Windrush 1) Home Secretary accused of delaying new immigration policy

“Amber Rudd is at the centre of a new cabinet row over delays to Britain’s post-Brexit immigration policy. The home secretary is being pressed by Brexit-supporting ministers to speed up a bill that is supposed to settle the new immigration system after Britain leaves the EU in March next year. The dispute comes as the Windrush scandal exposes a faultline between Theresa May and those, including Ms Rudd, who want a softer policy on immigration. Ms Rudd said last month that the immigration bill would not be introduced until early next year — the latest in a series of delays. She also declined to confirm that she was aiming to hit the Tories’ target of reducing annual net migration to beneath 100,000 by the time of the 2022 election. The immigration bill must finalise key issues such as the access that EU citizens will have to Britain’s labour market and whether they will have preferential treatment as visitors. Ms Rudd has said that she will not publish her plans until an official study, due this autumn, on the economic impact.” – The Times

  • Plans will be published “in the coming months” says Downing Street – BBC
  • Leaked memo that promised a crackdown – The Sun

Windrush 2) Compensation agreed for Windrush generation

“Theresa May has confirmed that members of the Windrush generation who have been treated unfairly by the Home Office will be compensated. The BBC understands the compensation will be for financial losses incurred. More details on the plans are expected to be published within the next week. The government has apologised after some children of Caribbean migrants who settled in the UK before the 1970s had been declared illegal immigrants and threatened with deportation.” – BBC

  • PM will do “whatever it takes” to resolve anxieties – The Guardian

Windrush 3) Alan Johnson admits decision to destroy the cards was made in 2009

“The decision to destroy the landing cards for Windrush migrants was taken under Labour, former home secretary Alan Johnson has said. Asked if he knew about the 2009 decision, he told the BBC: “No, it was an administrative decision taken by the UK Border Agency.” The cards were then destroyed in 2010, when Theresa May was home secretary. Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn and Mrs May clashed over the issue at prime minister’s questions.” – BBC

Windrush 4) Rudd must go says Oborne

“Brexit will allow this country to regain control of our borders and immigration policy after years of Brussels making it impossible to control the number of migrants coming to Britain from Europe. This week’s political crisis over Windrush is proof, not that it wasn’t crystal clear already, that Britain needs urgently to sort out its immigration policy…A coherent, strict but fair migration policy is a huge challenge. I’m afraid that Amber Rudd is not up to that challenge. Given that she lacks the integrity to resign, Mrs May should find a replacement who can ensure that fairness and humanity are once again the hallmarks of Britain’s policy towards immigrants.” – Peter Oborne, Daily Mail

Other comment

  • Border control is difficult but essential – Leader, Daily Telegraph
  • May’s thuggish stance caused the Windrush scandal – Satbir Singh, The Guardian
  • Deportation is not a dirty word – Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph

Conservatives take five point poll lead

“The Conservatives opened a five-point lead over Labour this week after the intervention in Syria, the biggest advantage since the botched 2017 election. A YouGov poll for The Times put the Tories on 43 per cent, up 3 points on the week before, and Labour on 38 per cent, down 2 points, with the Lib Dems on 8 per cent, down 1. The changes are within the margin of error but come at a time when the poll shows defence and security are increasing in importance to voters..Theresa May’s personal ratings edged further ahead of Jeremy Corbyn’s, with 39 per cent of voters saying the Tory leader would make the best prime minister, up 2 points. Mr Corbyn was on 25 per cent, down 1.” – The Times

New £400 penalty to fight fly-tipping

“Householders who have their rubbish dumped illegally face spot fines of £400. The crackdown is aimed at discouraging families from using rogue ‘man with a van’ outfits to get rid of their waste. The number of fly-tipping incidents last year surged 7 per cent to more than one million. Two thirds involved household waste. The new fixed-penalty notices of up to £400 will be introduced this autumn. It is already illegal to allow an unauthorised person to remove your rubbish but councils rarely prosecute because of the high cost of court cases. The option of spot fines will make it easier for town halls to take action.” – Daily Mail

Truss warns Hunt against special health service tax

“A ring-fenced tax to pay solely for the National Health Service would be a “bad thing”, a Cabinet minister says today. Liz Truss, the number two to Chancellor Philip Hammond in the Treasury, said health spending should be paid for from general taxation like other public services. The comments from Ms Truss threaten a Cabinet split with Jeremy Hunt, the Health secretary, who has spoken up for a special ‘hypothecated’ tax to cover increased NHS spending. There is speculation that No 10 is pushing for the Treasury to release up to £4 billion more for the health service to coincide with the NHS’s 70th anniversary in July. Last month Theresa May, the Prime Minister, suggested she backs a 10-year plan for the NHS and is expected to announce new funding in coming months.” – Daily Telegraph

Tory council candidate in Watford suspended

“A Conservative council candidate in Watford, Darren Harrison, has been suspended after it emerged that he was a supporter of the pan-European white supremacist organisation Generation Identity and associated with the English Defence League’s former leader Tommy Robinson. A statement issued on Friday by Conservative central office in London said: “Darren Harrison has been suspended. An investigation is under way.” – The Guardian

Grayling to order Councils to cut back on bus lane fines

“Chris Grayling is calling time on cash-hungry councils slapping motorists with record numbers of bus lane fines. The Transport Secretary has instructed officials to issue new guidance to local authorities after it emerged a million tickets are being handed to Brits in the UK’s biggest cities each year. He has told the AA he backs calls for motorists to at the very least be let off for a first offence – and receive a warning rather than an automatic fine. The Tory veteran says enforcement must be “fair and balanced”. And he signalled support for calls to councils to publish details on “hotspots” where cameras are catching out motorists – for any offence – to highlight where changes can be made.” – The Sun

Hollobone urges change in the law to allow police to pursue moped thieves

“MPs from both sides of the House yesterday gave their backing to the Daily Express crusade to help rid Britain of the scourge of moped-riding thugs. Our Stop The Moped Menace campaign demands Government action to toughen up protection for police officers in their mission to take on the brazen criminals. It is estimated that 50,000 moped-related crimes took place in London alone between 2016 and 2017. Tim Rodgers, of the Police Federation, told yesterday’s Daily Express officers could be sued for dangerous driving or GBH if something goes wrong when they try to arrest the thieves. He wants the law changed to reflect the fact that officers have specialised driving training that lets them make risky manoeuvres safely, if required. Conservative MP Philip Hollobone, a former special constable, said he was aware of police being told not to give chase in case of injury to their quarry.” – Daily Express

Brexit 1) Government still confident of a deal on the Irish border

“No 10 says it is confident a deal can be done to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland after Brexit despite signs of an impasse over the issue. The BBC understands UK plans to resolve the matter faced sustained criticism from the EU at a meeting on Wednesday. The UK wants to use technology to help goods flow freely and avoid regulatory alignment between the North and South. Downing Street said it did not recognise reports it had been told none of its proposed ideas would work.” – BBC

Brexit 2) Staying in the Customs Union could prompt a leadership challenge

“Brexiteers warned Theresa May that she could face a leadership challenge if she conceded that Britain should stay in a customs union with Europe. Downing Street looks likely to duck a fight next week when the first of a series of votes is held. Julian Smith, the Tory chief whip, has declared Thursday’s vote on a non-binding motion a one-line whip, meaning that attendance is not compulsory for the party’s MPs. Mrs May will have to overcome Brexit challenges on customs before the summer recess. There are warnings that MPs may start sending no-confidence letters to Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the backbench Conservative 1922 Committee. He must start a no confidence vote if he receives 48 letters….One Tory backbencher told the Conservative Home website: “If there’s a cave-in on the customs union, I think there will be a leadership challenge.” – The Times

  • Turkey shows that staying in the Customs Union would be a bad deal – James Forsyth, The Sun

>Today: ToryDiary: The risks to May if she backs off leaving the Customs Union

Brexit 3) Australia warns Remainers against sabotaging trade deal

“Australia has warned Remainer MPs that staying in the EU customs union would kill an Oz trade deal. It came as Singapore offered a rapid agreement with Britain to prevent a “hard stop” after Brexit. Australia’s foreign minister Julie Bishop said her government also sees “enormous opportunities for more trade and investment”. But she warned rebel  MPs in Westminster not to blow the chances when they vote next week on whether to try to keep Britain shackled to Brussels tariff and customs rules. She said  that would mean “the opportunity for us to enter a free trade agreement with the UK standing alone would not be achievable”.” – The Sun

Brexit 4) Financial services jobs moving to the EU will be “pretty low numbers” says Hammond

“The Chancellor has said that financial services jobs moving to the EU will “remain in pretty low numbers” over the next year. Philip Hammond told the BBC that because of the agreement on a 20-month implementation period from next year jobs had been saved in the UK. He said that banks he had met in New York were not “hanging out the bunting” but were now “relatively relaxed” about the next two years. And that the present situation was much better than many of them had feared.” – BBC

SNP Minister predicts a second independence referendum as soon as next year

“A second independence referendum could be held as early as April next year, Scotland’s Economy Minister has predicted as it emerged the SNP government has scrapped plans to publish North Sea oil forecasts. Keith Brown, who is the clear frontrunner in the contest to become the SNP’s deputy leader, said a rerun of the 2014 vote could be held in 12 months or two years. He said the First Minister would name the precise date after assessing the damage caused by Brexit and his task, if he becomes depute leader, would be to ensure the party was ready. His intervention came as it emerged the Scottish Government has no plans to publish any more bulletins on the health of the North Sea oil and gas industry. They were a key part of the SNP’s case for independence in the run-up to the 2014 referendum, with Nicola Sturgeon predicting a second “oil boom”, but ministers have published only one bulletin since the oil price collapsed.” – Daily Telegraph

Commonwealth agrees that the Prince of Wales will be its next head

“Sitting in a large room at Windsor Castle, less than 24 hours after they had dinner with the Queen at Buckingham Palace, 53 world leaders bowed to the inevitable yesterday and agreed that the Prince of Wales would be the head of the Commonwealth after his mother. The presidents and prime ministers assembled in the Waterloo Chamber for their leaders’ retreat decided that Charles, who was not guaranteed the job, should be the next head of the global institution that has a combined population of 2.4 billion.” – The Times

  • A valuable role in deploying soft power – Leader, The Times

Trump visit to London “pencilled in” for July

“Donald Trump’s long-planned visit to Britain is back on, the Mail can reveal today. In a major boost to relations between London and Washington, the US President is expected to come to the UK for several days this summer. A senior Whitehall source said dates in mid-July were ‘pencilled in’ the diary, with July 14 the favourite. Mr Trump is expected to hold talks with Theresa May either in No 10 or at Chequers. He could also meet the Queen or other senior members of the Royal Family, even though it is not a state visit. Officials will be keen to roll out the red carpet while also minimising the prospect of protests.” – Daily Mail

>Today: Book Review: Trump reminds Comey of a Mafia boss

North Korea claims to have halted nuclear tests

“North Korean leader Kim Jong-un says he has suspended all missile tests and will shut down a nuclear test site. “From 21 April, North Korea will stop nuclear tests and launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles,” the country’s state news agency said. Mr Kim said further tests were unnecessary because Pyongyang’s nuclear capabilities had been “verified”. The surprise announcement comes as North Korea prepares for historic talks with South Korea and the US. Mr Kim is due to meet his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in next week for the first inter-Korean summit in over a decade, and US President Donald Trump by June.” – BBC

Parris: Potholes are a symbol of austerity Britain

“Those, like me, of a Conservative disposition who see state wastefulness everywhere, to think that maybe you can just keep on cutting and never reach bone. For so it has often seemed, however urgent the shrieks of doom-mongers. But beneath the surface problems build up. The old get older, and more numerous. Potholes start breaking cyclists’ necks. Care homes start going under. The Crown Prosecution Service begins to flounder. We run out of social housing. Prisoners riot. And is there really no link between things like pre-schooling, sports and leisure centres and local outreach work, and the discouragement of knife crime? It all takes time, though. In that most unfashionable thing, public administration, the life cycle of a problem may be counted in decades, even generations. The cycle of an elected politician’s term is four or five years. Democratic politics and good public administration march to different drumbeats.” – Matthew Parris, The Times

News in brief

  • Macron and the federalists are losing Europe’s battle of ideas – Kai Weiss, CapX
  • Rudd’s friends are losing patience with her – Katy Balls, The Spectator
  • Lectures from Owen Jones and the far left on social mobility? Stroll on! – Iain Martin, Reaction
  • Ruth Davidson named in Time’s 100 most influential people of 2018 list – Independent
  • Our national identity and values are closer to our Commonwealth cousins than our European neighbours – Matin Parsons, Brexit Central