Brexit: Eurosceptics preparing to ‘push back’ against latest border plan

“Eurosceptics are preparing to fight to make sure Britain is tied to the EU’s customs union beyond the end of 2020 only on a short-term basis as it emerged that there are limits to the type of trade deals possible under the plan agreed by the cabinet this week. Senior cabinet figures expect a series of difficult meetings of the Brexit war cabinet in the next three weeks about what kind of immigration system Britain will offer after Brexit and the level of divergence from the single market. These matters need to be settled before the European Council meeting at the end of June. On Tuesday Theresa May secured the war cabinet’s agreement to a proposal to break the deadlock over the Irish border by keeping the whole UK aligned with EU customs tariff rates.” – The Times

  • New backstop must not last longer than two months, says Duncan Smith – Daily Telegraph
  • Varadkar insists Britain maintains Single Market ties – Daily Mail
  • DUP MP urges the Government not to back down – Belfast Telegraph
  • May to ‘force confrontation’ with pro-EU Tories next month – Daily Express


  • Cabinet’s trade compromise with the EU may finally sink May – James Forsyth, The Sun
  • Ten reasons Brexiteers are currently losing the argument – Sam Coates, The Times

>Today: ToryDiary: Will Italy’s new government blow the bloody doors off? Don’t get your hopes up. (Or your fears either.)

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: A lesson from Wednesday evening in the Commons. May might win a Customs Union vote after all.

May says Sturgeon is only opposing Brexit legislation to push for independence

Theresa May has argued that the only reason Nicola Sturgeon opposes the Government’s Brexit Bill is that the SNP leader wants to use the row in her fight to break up the United Kingdom. Mrs May told the Welsh Conservative conference that Ms Sturgeon is the “only First Minister in the UK” who has rejected the EU Withdrawal Bill and argued this was directly linked to the fact she is “the only First Minister who wants to break up the United Kingdom.” In an outspoken intervention that increases the pressure on Scottish Labour and the Scottish Liberal Democrats, both of which backed Ms Sturgeon, the Prime Minister argued that politicians should support the legislation if they believe in the UK’s “integrity”, value and future. The Scottish Tories also demanded that Richard Leonard, the Scottish Labour leader, spell out why his MSPs refused to give their consent to the Bill when it was supported by the Welsh Labour government in Cardiff.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Does Scottish politics need another Salmond comeback? – The Scotsman


  • Tories won’t be forgiven for getting Brexit wrong, says Morgan – The Times

Syed Kamall: Ending free movement will allow us to fix a racist immigration system

I believe part of the mess is due to targets over immigration. Since so-called “freedom of movement” from the EU means that we cannot put caps on EU migrants, most of whom happen to be white, it means we put restrictions on non-EU migrants, most of whom happen to have dark skin. This leads to a racist immigration system. One of the reasons I voted to leave the EU was that I want to see a fair immigration system based on the needs of the British economy rather than crude caps on non-EU migrants. Some have accused all Leave voters of racist motives – yet it was the Remain campaign which put out a leaflet that boasted of “stopping non-EU families coming to the UK”. During the referendum campaign, I met a number of people who voted Remain who told me they were in favour of immigration, but wanted to see “the right sort of immigration.” What they really meant was they preferred “the white sort of immigration.”” – Daily Telegraph

Ministers 1) Hands says Government will protect NHS during trade talks

“Ministers have vowed to defend the National Health Service against White House attempts to use post-Brexit trade negotiations to force it to pay more for prescription drugs. There is a “real threat” that the United States will force the NHS to pay billions of pounds more for drugs after a senior Trump administration official pledged to increase pressure during forthcoming trade talks. Greg Hands, the international trade minister, insisted that the government would protect the health service during negotiations with the US. “I think the most important thing to understand, with all trade agreements, is that no trade agreement prevents a country from having the domestic right to regulate,” he told The Times. “We have always been clear that, in all trade agreements, the NHS will be protected.” NHS England already spends about £16 billion a year on drugs.” – The Times

  • Johnson to visit Argentina on Brexit tour – The Sun

Ministers 2) Government considers new rules on internet abuse

“UK ministers are leaning towards tougher standards to tackle internet abuse, in a sign of politicians’ mounting frustration with technology companies. The new rules, which are intended to protect the mental health of young people in particular, could lead to internet users seeing fewer sexist and racist comments online. The government had previously appeared content to play a coordinating role, leaving Facebook, Google and other technology giants to agree voluntary codes of conduct. A consultation document published last October said the government would “address online safety by bringing groups across society together” and called for “close partnership with industry, drawing on their technology and engineering expertise”.” – FT

Ministers 3) Eustice open-minded about ‘latte levy’

“A ‘latte levy’ of 25p to discourage the use of disposable coffee cups moved a step closer yesterday as environment minister George Eustice said the Government had an ‘open mind’ about introducing such a charge. The Daily Mail has called for a levy as part of the campaign to turn the tide on plastic debris which pollutes our seas. There are more than 2.5 billion plastic cups used each year, but just one in 400 is recycled. The Environmental Audit Committee has suggested a 25p charge would discourage their use – a so-called ‘latte levy’. During a backbench debate yesterday, Mr Eustice said suggestions that the levy idea had been abandoned were incorrect, adding: ‘We do believe this is a very important issue.’ A Treasury consultation on single-use plastics, including coffee cups, closes today.” – Daily Mail

  • Incineration tax could boost plastic recycling – The Times

More tax:

May increases pressure on Bercow…

“Theresa May today said it is ‘unacceptable’ for the Commons Speaker to call a senior Cabinet minister a ‘stupid woman’ and ‘f*****g useless’, if the allegations are true. John Bercow is said to have muttered the foul-mouthed phrase about Andrea Leadsom during an angry exchange in the Commons after PMQs on Wednesday. Mr Bercow is already facing multiple allegations of bullying his staff,, and the latest allegation has renewed calls for him to quit from the influential parliamentary role. Commenting on the allegation today, the Prime Minister’s official spokeswoman said: ‘We have seen the alleged remarks, and clearly the Prime Minister thinks they are unacceptable, and if an official complaint is made it should be properly investigated.'” – Daily Mail

  • The Speaker won’t go quietly – Rob Wilson, Daily Telegraph
  • Shame on MPs’ committee for double standards! – Peter Oborne, Daily Mail

…as she’s challenged to ‘come clean’ over nuclear deal…

“The PM was urged to come clean on Friday over claims a Japanese firm is being paid £13billion for a new UK nuclear plant. Sources in Tokyo said ministers had offered Hitachi loans to construct the power station in Anglesey, North Wales. According to Reuters a deal could be unveiled as early as next week. It comes a fortnight after company execs met the Prime Minister. According to Reuters a deal could be unveiled as early as next week. It comes a fortnight after company execs met the Prime Minister. A Business Department spokeswoman said: “We don’t recognise these reports. Discussions are commercially sensitive.” Experts say Britain’s ageing nuclear reactors, which supply more than 20 per cent of our power, will go offline by 2025.” – The Sun

…and makes new appointments to the Lords

“A close friend of Theresa May and a woman who claims that Jeremy Corbyn embodies the spirit of Keir Hardie are among a list of 13 political appointments to the House of Lords today. Downing Street slipped out the latest tranche of political appointees late yesterday, a day before the royal wedding, in a move critics said was clearly designed to minimise scrutiny. Lady Meyer, who has repeatedly spoken of her friendship with the Mays, is among nine new Conservative peers. The 65-year-old founder of campaign group Action Against Abduction, and wife of former diplomat Sir Christopher Meyer, defended the prime minister after her disastrous speech to the Conservative Party conference last year.” – The Times

  • Prime Minister names new peers despite calls to trim Upper House – FT
  • Lilley, Pickles, and Tyrie join the Lords – The Guardian
  • Corbyn’s new peer defended members suspended over antisemitism – Daily Telegraph
  • Did the Lords overstep the mark on Brexit? – FT


  • The Lords may save us from hard Brexit, but it’s still ridiculous – Rafael Behr, The Guardian


Tory peer who fought for Leveson Two signals the retreat

“A Tory peer who tried to resurrect plans for another multi-million-pound Press inquiry yesterday told his fellow plotters it was time to give up. Lord Attlee urged the Lords to abandon any more challenges after the Commons rejected an attempt to stage a further Leveson-style probe for a second time earlier this week. The peer, who was one of three Tories to back a rebel amendment to the Data Protection Bill, said they should not seek to hold the legislation ‘to ransom’. He added: ‘We have had a good battle and now we have lost. We should not pursue it further. We should not hold a time-sensitive Bill to ransom in order to force the Government to change policy. In my opinion, that would be wrong.’” – Daily Mail

  • Watson’s job is to fix Walsall traffic, not hammer the press – Jeremy Clarkson, The Sun

Scottish Tory leader says party must embrace a more liberal outlook

“Conservatives must embrace a more open, liberal outlook in order to win over younger voters who see the party as anathema, says the leader of the Scottish Conservatives Ruth Davidson. Writing in the Guardian, Davidson argues: “The crash generation simply don’t trust the motivation of the right. Given the hand they’ve been dealt in the past decade, there’s little wonder. A bolder narrative about the benefits of our free society and a bit more practical delivery is required if we’re to show we want to speak to all, and act for all.” Pointing to “depressing” polling conducted by YouGov for the Centre for Policy Studies, which revealed that nearly half of 18- to 24-year-olds would never vote Tory, Davidson acknowledges that voting Conservative has become counter-cultural for the under-40s and urges the party to learn from her success in Scotland.” – The Guardian

  • Fellow Tories, I’m afraid the post-crash generation just don’t trust us – Ruth Davidson, The Guardian

>Yesterday: Claire Ward in Comment: If the Conservatives really want to work with trade unions, they will back one in its struggle with Boots

Rayner throws her hat into the leadership ring

“Labour’s Education boss Angela Rayner threw her hat in the ring for the party leadership last night saying she was as “good as anyone else”. In a direct challenge to Jeremy Corbyn she said she could do a “better job” than the PM. In the interview with the BBC’s Nick Robinson for his podcast she said it would be a “disservice” to the feminist movement not to put herself forward as Labour leader. She said: “One of the things that I’ve learnt through the feminist movement, and Harriet Harman says in her book she felt she’d let the feminist movement down because she didn’t actually go for leader and she could have been the leader and she’s the best female leader we never had… So if I look at what Theresa May doing at the moment for example, I could do a better job than Theresa May.”” – The Sun

Labour front bencher ‘caught plagiarising Obama’

“A Labour frontbencher has been caught out plagiarising Barack Obama’s famous 2008 acceptance speech when she was re-elected as an MP last year. Parts of Kate Osamor’s address after being re-elected are nearly identical to the speech the former US President made after winning the race for the White House. But the shadow international development secretary swapped out Mr Obama’s references to America for Edmonton – her constituency in north London. Ms Osamor today denied stealing the extracts and insisted it was meant as a nod to the Mr Obama who made history when he was elected the US’s first black president in 2008.” – Daily Mail

Royal wedding is today

“Prince Harry has been spotted leaving his hotel as he today ties the knot with Meghan Markle. The 33-year-old royal and US actress will today marry in the wedding of the year, with fans already descending on Windsor to catch a glimpse of the loved-up couple. The 36-year-old bride spent her last night as an unmarried woman with her mum Doria Ragland at Cliveden Hall, yesterday saying she felt “wonderful” ahead of the big day. She will today walk down the aisle at St George’s Chapel – entering by herself before being joined by her future father-in-law Prince Charles. The US actress’ own father Thomas Markle officially pulled out of the wedding after a tumultuous week where it was revealed he had posed in staged paparazzi photos.” – The Sun

News in Brief:

  • Will no-one rid us of Jamie Oliver? – Alex Massie, CapX
  • Liz Truss to Tory voters: build on the green belt or get Prime Minister Corbyn – Fraser Nelson, The Spectator
  • Revive the Commonwealth Relations Office as an antidote to the EU – Adrian Hill, Brexit Central
  • How Latin America’s Pink Tide turned – James Bloodworth, UnHerd
  • Britain should pay the Indian Ocean Rim more attention – Reaction