Brexit: Papers pick up DUP threat to bring down the Government from our interview…

The DUP has warned it will bring down Theresa May’s Government if Northern Ireland is forced to stay in the Single Market or Customs Union after Brexit. Nigel Dodds, the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party at Westminster, said his party would vote against the Government if any of its “red lines” on Brexit were crossed. It comes as Britain and the EU are deadlocked over how to ensure that there is no hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland after Brexit. Mr Dodds told the Conservativehome website:.. “You might as well have a Corbyn government pursuing openly its anti-Unionist policies as have a Conservative Government doing it by a different means.”” – Daily Telegraph

  • Davis calls Brussels’ tough line on the Border a ‘negotiating tactic’ – Daily Mail
  • Top civil servant warned May of flaws in Irish plan months ago – Daily Telegraph


  • EU should not treat joint space and military projects as ploys – The Times

>Yesterday: Interviews: The Brexit negotiation – Dodds warns against the “annexation” of Northern Ireland

…as Davis says MPs could force May back to Brussels…

“David Davis, the Brexit secretary, has left open the possibility that Theresa May could be forced to return to Brussels to seek a better EU exit deal, if MPs reject the original offer she puts on the table this autumn. Mr Davis admitted that a Commons resolution to approve the Brexit deal could be amended by MPs, and refused to rule out the possibility that the prime minister could be instructed by parliament to seek changes. The question could prove decisive in shaping the final Brexit deal, especially if pro-European Tories and Labour join forces to insist that Mrs May keeps Britain in a customs union with the EU. Speaking at the Commons Brexit committee, Mr Davis confirmed that the “meaningful vote” on a resolution to approve the Brexit deal could be amended. “If you can tell me how to write an unamendable motion, I will take a tutorial,” he said.” – FT

  • Eurocrats ridicule Brexit Secretary’s trade hopes – The Times
  • Davis expects MPs to support leaving customs union – FT
  • Lords votes to limit ministers’ post-Brexit powers – Daily Express
  • SNP accused of ‘dogma’ in Brexit row – The Scotsman


  • Let’s have a snap election on the poisonous customs union – Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Daily Telegraph
  • Sturgeon left in splendid isolation over ‘power grab’ – Tom Peterkin, The Scotsman

>Today: ToryDiary: Customs partnership tick tock tick tock tick tock…


…and Downing Street rebukes Leadsom over post-Brexit immigration claims

“Downing Street brutally slapped down Andrea Leadsom today after she claimed post-Brexit immigration rules were ‘subject to negotiations’ with the EU. The Commons leader made the suggestion as she was grilled on whether the government had clear proposals for the UK’s border policies after leaving the bloc. Asked if this was the Government’s position, Mrs May’s spokesman this afternoon replied bluntly: ‘No’. In other developments on post-Brexit movement of people, the EU commission has released details of a new scheme that could apply to UK travellers once the country is outside the single market. Ms Leadsom insisted the plans could only be ‘crystalised’ once the talks with Brussels were more advanced.” – Daily Mail

  • Brussels wants £6 visa fee from all British holidaymakers – Daily Mail

Rudd accused of sanctioning regional targets for migrant deportations

“Amber Rudd has been accused of protecting the prime minister over the Home Office’s failure to get to grips with the Windrush scandal, after she refused to identify the “hostile environment” strategy as a major factor. The home secretary said she deeply regretted not spotting the problem of a generation of Britons being wrongly targeted by immigration authorities, vowing there would be a culture change in her department. However, there was immediate confusion over whether she had sanctioned regional targets for deporting migrants, with Rudd at odds with the head of immigration service union who claimed they appeared on posters across the Home Office estate.” – The Guardian

  • Home Secretary denies union claim on deportation targets – FT


  • Amnesty would be an insult to legal immigrants and a win for traffickers – Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph
  • ID cards are the best way to tackle immigration – David Aaronovitch, The Times


  • Restoring public trust in Britain’s border policy – FT

>Today: Daniel Hannan MEP’s column: Like the Windrush children, EU nationals raised here have a moral right to UK citizenship


Ministers 1) Truss says Tories must defend the ‘gig economy’ from Labour

Labour will ban Uber and AirBnB if they gain control of councils, a minister has warned as she brands the Conservatives the party of the “gig economy”. Liz Truss, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, writes in the Telegraph about how the Tory party is the true party of young people, as it allows them to innovate in the new economy. She warns that the Labour Party will ban start-ups such as Uber, Deliveroo and AirBnB, or stifle them with regulation so they fail, pointing to Labour Mayor Sadiq Khan’s battle with Uber in London. This caused the ride-hailing app to lose its license, a decision the company is now appealing. Transport for London (TfL) criticised the firm’s record on reporting criminal offences and carrying out driver background checks.” – Daily Telegraph

  • What some call flexibility, I call exploitation – Larry Elliott, The Guardian

Ministers 2) Government announces £500 million ‘AI sector deal’

“The UK government will invest £300m in artificial intelligence research as it seeks to fend off competition from France and Germany and secure its status as Europe’s leading centre for “deep tech”. The new AI sector deal, announced on Thursday, follows last year’s publication of a government review of the UK’s artificial intelligence industry. The review found that only 5 per cent of international venture capital funding in the sector went to British companies in the five years to 2016. The government will hope to stimulate private companies with the new investment programme, which will be directed through its publicly-funded Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. The investments will be overseen by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, which declined to specify a timeline for when the funding would be released.” – FT

  • Our ambitions for AI must match the Apollo programme – Matt Hancock and Greg Clark, Times Red Box

Ministers 3) Cabinet ministers accused of amassing war chests for leadership bids

“Three Cabinet big beasts were last night accused of plotting secret Tory leadership bids after The Sun revealed they have raised huge war chests from donors. Michael Gove leads the pack, having stacked up £31,000 in nine months – 22 times more cash than the average Tory MP. Home Secretary Amber Rudd was close behind on £23,500 and Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson on £10,000. On average Conservative MPs have only raised £1,380 each in the months since last year’s disastrous election. Just over one in ten Conservative MPs have declared new donations after last June’s poll, with Mr Gove’s haul the third largest of any Tory MP despite having a very safe Commons seat.” – The Sun

MPs 1) Mitchell leads Tory revolt to crack down on tax havens

“Corrupt Russian oligarchs sheltering dirty money in Britain’s overseas territories will be exposed under laws set to be forced on Theresa May next week. Tax havens such as the British Virgin Islands and Cayman Islands have so far resisted moves to follow the UK’s lead and reveal to public view the identities of those benefiting from assets held under their jurisdictions. Next week a coalition of Tory rebels, Labour, the SNP and other opposition parties will challenge Mrs May to match her rhetoric with action when new sanctions legislation is debated in the Commons. Andrew Mitchell, the former international development secretary who is leading the Tory rebellion, said last night that he had the “certain” backing of 19 Conservative backbenchers, more than enough to defeat the government.” – The Times

  • Latham demands ministers get a grip on Chinese aid – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: John Glen MP in Comment: How the Government is cracking down on loan sharks

MPs 2) Swayne ‘turns air blue’ on school visit

“Tory grandee Sir Desmond Swayne turned the air blue on a visit with 10-year-old school children as he raged against litter louts. On a school visit in his New Forest West, the former minister branded people who dump rubbish or animal waste ‘b*******’. He insisted after the event it was an ‘off the cuff’ remark and the children at the Walhampton School were ‘robust’ enough to handle it… Defending the language used in front of the kids, he said: ‘I think they were OK, I think they are strong enough to handle it. ‘Put it this way, there appeared to be no sense of shock either amongst their teacher or the students themselves.'” – Daily Mail

Trump to visit the UK in the summer

“Donald Trump will make his first official visit to Britain as president this summer, it emerged last night. The US president is thought to be planning meetings with Theresa May in July after previous plans to come to the UK were put on hold amid fears of mass public protests. Theresa May was the first foreign leader to visit the president in the White House in January last year, and invited him to make a formal state visit to Britain. However, this summer’s trip will be a “working visit”, stopping short of the ceremony of a state visit… After the planned state visit was announced in 2017, nearly two million Britons signed a petition in protest, while John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons, said he would not allow the US president to address parliament.” – The Times

  • Don’t get angry when the President’s here, get even – Stella Creasy MP, The Guardian

>Yesterday: Ben Roback’s column: The arms race taking place to establish a new ‘Special Relationship’

Dozens of Labour MPs escort Jewish colleague to antisemitism hearing…

“Dozens of Labour politicians escorted their Jewish colleague Ruth Smeeth across Westminster as she ran the gauntlet of heckling Corbynistas to give evidence at an anti-Semitism hearing today. In extraordinary scenes, around 50 Labour MPs and peers joined the march in ‘solidarity’ with Ms Smeeth. She was making her way to give evidence to a disciplinary hearing where Labour chiefs will decide whether or not to expel an activist she accuses of anti-Semitism. Marc Wadsworth reduced Ms Smeeth to tears at the launch of Labour’s anti-Semitism report in July 2016 by accusing her of colluding with the press. Corbynista activists had gathered outside for a protest in support of him, chanting and heckling Ms Smeeth as she made her way into the hearing.” – Daily Mail

  • Antisemitism is a ‘distraction’, say Momentum activists – The Times
  • Opposition vows to settle most claims by July – Daily Express
  • Row looms over Labour’s poll hopes – FT

…as McCluskey warns Corbyn’s critics they will face ‘consequences’

“Jeremy Corbyn’s closest union ally has warned five “Corbyn hater” Labour MPs that they will be “held to account” after he accused them of whipping up a row over anti-Semitism just to “smear” the party leader. The intervention from Len McCluskey, the Unite general secretary, threatens to turn the growing anti-Semitism row within Labour into a civil war just a week before the local elections. Mr McCluskey said Wes Streeting, John Woodcock, Neil Coyle, Chris Leslie and Ian Austin had used anti-Semitism to “toxify” the party. He was accused of deliberately making them targets for abuse at a time when their colleagues have been subjected to death and rape threats for speaking out on the issue.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Union boss defies Corbyn to brand antisemitism claims as ‘smears’ – The Times


  • BNP’s last councillor says he will now vote Labour – Daily Mail
  • Labour drop controversial candidate – Daily Telegraph

Stephen Pollard: Corbyn has shown that he isn’t taking antisemitism seriously

“Mr Corbyn’s action – or, more ­accurately, inaction – shows he neither takes anti-Semitism seriously nor wants to do anything worthwhile to deal with it. Of course, he doesn’t. Anti-Semitism is in the DNA of the hard Left, in which he has spent his entire political career. Some people are surprised when they hear about left-wing anti-Semitism, as if it is solely the preserve of Nazi types and Islamists. But there is a long and foul history of hard-Left anti-Semitism. Stalin in Russia, for example. Mr Corbyn and those around him define themselves by their supposed anti-racism… But in the mindset of the extreme Left, anti-Semitism – or, to be blunt, hatred of Jews – is not real racism. Real racism is discrimination against black people and oppressed minorities, such as gypsies. Jews are regarded as something very different. Far from being oppressed, Jews are seen as part of the powerful elite.” – The Sun

  • Both parties have a racism problem, but only the Tories are trying to solve theirs – James Kirkup, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Why the Jewish people became a class enemy

Labour expect big gains in London at the local elections

“London, where all 32 boroughs are up for election, is likely to dominate the headlines and accounts for 40 per cent of all seats being contested, of which Labour, on a very good night, hope to win more than half. The Conservatives currently control nine councils, but that figure could be reduced to as few as three on a particularly good night for Labour and the Liberal Democrats. Barnet, North London, has been Tory since its creation in 1964. With a Conservative majority of just two, and a historically strong Labour showing across its parliamentary constituencies last June, Jeremy Corbyn appears on course for a famous victory in the home of Margaret Thatcher’s old Finchley seat next month. Most pollsters predict an almost certain Labour gain.” – The Times

  • Labour MP thought to be considering move to City Hall – The Guardian


  • Tories could do with an election drubbing – Iain Martin, Reaction


>Yesterday: Sam Thurgood in Local Government: Housing is the priority for Conservatives in Lewisham

News in Brief:

  • Admit it – planning has failed us – Matt Kilcoyne, CapX
  • Seven reasons Brexit will be fine – Iain Martin, Reaction
  • May should fear a Brexiteer who feels betrayed – James Forsyth, The Spectator
  • Sturgeon is playing a high-stakes Brexit power game – Brian Monteith, Brexit Central
  • Slaying dragons: the demeaning quota system – Kate Andrews, UnHerd