Syria 1) May says Assad and Russia will be “held to account” as allies call for Britain’s support in military strike

“Theresa May was under pressure from ministers and allies to join a US-led military strike against the Assad regime as France set the pace for retaliation against a suspected chemical attack. The prime minister said that President Assad and Russia would be “held to account . . . if they are found to be responsible” for the “barbaric” attack in Douma, Syria, in which at least 40 people including children died. As Britain prepared options including the use of Tomahawk missiles, senior figures warned that it risked losing influence in Washington to France if it turned down a request by President Trump to join a retaliatory strike. Yesterday Mr Trump promised to respond “forcefully” to the use of a chemical thought to be chlorine.” – The Times

  • She condemns “barbaric” attack – Guardian
  • And “refuses to rule out” military response – Daily Express
  • She’s under “domestic and international pressure to join any action” – Daily Telegraph
  • UK Armed Forces are “drawing up options” – Daily Mail 
  • Meanwhile, Corbyn’s response is criticised by his MPs – Daily Telegraph

Syria 2) Wallace: The part our “appeasement” has played in the nightmare

“You will probably have experienced some of the pictures from Syria. Perhaps you have seen the heartbreaking ones – of crying children, being hosed down or strapped with oxygen masks – that newspapers are able to print. Or maybe you have discovered the sickening ones – of corpses, big and small, grey and bloated, glassy-eyed and foam-flecked – that they cannot. Even the former are revolting. The latter are, frankly, nightmarish. They are horrific, and they are our fault, at least in part. Because the bodies of all those people, killed by poison gases that sank into the cellars where they were sheltering from the bombs of Assad and Putin, are the grim fruits of appeasement.” – The i

  • Here’s what we should do – Johnny Mercer, The Sun
  • How much do we care? – David Miliband, The Times
  • We should join America in action, if we can – William Hague, Daily Telegraph
  • Corbyn’s stance is no surprise – Hugo Gye, The Sun


Brexit 1) Davis says he knows “80-90 per cent of where we’ll end up” in negotiations

“The senior Tory minister was speaking with retired US Army General Stan McChrystal, who leads McChrystal Group leadership consultancy, and confirmed divorce negotiations were proceeding “broadly as expected”. He commented on the progress in negotiations, saying: “Some of it I’m not so certain on, but If I wrote on an envelope to give it to you now I could probably tell you 80-90 per cent of where we’ll end up.” Mr Davis also sounded optimistic about the issues which remain outstanding: “I could specify the ten per cent I don’t know. “There are a few known unknowns.”” – Daily Express

  • He says they’re going “broadly as expected” – The Sun

Brexit 2) Gove says “all options” open regarding improvements to livestock welfare

“The export of live sheep and cows for slaughter abroad could be banned after Brexit following a “call for evidence” on the issue by the government today. Michael Gove, the environment secretary, said “all options” for improving the welfare of livestock during transport were being considered, including a ban on live export of animals destined for foreign abattoirs. The government’s farm animal welfare committee has also launched a review into the existing welfare standards for animals during transport. Animal welfare groups say long sea and lorry journeys are stressful for animals and some foreign abattoirs have lower standards and may not stun animals before cutting their throats.” – The Times

  • Including potential ban of live exports – The Sun

Brexit 3) Danish PM in favour of “enhanced trade agreement” between EU and UK, but warns of costs

“Theresa May’s plans for a Brexit deal that delivers frictionless trade with the EU have been dealt a blow by a key European ally who has said there will be more bureaucracy after leaving the bloc. The Danish prime minister, Lars Løkke Rasmussen, said after talks with his UK counterpart in Copenhagen that there would be an inevitable price to pay for Britain leaving the single market. Following a bilateral meeting with May, he told reporters at a joint press conference: “We should avoid too many changes in our relations and I am totally in favour of an enhanced trade agreement between the EU and UK.” – Guardian

Brexit 4) Clinton speaks of the “fragility of the system following the GFA”, twenty years on

“Voters in Northern Ireland have to stop punishing politicians who compromise, ex-US president Bill Clinton has said. He linked political paralysis to the rise of authoritarianism and warned the 15-month stalemate at Stormont would eventually reach its limit. Mr Clinton said it was easy to underestimate the fragility of the system following the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, which he supported. At a talk to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the agreement, he told an audience at University College Dublin (UCD) on Monday night: “No one will drop off the face of the Earth with any of the reasonable compromises that have been discussed….” – Belfast News Letter

  • Is Ireland now the Brexit “battleground”? – Daily Mail
  • Davis claims Varadkar allowing “republican sentiment” to play Brexit role – The Times


  • How the agreement helped me – Conor McGinnn, The Times
  • What we can learn for Brexit from it – Janan Ganesh, FT


  • The country is a better place thanks to peace – Guardian

More from rest of UK

  • Sturgeon’s advisers point out costs of state energy firm – Herald

More Brexit


  • Our resolve holds – Asa Bennett, Daily Telegraph
  • The left should learn from Orban’s success – Tibor Fischer, Daily Telegraph
  • Here’s our answer – Yanis Varoufakis and Benoit Hamon, Guardian

>Today: John Ashworth in Comment: The Government must not betray fishermen and coastal communities in the Brexit talks

>Yesterday: International: The presence of people like Orban in the EU club should worry Brussels far more than the prospect of Britain leaving it

May to pledge £75 million for prostate cancer research

“Tens of thousands of men will be recruited to take part in a £75 million boost to prostate cancer research ordered by Theresa May to close the funding gap with breast cancer. The prime minister will acknowledge today that the disease is still identified too late for patients to be saved as she promises funds for better diagnosis and treatment. … “Too many people endure the loss of a loved one because cancer diagnosis comes too late in the day,” Mrs May said. “Our cancer treatments are world-class and survival rates are at a record high but prostate cancer still claims thousands of lives every year. I know we can do more. That’s why I am setting out new plans to help thousands of men get treated earlier and faster.”” – The Times

  • At-risk groups will be targeted for testing – FT

Home Office admits police “failing to record” knife crime properly

“The true extent of knife crime could be worse than previously thought because police are failing to properly record it, the Home Office has admitted. The Government’s Serious Violence Strategy, which was published on Monday, discloses that police forces in England and Wales do not measure violent knife crime in the same way as other offences such as robbery and burglary. It means that the true scale of violence involving knives may have gone under-reported for almost a century, after experts confirmed that officers had been measuring other crimes in more detail since 1927.” – Daily Telegraph

  • HO document shows violent crime strategy relying on tactics affected by cuts in police numbers – The Times
  • The row “intensifies” – Guardian
  • PCC calls for Rudd to resign – The Sun 


  • My thoughts on Rudd and the knife crime crisis – Rachel Sylvester, The Times
  • Rudd should face the truth – Zoe Williams, Guardian

>Today: ToryDiary: WWGD

More government

  • Ministers considering further junk food restrictions – The Times

Scandal continues as Corbyn “hits back” at Lipman after she says he’s an “antisemite”

“Jeremy Corbyn has hit back at actress Maureen Lipman after she said his failure to tackle anti-Semitism made her a ‘Tory’. The film star, who is Jewish, joined a demonstration outside Labour’s London headquarters at the weekend to demand tougher action to root out the abuse. She said she could never return to Labour while it has an ‘anti-Semite at its head’ and that she agreed with a placard reading ‘Corbyn made me a Tory’. But speaking today the Labour leader hit back at the star – saying a Tory-led country meant more poverty and austerity.” – Daily Mail

  • All this while Corbyn launches London council campaign – The Times 
  • The latest in the Labour anti-semitism row – Daily Mail


“Last-minute push” leads to full slate of Conservative council candidates in Manchester

“The Tories are standing a full slate of candidates in this year’s Manchester council elections after a ‘huge’ last-minute push to find hopefuls – but the Liberal Democrats are fielding nobody at all in some northern parts of the city. The official list of candidates, published on Monday afternoon, also shows just four people running for Ukip. Manchester will see an ‘all-out’ election on May 3 due to boundary changes, meaning every one of the city’s 96 seats will be up for grabs – instead of the usual 32. Last week the website Conservative Home reported that due to ‘atrophy’ of the local party, the Tories were experiencing ‘real difficulties’ finding candidates. “It appears that in some wards there is a genuine risk that people might find there is no Conservative candidate to vote for,” it said, adding that officials from Conservative party headquarters had been drafted in to persuade at least one person to stand in each ward.”” – Manchester Evening News

>Yesterday: Local Government: Don’t let Kingston return to the dark days of Lib Dem rule

>Today: Local Government: Birmingham is a key test – perhaps the most important one – for the Tories in the local elections

More Conservatives

  • Badenoch’s apology over “hacking” accepted by Harman – Guardian

>Today: Simon Clarke in Comment: Teesside is experiencing an industrial renaissance – with Conservative optimism driving out Labour gloom

News in Brief

  • My thoughts twenty years on from the Belfast Agreement – Nigel Dodds, BrexitCentral
  • “Whatever we do in Syria is too little too late” – Bob Seely, CapX
  • The “facts have changed” since the referendum – George Eaton, New Statesman
  • My thoughts on the Open University’s difficulties – Toby Young, Spectator
  • The effects of the abuse I suffered – Junot Diaz, New Yorker