deals at the G20 summit in Hamburg. The prime minister raised the problem of China’s excess steel production capacity when she met Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, on Friday. Tensions over cheap Chinese steel imports into the US have loomed over the G20 meeting. Donald Trump is threatening to impose punitive tariffs on all steel imports, risking a US trade war with Europe as well as China. Mrs May will meet Mr Trump on Saturday. Mrs May said she hoped a forum set up at last year’s G20 summit in China would meet soon to deal with the issue. According to a British official, Mr Xi replied that all countries should take “concerted action” to deal with over-production.” – FT

  • May urges leaders to develop technology to prevent ‘lone wolf’ terrorist attacks – The Sun

>Yesterday: Bruce Newsome in Comment: The Government must get real about counter-terrorism strategy

MPs: Fury as DfID goes on hiring spree to help spend burgeoning budget…

“Tory MPs reacted with fury today after it emerged the foreign aid department has drafted in 155 extra staff to help spend the government’s £13 billion budget. The size of the workforce at the Department for International Development has gone up from 2,823 to 2,978 over the past year. The overall pay bill rose by £6 million. The spike in numbers, slipped out in DfID’s annual report, came after aid spending soared by an eye-watering 10 per cent. The budget had to be pushed up massively to keep hitting the target of 0.7 per cent of national income abroad after the UK’s economic performance was revised up.” – Daily Mail

  • Britain will buy disaster insurance for poor nations – The Times (£)

…and risk of ‘diplomatic storm’ over the King of Spain

“Theresa May faces a diplomatic storm next week as her own MPs threaten to walk out of a state address by the Spanish King over Gibraltar, The Sun can reveal. Patriotic Tories last night vowed to stage an unprecedented protest if King Felipe dares raise the Rock in an address to Parliament on Wednesday. If the Spanish monarch raises his country’s discredited claim of ownership, as expected, a walkout could create a major diplomatic embarrassment. Relations between Britain and Spain have already been tense after Gibraltar was put at the heart of Brexit negotiations in April.” – The Sun

Corbyn ally moves to play down fears of deselections

“Labour’s chairman has moved to quash speculation that the left of the party is planning to make it easier to deselect hostile MPs from its Blairite wing. Ian Lavery, a close ally of Jeremy Corbyn, suggested last week that the party was “too broad a church”, while Chris Williamson, the shadow fire minister, said that no MP “should be guaranteed a job for life”. However, Mr Lavery said yesterday that he did not “see deselection as the way forward”. He added that the existing system of so-called trigger ballots — which require MPs to win a simple majority of their local party’s branches in order to stay on — should stay in place.” – The Times (£)

  • Labour’s civil war has kicked off in earnest – Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: The “red tide” of third-party campaigns raises worrying questions about political funding

News in Brief:

  • RSPCA seeks powers to seize animals without a warrant – Daily Telegraph
  • London is a ‘modern-day slavery hot spot’, warns police chief – Daily Mail
  • Russians claim Trump ‘accepts’ they didn’t interfere in the US election – The Times (£)
  • Trump threatened by Republican state governors – FT
  • Over 200 police officers injured in G20 riots in Germany – Daily Mail
  • Tank-chasing law firm suspends employees over Grenfell advert – The Times (£)
  • DUP MP says party’s treatment would not have been tolerated if aimed at Muslims – The Independent
  • Scottish Government accused of meddling with Audit Scotland report – The Scotsman