May 1) Merkel and Macron could ‘kick-start’ Brexit deal

“Theresa May is planning to turn to Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron to resolve the Brexit divorce bill dispute. Amid increasing anger over the EU’s handling of negotiations, the Prime Minister believes she can broker a deal over the payment by going directly to the bloc’s leaders. Tension increased yesterday when European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said it was ‘crystal clear’ trade talks could not begin until the UK caves in and pays the £74 billion exit settlement the EU is said to want.” – Daily Mail

  • Juncker labelled ‘pound-shop Bismarck’ over divorce bill demands… – Daily Telegraph
  • …as he claims UK’s Brexit papers are not ‘satisfactory’ – FT
  • Davis wants legal clarity from the EU on exit bill – The Guardian
  • Talking nation-to-nation – The Times
  • EU chief says bloc won’t shift position ‘one millimetre’ – Daily Express
  • Government warned that transition deal could face legal challenge – Daily Telegraph


  • Conservatives come together to sell a Brexit transition – FT
  • UK to use EU deal template to reassure business – Daily Telegraph
  • How EU negotiators use social media to undermine opponents – The Sun


  • EU leaders won’t get more money from Britain by sulking – Asa Bennett, Daily Telegraph
  • Britain can unlock the talks by settling the Brexit bill – Lord Falconer, Times Red Box
  • Corbyn now better placed to divide the Tories at Westminster – James Blitz, FT
  • The Opposition must be bolder on Brexit – Seb Dance, The Guardian
  • Labour’s Brexit turns out not to mean Brexit – Stephen Pollard, Daily Express


  • Who do these arrogant apparatchiks think they are? – Daily Telegraph
  • Juncker epitomises why Britain voted Leave – The Sun
  • Britain’s global ambitions remain tied to Brussels – FT


May 2) Prime Minister seeks trade agreement in Japan

“Britain faces missing out on a £3.6 billion trade boost unless Theresa May can persuade Japan to strike a post-Brexit deal at least as good as a new EU agreement. The prime minister arrives in Kyoto today at the start of a three-day visit amid signs of panic among businesses about the progress of negotiations to leave the EU. Her decision to make Japan her first foreign visit outside Europe reflects its importance as a trading partner. Before she left last night Mrs May ladled praise on a “like-minded nation with a shared belief in free trade and a rules-based international system”.” – The Times

  • Pound falls almost to parity with the Euro amidst Pacific crisis – Daily Telegraph
  • May urged to ‘come clean’ over claims of special deal for Nissan – The Sun
  • Open Britain claim UK-US trade could be derailed by lost deals – Daily Express


  • Japan does ever more business with Britain and that will continue – James Cleverly, Daily Telegraph
  • May can draw Britain and Japan closer together – Michael Auslin, Daily Telegraph
  • Careful what you wish for in cheering sterling’s slump – Jeremy Warner, Daily Telegraph

May 3) Government won’t rule out military or cyber-warfare response to North Korea

“Theresa May has refused to rule out using cyber warfare or even taking part in military action against North Korea if it does not stop firing missiles in “illegal” acts of provocation. Mrs May arrived in Japan on Wednesday morning in the midst of an escalating crisis over Pyongyang’s latest missile launch, and will have lengthy discussions with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe about what can be done. She arrived with a message for China’s President Xi Jinping, telling him in no uncertain terms that it is his responsibility to rein in Kim Jong-un.” – Daily Telegraph

  • May condemns North Korean missile test – The Times
  • Britain to push for further sanctions against Pyongyang – The Independent


  • The Prime Minister is right: North Korea is our problem too – Con Coughlin, Daily Telegraph


  • Japan reminds us that defence is essential to prosperity – The Times
  • World is running out of non-military responses to North Korea – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Gerard Miles in Comment: Hong Kong is a battleground between tyranny and the rule of law. Conservatives must pick a side.

May 4) Ex-deputy chief whip is new adviser

“Theresa May has recruited another former heavyweight MP as a senior No10 advisor to bolster her fight against Parliament. Ex-deputy chief whip Sir John Randall has been hired by the PM to be her new special adviser on the environment, The Sun can reveal. The surprise move came after the 62 year-old grandee stepped down from the Commons in 2015 after 18 years of distinguished service. He is the fourth former MP to join the government since the disastrous General Election in June. Mrs May is preparing for major showdowns in the Commons this Autumn having thrown away her majority. Highly respected Sir John’s knowledge and guile is seen as a major boost to the PM’s chances of talking round rebels and out-manoeuvring Labour.” – The Sun

  • Deportation scheme ‘a failure’, claims report – The Times

Jeremy Hunt and Greg Clark: Life-saving breakthroughs don’t happen in Britain by accident

“Few countries can match our roll call of achievement, from the discovery of antibiotics in the 1940s, to life-saving vaccination programmes in the 1950s and 60s, through to pioneering hip and knee replacement surgeries and IVF treatments in the 1970s and 80s. More recently, Britain again is laying the foundations for the new age of personalised medicine, with world-leading programmes like the 100,000 Genome project, helping us to understand the genetic basis of cancers and rare disease – a fitting legacy for a nation that first discovered DNA. Yet these achievements are not a matter of chance, nor are they solely the product of isolated genius. Rather they reflect the outstanding environment we have built, over many decades, to enable and translate cutting edge research, from conceptual design into clinical practice.” – Times Red Box

  • Life sciences report calls for more high-risk research – FT
  • Private firms make £831 million from NHS contracts – The Times


  • PFI is bankrupting Britain, but we can set ourselves free – Stella Creasy MP, The Guardian

MPs 1) Benyon urges Ulster veterans not to respond to MoD call for witnesses

“A former Tory minister has called on Ulster vets to defy the law and refuse to cooperate with new “witch hunt” probes into Army killings. The MoD has sent out fresh letters to thousands of ex-soldiers asking them to be witnesses to shootings during the Troubles. Some date back more than 40 years ago, and critics say they are traumatising ex-troops now in their 70s and 80s. As fury deepens about the new investigations, senior Tory MP Richard Benyon took the row to a new level to urge the defiance… The spiralling revolt poses a serious challenge for Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon, as he is forced to side with Ulster law officials or former British soldiers.” – The Sun

  • Rees-Mogg and Stride back Labour proposal on school meals – The Guardian

MPs 2) Duncan Smith warns against cutting funds for marriage counselling

“Ministers have been accused of failing to grasp the importance of marriage counselling as it was claimed a £70 million cash pledge is under threat. Former work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith said the Government is planning to axe a promise to use the money to boost relationship services. He accused ‘opinion formers’ of failing to understand or care about the need to reduce the scale of family breakdown, which is estimated to cost the country almost £50 billion a year. The cash for relationship support, which goes to the counselling group Relate and other organisations that help troubled couples stay together, was agreed by David Cameron in 2010 as part of a campaign to try to reduce family breakdown and encourage marriage.” – Daily Mail

  • Former leader signals first Budget rebellion over cuts – The Independent

>Yesterday: Iain Duncan Smith’s column: The Government is reviewing relationship counselling funding. Cuts would be a grave mistake.

‘Tory Momentum’ ridiculed over £500 fee

“A right-wing movement designed to provide the Conservatives with their own version of Labour’s Momentum endured a shaky start to life yesterday after it was roundly ridiculed online and disowned by the party. Activate, a campaign group chaired by a Tory activist and set up to “engage young people with Conservatism”, was launched late on Monday night, offering membership to Conservatives at a cost of up to £500 each. Its website, which included a constitution and online shop with no products on sale, went live yesterday but had already been promoted by Middle Class Memes for Rees-Moggian Teens, a right-wing Facebook page with 40,000 likes, more than a fortnight ago.” – The Times

Dugdale quits as Scottish Labour leader

“Kezia Dugdale has quit as the leader of the Scottish Labour party saying it is time to ‘pass the baton’ to someone else. The 36-year-old politician -who recently revealed she is dating SNP parliamentarian Jenny Gilruth – had faced heavy criticism from the left wing of her own party after attacking UK leader Jeremy Corbyn. She fell foul of his supporters after giving her backing to leadership challenger Owen Smith in last summer’s contest – accusing the firebrand socialist of speaking ‘only to the converted’. A senior source is said to have revealed today to Buzzfeed that Ms Dugdale was ‘hounded out by JC’s mob’.” – Daily Mail

  • Outgoing leader denies Corbynite coup – Daily Telegraph
  • Corbynista MP’s ‘daft’ call to cut MPs out of Labour leadership vote – The Times


  • Labour isn’t just the Opposition but a government in waiting – Andrew Gwynne MP, Times Red Box
  • The chaos at Waterloo is nothing compared to what Corbyn would do to the railways – Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph

News in Brief:

  • Police call for Notting Hill Carnival to be banned after 31 officers attacked – Daily Mail
  • Thousands of Twitter users ‘deceived by Russian agent’ – The Times
  • Teachers shift blame to exam boards in row over cheating – Daily Telegraph
  • Texas faces more flooding – FT
  • Judge demands urgent investigation into placing of Christian girl with Muslim family – Daily Mail