Rudd promises Windrush generation British citizenship and a “change of culture” at the Home Office

‘Amber Rudd has vowed to change the culture of the Home Office amid concerns that the Windrush immigration scandal could fuel an exodus of ethnic minority support for the Tories. The home secretary unveiled an emergency package of measures designed to end the crisis yesterday. Every citizen from the Commonwealth who arrived in the UK between 1948 and 1988 will be offered citizenship or settled status, with officials told to take a generous approach to applications. Ms Rudd admitted that the treatment of immigration cases needed to change, telling MPs that the controversy had shown “we need to give a human face to how we work and exercise greater discretion when it is justified”. Her comments were seen as critical of the Home Office becoming too focused on strategy and policy under Theresa May as it tried to tackle illegal immigration and cut net migration to under 100,000. “It is about a change of culture that I will be trying to trickle down the department,” Ms Rudd said. “I am not blaming anyone.”‘ – The Times

>Today: Andrew Green on Comment: We need to see the Government’s planned post-Brexit immigration framework

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Why an inquiry into the treatment of the Windrush children is needed (reprise)

Brexit 1) The EU admits its own ‘backstop’ plan for the Irish border does not work

‘European Union negotiators have admitted that their controversial “backstop” plan to prevent a hard border in Ireland after Brexit will not work and could undermine the single market. In a confidential diplomatic note seen by The Times, the European Commission and other EU negotiators expressed fears that because the plan covers only customs checks on goods entering Northern Ireland from Britain, the province could still become a lucrative loophole in the single market…“A solution for the Irish border does not solve problems related to necessary alignment with the whole EU acquis [body of single market law],” the diplomatic note said. “Many goods have a considerable services component and a level playing field is not covered by alignment with relevant EU rules as foreseen in the backstop.” In a letter to The Times today the CBI and TUC have accused the government of treating the Good Friday agreement as an “inconvenience”. Carolyn Fairbairn, director-general of the CBI, and Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the TUC, said Theresa May needed to “confirm categorically that a hard border is off the table and to explain exactly how this will happen”.’ – The Times

Brexit 2) Wallace: Customs Union would be a failure to take back control – a betrayal that harms British democracy

‘”Take back control” neatly encapsulated complex ideas, combing popular frustration with an unaccountable EU and a sense of offering a positive alternative to rule by the dreary grey men of Brussels…Voting Leave did not mean dictating one post-Brexit policy or another, it meant choosing for the UK to make its own decisions democratically…This, at heart, is why the idea of staying in the Customs Union – the latest straw grasped by those who still hope to block Brexit – ought to be rejected. Outsourcing trade policy to Brussels would be the opposite of taking back control…We would go from being Juncker’s cash-cow to his bargaining chip…Imagine for a moment what it felt like for people who believed themselves to be powerless to find out that over 17 million others were on their side. Now consider their emotions when they saw the most powerful politicians in the land compelled to do what they had instructed them to do through the ballot box…Aside from everything else, that makes fulfilling Brexit a crucial responsibility for democratic engagement in this country.’ – Mark Wallace, the i paper

>Today: The Moggcast. “Completely idiotic” customs partnership idea “should be knocked on the head”

Hammond ‘accepts’ case to limit betting machine stakes

‘The maximum stake for ‘crack cocaine’ gambling machines is set to be slashed to just £2, following a deal between the Treasury and Downing Street. Whitehall sources last night said the Chancellor Philip Hammond had accepted the case for taking dramatic action against fixed odds betting terminals – FOBTs – which currently allow gamblers to stake £100 every 20 seconds. Mr Hammond is still in talks with Culture Secretary Matt Hancock and Number 10 about how to fill the £400million hole in the public finances which cutting the stake to £2 would produce…The measure has been delayed by the local elections on May 3, but is due to be announced in the coming weeks, pending an agreement on plugging the resulting shortfall in tax revenue. One source yesterday said the new maximum bet would be ‘under £10’. Another said ministers had agreed in principle to cut the maximum stake to just £2 – a 98 per cent reduction.’ – Daily Mail

Williamson: Russia is a far greater threat to Britain than insurgents in Iraq or Afghanistan were

‘Russia poses a “far greater” threat to Britain than insurgents did in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Defence Secretary has said. In a fresh attack on the Russian regime, Gavin Williamson said that the security threat Britain faces has considerably “escalated” in the last three years, and acknowledged that returning to Cold War-levels of defence spending was “tempting”. He told the Commons on Monday: “We have to be realistic about the challenges. The challenges that are posed by Russia are far greater than the challenges that were presented as an insurgency in terms of Iraq and Afghanistan, and how do we get the right mix of military equipment and capability to deal with that increased threat.”‘ – Daily Telegraph

Probing into bullying of Commons staff will not investigate individual allegations (including against Bercow)

‘The Commons authorities are facing a backlash after it emerged an official inquiry into claims of bullying and harassment will not investigate allegations against John Bercow and other MPs. Ex-High Court judge Dame Laura Cox has been appointed to lead the probe in the wake of a slew of allegations about the culture at parliament. But Dame Laura will not be tasked with investigating any individual complaints or reopening past cases – instead examining the ‘nature and extent’ of the problem. Unions warned that the tight restrictions on the probe risked ‘repeating the mistakes of the past’. Dame Laura, who retired from the High Court in 2016, will also consider what options are available for resolving current or historical allegations and the support available to those affected.’ – Daily Mail

ConservativeHome exposes (yet another) anti-semitic Labour candidate

‘A Labour council candidate was revealed to have criticised the protest against anti-Semitism in the party as “Tories after Jewish money”.ConservativeHome reported that Themba Msika posted a series of sick messages after apparently becoming incensed by the “Enough is Enough” demonstration outside Parliament last week.He declared that “Real Jews don’t buy it”, and claimed any Jewish people who support the Tory party were not “real Jews”.’ – The Sun

>Yesterday: LeftWatch: Exclusive: Labour council candidate attacks #EnoughIsEnough protests as “Tories after jewish money” and not “real Jews”

It’s a Royal boy!

‘British flags will be flown at full mast from all Government buildings for 12 hours to celebrate the birth of the new Royal baby, it was confirmed last night. It came as the Prime Minister sent her “warmest congratulations” to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the birth of their baby boy yesterday wishing them “great happiness for the future”. Theresa May tweeted her best wishes after Kensington Palace made the happy announcement yesterday. She wrote: “My warmest congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the birth of their baby boy. I wish them great happiness for the future.” Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson also tweeted his congratulations, saying: “Huge congratulations to Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the safe delivery of their baby boy today!”’ – The Sun

Hale backs no-fault divorce

‘The UK’s most senior judge has called for changes to divorce laws, arguing that rules assigning fault can trigger unnecessary conflict and encourage people to accept unfair blame. In comments that echoed calls by a Times campaign, Baroness Hale of Richmond, president of the Supreme Court, said that no-fault divorce and other reforms should be welcomed as they strengthened family responsibilities. At a conference of family law specialists in Bristol, Lady Hale tackled critics who insist that removing fault from divorces would undermine marriage. “It may seem paradoxical to suggest that no-fault divorce is aimed at strengthening responsibility, but I believe that it is,” she said. “The contents of the [divorce] petition can trigger or exacerbate family conflict entirely unnecessarily. Respondents are encouraged by their lawyers to ‘suck it up’ even though the allegations are unfair. There is no evidence at all that having to give a reason for the breakdown makes people think twice.”’ – The Times

  • Scores of couples might unknowingly still be married after official errors – Daily Mail

A thousand students join class action to get strike compensation

‘More than a thousand university students have joined a class action to claim compensation for teaching that they missed during the lecturers’ strike. Lawyers running the case say that reaching the threshold of 1,000 means they can apply for a Group Litigation Order (GLO). The class action is being organised by Asserson, a law firm that specialises in high-value litigation. Shimon Goldwater, a senior solicitor, believes that the case is very strong and warned that it could mean multimillion-pound payouts. “No other service provider would get away with charging for 25 weeks of a service and cutting that to 22 with no price reduction,” he said. “There is no question that universities owe students fair compensation. More than 20,000 undergraduates attend each large UK university. Paying approximately £500 compensation to each would cost £10 million.”’ – The Times

Macron urges Trump to stay in Syria

‘Emmanuel Macron will urge Donald Trump to keep America engaged in Syria for the long run on Tuesday as the pair meet for face-to-face talks in the White House. The French president is expected to warn that new terrorist threats could emerge if the US disengages from the country as it remains locked in civil war. The White House has confirmed a “way ahead in Syria” will be discussed in what officials predicted will be a “full and free airing of points of view” with Mr Macron. America’s Syrian policy is up in the air as Mr Trump balances his instinctive opposition to foreign intervention with a determination to police a “red line” over chemical weapons use. Mr Trump said last month that US troops would withdraw from Syria “very soon”, only to be convinced by advisers to stay for the time being.’ – Daily Telegraph

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