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Rudd 1) Her office was sent a Home Office memo with targets for removing illegal immigrants

“Amber Rudd’s insistence that she knew nothing of Home Office targets for immigration removals risks unravelling following the leak of a secret internal document prepared for her and other senior ministers. The six-page memo, passed to the Guardian, says the department has set “a target of achieving 12,800 enforced returns in 2017-18” and boasts that “we have exceeded our target of assisted returns”. It adds that progress has been made on a “path towards the 10% increased performance on enforced returns, which we promised the home secretary earlier this year”. The document was prepared by Hugh Ind, the director general of the Home Office’s Immigration Enforcement agency, in June last year and copied to Rudd and Brandon Lewis, the then immigration minister, as well as several senior civil servants and special advisers.” –  The Guardian

  • Home Secretary clinging on to her job – The Times

Rudd 2) But she says she didn’t read it

“Home Secretary Amber Rudd has apologised for not being aware of “specific” migrant removal targets. The Guardian reported a leaked memo dated last year, which suggested she had been informed of those targets. In a series of tweets, Ms Rudd said she had not seen this memo and apologised for not being aware of the objectives. Ms Rudd added she would make a statement to the House of Commons on Monday in response to “legitimate questions” about illegal migration. A Downing Street spokesman said Ms Rudd retained the “full confidence” of the prime minister.” – BBC

Rudd 3) Millions more benefits claimants will have to prove residency rights

“Millions of benefit claimants will have to prove their residency rights by 2022 in a Whitehall nightmare set to eclipse the Windrush scandal. Ministers are braced for chaos as 2.2 million claimants will have to prove they have the right to live here before being transferred onto the new Universal Credit system. The families were already on benefits before strict new controls were introduced in 2014 demanding people prove they are eligible to live and work in Britain. But they will have to pass a Habitual Residency Test before they are transferred onto the new streamlined benefits system that is being phased in over the next five years.” – The Sun

Rudd 4) Running a big department while attending to public opinion is becoming an impossible job declares Parris

“You can’t fly the plane while facing the passengers. This version of democracy isn’t working. Consider a senior minister’s working day. You’d nodded off, after midnight, over heaps of stuff to “sign off” that in the time available you couldn’t possibly read and digest, nor guess what you hadn’t been shown but should be. You relied — you had to — on others to flag a few things up. Now you must prepare for Commons grillings on an impossibly wide range of problems. You have a stupid speech to make somewhere, and nothing to say. You have meetings with lobbyists for causes too tangled and various to get properly to the bottom of, and no time to read yourself in.” – Matthew Parris, The Times

Rudd 5) Moore: Windrush scandal shows a failure of leadership

“With each passing day, the Windrush scandal raises more clearly the question of leadership. The Home Office deserves some sympathy because of the scale of the problems with which it has to deal. Every year, about 100 million people pass through British airports, of whom roughly 45 per cent are non-British. The potential for error is huge. All the more need, then, for a Cabinet minister who understands the complexities, and can give a moral and policy lead. Amber Rudd has not so far done either. At first, she blamed officials. Bafflingly, she then asserted to the parliamentary committee that the Home Office did not have numerical immigration removal targets, and then had to back down the next day when she discovered the easily ascertainable information that it did. Now a newly discovered memo shows that she was informed of targets last year.” – Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph

Gove takes on the vegans

“Michael Gove has rallied to the side of livestock farmers in the battle between meat eaters and vegans. At a conference on the future of British farming, the environment secretary insisted that “a truly balanced diet includes meat”. Highlighting the benefits of offal, such as calves’ liver and kidneys, he said there was an “appropriate level of meat in anyone’s diet” based on medical advice. More than 540,000 people now have plant-based diets, compared with 150,000 in 2006, according to a survey for the Vegan Society.” – The Times

Davis “could resign” over customs union

“Friends of the Brexit Secretary David Davis have told the Daily Express that he is “extremely frustrated” with the direction of Government policy and “feels he has been cut out of the decisions.” The threat to walk out comes ahead of a crunch meeting on Wednesday where the cabinet sub-committee on Brexit is set to debate the complex plans for a customs partnership which Brexiteers have already said is unacceptable. A source close to Mr Davis has said that his final decision “is very much dependent on what happens at that meeting. It is pretty crucial.” It is understood that if Mr Davis decides to walk on a point of principle then other Brexit supporting ministers may follow him out of the door precipitating a major crisis for Theresa May.” – Daily Express

  • Verhofstadt: Brexit will be delayed unless Britain makes further concessions to EU – Daily Telegraph
  • Davis pledges not to betray the British fishing industry – Daily Mail

Gauke delays decision on naming Parole Board members

“The Justice Secretary has delayed a decision on whether to meet the demands of campaigners and Tory MPs and name Parole Board members in the wake of the John Worboys scandal. David Gauke has announced that a new review, due to report back later this year, will consider whether the need for greater transparency outweighs concerns about the security of Parole Board members. The delay is likely to disappoint campaigners, who have been calling on Mr Gauke to identify Parole Board members as part of a bid to ensure that there is greater transparency.” – Daily Telegraph

Results outside London are the challenge for Labour in the local elections…

“Labour’s performance in council elections in the north and the Midlands will be key to judging whether its message is hitting home, sources said. Most of the focus on next Thursday’s polls has been on the likelihood that Labour will make big gains in London, where it commands a 22-point lead in opinion polls and could take the Tory strongholds of Barnet, Westminster and Wandsworth. Labour sources have indicated, however, that the most significant measure of success could be their performance outside the capital. They noted that beyond London, 28 of the 34 metropolitan councils up for election are held by Labour and are unlikely to change hands. “The more provincial places will be an interesting fight,” one said. “Calderdale, Derby, and Newcastle-under-Lyme are worth watching, particularly given the parliamentary seats.” – The Times

…decline in home ownership in the capital is the cause of Tory woes

“Labour’s rise in London is quite remarkable. They have gone from 37 per cent of the vote in 2010 to 55 per cent in 2017. There are several reasons why the capital is turning red but one of the biggest is the decline in home ownership. Home ownership in London peaked in the 1990s and has been falling since. Homeowners became a minority in London in 2011, the first time that has been the case since Margaret Thatcher’s Right To Buy revolution in the early 1980s. On current trends, 60 per cent of Londoners will be renters in seven years’ time. It is no coincidence that this rise in renting has coincided with Labour’s surge in the capital. For one of the things that makes you most likely to vote Tory is owning your own home.” – James Forsyth, The Sun

Today: Paul Maginnis on Comment: My manifesto for boosting social mobility

McDonnell’s protest against McDonald’s flops

“Just 11 of 120,000 McDonald’s workers have agreed to take part in the Labour-backed plot to close the fast food restaurant for a day next week, The Sun can reveal. The flop comes despite Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell hosting a rave to rescue the May 1 walkout, intended to protest against zero-hours contracts and demand a minimum £10-an-hour wage. The Bakers Union was hoping for mass walk-outs at 1,270 restaurants on May 1. But the numbers of workers now taking part in next week’s McStrike have plunged even lower than expected earlier this month. Some 21 had backed the walk-out – but only 11 of them are scheduled to work.” – The Sun

Hundreds to quit Labour over transgender candidates on all women shortlists

“Hundreds of female Labour members are to quit the party over a decision to allow transgender candidates to be included on all-women shortlists. In a new blow for Jeremy Corbyn, more than 300 activists will resign on May Day, warning they ‘cannot continue to be in a party that takes women for granted’. The group opposes a party rule change over all-women shortlists, which are used to select candidates from parliamentary elections down to local government.” – Daily Mail

Wadsworth expelled from the Labour Party

“Labour has expelled an activist for bringing the party into disrepute after he criticised a Jewish MP at the launch of an anti-Semitism report. Marc Wadsworth accused Ruth Smeeth of working “hand in hand” with the media to undermine Labour. Labour’s National Constitutional Committee found he breached the party’s rules and should be thrown out. Mrs Smeeth welcomed the result but Mr Wadsworth said he would see whether he could launch a legal challenge. The announcement followed a high-profile disciplinary hearing in which Mrs Smeeth gave evidence against him.” – BBC

Luxury flights for NHS Quango staff

“Taxpayers have paid out a staggering £6.5 million to fund luxury flights for NHS quango staff over the last three years, shocking figures have revealed. Despite the NHS being in the midst of a funding crisis, staff are allowed to book business and premium economy flights. One staffer working for the NHS Blood and Transplant body took a flight from London to San Diego costing a whopping £6,935. And a Public Health England staff member was allowed to book a £5,935 flight from San Francisco to Heathrow. In total, NHS quangos have booked 16,866 flights at a cost of £6.5 million since 2015, according to a major study by the Taxpayers’ Alliance.” – The Sun

Alfie Evans has died

“Terminally ill toddler Alfie Evans has died after a long-running battle over his treatment for a degenerative neurological condition. The 23-month-old – who was being treated at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool – died at 2.30am, Kate James and Thomas Evans said on Facebook. The youngster was at the centre of a legal battle over his treatment that touched hearts around the world. The post on said: ‘Our baby boy grew his wings tonight at 2:30 am. We are heart broken. Thank you everyone for all your support.’ ” – Daily Mail

>Today: ToryDiary: Look wider than the tragic tale of Alfie Evans. And ask if the balance of power is right between families and the state.

Warning against voter ID checks

“Plans requiring voters to prove their identity before casting their ballot are “deeply flawed”, the Electoral Reform Society (ERS) has warned. The group said it appeared the plans were a “calculated effort by the Government to make voting harder for some citizens”. Pilot schemes will be in place at five councils in the local elections in England on May 3: Bromley, Gosport, Swindon, Watford and Woking. The ERS said personification fraud – where someone votes while pretending to be someone else – is “incredibly rare” and the introduction of mandatory voter ID “poses more problems than solutions”.” – Daily Telegraph

Korean leaders pledge to scrap nuclear weapons

“The leader of North Korea took a historic stride towards peace yesterday as he was invited on to South Korean soil to declare his support for ridding the two nations of nuclear weapons. After a day of talks Kim Jong-un posed for the world’s media alongside President Moon of South Korea to herald the beginning of “a new era” on the Korean peninsula. He is the first North Korean leader to cross the border since the Korean War ended in stalemate in 1953. Mr Kim said that people from both sides were “brothers of the same blood” and should work towards closer ties and “a new future”.” – The Times

>Yesterday: WATCH: The South Korean and North Korean presidents shake hands in the demilitarised zone

Trump will include London in his visit to Britain

“President Trump will “definitely” come to London when he makes his first official visit to Britain in July, the US ambassador to the UK has said. Woody Johnson said the president was “thick-skinned” enough to deal with any protests that may greet him. Concern in the US over the extent of opposition to Mr Trump in London is thought to have been a significant factor in his cancellation of a trip to open the new embassy in January, although the president blamed it on his anger over a “bad deal” the US got on the building in an “off location”.” – The Times

  • Corbyn will be snubbed on the visit – Daily Telegraph
  • Face down the leftie virtue-signallers and welcome Donald Trump to Downing Street with open arms – The Sun Says
  • Protests are hypocritical adolescent tantrum which threatens Britain’s best interests- Robert Hardman, Daily Mail
  • May, Macron and lessons of Trump diplomacy – Leader, Financial Times
  • DUP welcome visit – Belfast Telegraph

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Roll out the red carpet for Trump

Oborne: Prepare for a General Election in the autumn

“Any prime minister who cannot get their way in the Commons is certain to lose office sooner or later. I calculate that Mrs May can probably scramble through the summer months. But the autumn will see her moment of maximum danger.This will be the time when MPs will vote on a matter that truly does matter. This is the vote on the deal that the Government strikes with Brussels on Britain’s relations with the EU after Brexit. She has rightly promised Parliament the final decision on her negotiations….if she loses, Britain would then enter a period of grave political uncertainty…. if Mr Corbyn was unable to form a government, the third General Election in three years would have to be held.” – Peter Oborne, Daily Mail

News in brief

  • Trump’s critics should give him the credit he deserves for Korea – Tom Goodenough, The Spectator
  • The Wembley deal is Global Britain in action – Ben Ramanauskas, Capx
  • Slaying dragons: Britain’s national religion, the NHS – Nigel Cameron, Unherd
  • Macron runs rings around hapless Trump on his state visit to the US – Askold Krushelnycky, Reaction
  • Biggest ever pro EU march promised – Independent

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