Brexit 1) May urges Brexiteers: ‘trust me’

“Theresa May today seeks to break the deadlock in her warring cabinet and party over their differences on Brexit by declaring “trust me to deliver” and vowing: “I will not let you down.” Writing for The Sunday Times, the prime minister adopts the language of the Brexiteers as she promises to “take back control” of Britain’s borders, money and laws, but says: “There will have to be compromises.” Her intervention comes after tensions in the cabinet exploded into the open last week as Boris Johnson launched an attack on the prime minister’s preferred option for a post-Brexit EU customs partnership. The foreign secretary dismissed the proposal as “crazy”, saying it would deny Britain control of trade policy. Johnson and David Davis, the Brexit secretary, favour “maximum facilitation”, which would let technology help so-called trusted traders cross the Northern Ireland and other EU borders freely.” – Sunday Times

  • Grassroots say Tories will lost trust for a generation if Brexit fudged – Sunday Telegraph
  • Prime Minister says she is 100 per cent for quitting the customs union – Sun on Sunday
  • A dozen Cabinet ministers set to block ‘customs partnership’ proposals – Sunday Telegraph


  • I’ll take back control, but I need your help – Theresa May, Sunday Times
  • Failure to lead is damaging the economy – Simon Heffer, Sunday Telegraph

>Today: ToryDiary: Staying in the Customs Union until 2022. The pluses. The minuses.

Brexit 2) ‘Fear of Sinn Fein’ at heart of Government resistance to Holyrood power-grab

“The UK Government has held firm against Nicola Sturgeon’s demands on the Brexit power dispute because of fears they would give Sinn Fein a veto over UK policy. Scotland on Sunday understands there are grave reservations across Whitehall about the concessions being sought by the Scottish Government and the potential for them to be exploited by the party formerly led by Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness. Sturgeon and her Brexit minister, Michael Russell, are objecting to the UK government’s EU Withdrawal Bill arguing that it represents a power grab from Holyrood to Westminster. On Tuesday, the dispute will come to a head when SNP and Labour MSPs combine to withhold Holyrood’s consent to the Bill – a move which will be seen as another step on the road towards a full-blown constitutional crisis.” – Scotland on Sunday

Brexit 3) David Miliband joins Morgan and Clegg to launch UK political ‘comeback’

“David Miliband will tomorrow launch his comeback in UK politics by joining an all-party move to stop ‘hard Brexit’ cheerleaders Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg ‘holding Britain to ransom’. The former Foreign Secretary, pictured, will deliver the broadside on a shared platform with former Liberal Democrat Deputy Premier Nick Clegg and ex-Tory Cabinet Minister Nicky Morgan. In a move that is bound to renew speculation of a new Centre Party, they will call on MPs to ‘reject siren calls to completely sever the UK’s deep economic ties with the EU’. Writing in today’s Mail on Sunday, the trio warn: ‘A hard Brexit won’t create Global Britain. It is merely a path to a fantasy island of our own where we will have reduced access to our largest markets and a diminished standing in the world.’ – Mail on Sunday

  • Starmer’s ‘right hand man’ backs second vote – Sunday Express
  • Kinnock accuses Corbyn of ‘evasion of duty’ on the Single Market – Mail on Sunday


  • Britain must resist march to ‘hard Brexit’ fantasy land – Nicky Morgan, David Miliband, and Nick Clegg, Mail on Sunday
  • May must confront her fantasy Brexiteers – Sir Keir Starmer, Sunday Times
  • Fury of Brexiteers who rage against everything British – Andrew Rawnsley, The Observer
  • Debate now returns to the Commons – Macer Hall, Sunday Express

>Yesterday: Mohammed Amin in Comment: Brexit and the duty of every Parliamentarian

Letwin explores forcing big developers to ‘parcel out’ house-building land

Britain’s biggest developers could be told to hand over chunks of their building sites to smaller firms as part of a package of measures being considered to help solve the country’s housing crisis, The Sunday Telegraph can disclose. A government-appointed panel is understood to have found that the construction of homes is being slowed down as a result of a high proportion of planning permissions being granted for large sites owned by single developers. Sources said that the group, chaired by Sir Oliver Letwin, the Conservative MP, is examining ways sites could be split up to allow smaller firms to take over portions of the land on which they would build their own homes. Some large firms are understood to have accepted they could “parcel out” more land to other companies, but have warned that forcing them to do through changes to planning laws could create unnecessary additional bureaucracy for councils and result in small and medium-sized firms being offered work they will not always want to take on.” – Sunday Telegraph

Atkins to consult on civil partnerships for straight couples…

“Straight couples will be asked by the Government if they would like the option of having a civil partnership rather than getting married. Minister for Women Victoria Atkins is to launch a poll on the issue this month. The move comes before the start of a Supreme Court case tomorrow challenging the law restricting civil partnerships to same-sex couples. In a civil partnership – which came into law for same-sex couples in 2005 – a couple is entitled to the same legal treatment in terms of inheritance, tax, pensions and next-of-kin arrangements. Last night, a spokeswoman for the Equal Civil Partnerships campaign said: ‘If the government is allowed to have its way, it could be a decade or more before all couples have the same choice of marriage or civil partnership. ‘Both the court of appeal and the government itself agree that the current situation is unfair and sustainable but all we are getting are delaying tactics.'” – Mail on Sunday

  • Mordaunt hints that Government may simply scrap them – Sunday Times

…as she gives up part of role over conflict of interest concerns

“The drugs minister has been accused of a “massive conflict of interest” after it emerged that her husband operates Britain’s largest cannabis farm. Victoria Atkins has now stopped speaking for the government on cannabis and other aspects of her drugs brief. The Home Office said she had “voluntarily recused herself from policy or decisions relating to cannabis”. Her husband, Paul Kenward, is managing director of British Sugar, which last year started growing substantial amounts of marijuana in Wissington, Norfolk, under a licence from the Home Office, the department at which she is a minister. The crop covers an area equivalent to 23 football pitches. Growing the drug is normally illegal, with a penalty of up to 14 years in prison. However, Kenward’s crops are for a new epilepsy medicine soon to be approved in the US, although Atkins’s government is sceptical on the medical use of cannabis. The licence was issued in 2016 before Atkins became a minister in 2017.” – Sunday Times

  • Javid meets sniffer dogs as drugs found in the Home Office – Mail on Sunday

Bradley says Tories are failing to engage young voters

“Ben Bradley, the 28-year-old MP appointed by Theresa May to increase the party’s youth appeal, suggested that it was failing to “engage” many young people who support Labour despite holding “Conservative values”. His admission came as a YouGov poll showed that 44 per cent of 18-24-year-olds will “definitely” not vote Conservative at the next election, with the figure rising to 49 per cent for 25-39 year olds. Only 16 per cent of 18-24-year-olds, and 26 per cent of those between 25 and 39, said they would definitely not vote Labour. Mr Bradley states that the polling, in a report by the Centre for Policy Studies think tank, shows “a consistent level of support for broad Conservative values, which are clearly shared by a much higher percentage of younger people than just those who voted Conservative in 2017. “” – Sunday Telegraph

  • Majority of British youth will not support the Conservatives in 2022 – Sun on Sunday
  • Million students to join call for vote on Brexit deal – The Observer

Rifkind calls for rendition inquiry

“The former foreign secretary Malcolm Rifkind has called for a parliamentary inquiry into the rendition of the Libyan dissident Abdel Hakim Belhaj. Rifkind said the intelligence and security committee (ISC), the panel of MPs and peers that provides oversight of the UK’s intelligence agencies, was best placed to investigate the roles of the then prime minister, Tony Blair, his foreign secretary, Jack Straw, and other government ministers in the 2004 rendition. Belhaj and his wife Fatima Boudchar were flown from Bangkok to Tripoli in an operation involving MI6, the CIA and Muammar Gaddafi’s intelligence services. The British government this week announced that it had reached a “full and final” settlement with the couple over the incident. The attorney general, Jeremy Wright, told the House of Commons that the prime minister Theresa May had written to Belhaj and Boudchar to apologise for the “appalling” treatment they had received.” – The Observer

  • Britain set aside the rule of law and moral principles – Will Hutton, The Observer

Jacob Rees-Mogg: Peers will fail the people if they try to insist on Leveson Two

“The second chamber that acts within constitutional conventions is beneficial and helps prevent the “elected dictatorship” that our system of government can create. Asking the Government and the House of Commons to think again is both reasonable and valuable — it also has a distinguished history… There is a rule that the Lords does not oppose manifesto commitments. It was introduced in the 1940s to stop an inbuilt Tory majority blocking the then Labour government’s programme. It has relevance of a particular kind today when a Labour and LibDem majority could vote down any government proposal it dislikes. As was found in the 1940s, the Lords needs to observe this self-denying ordinance if it is to maintain credibility, otherwise it quickly becomes a matter of Peers against the People.” – Sun on Sunday

Labour leader accused of ‘betraying’ ex-servicemen

“Angry Army veterans have accused Jeremy Corbyn of betrayal for backing Sinn Fein in a row over soldier prosecutions. It came after a proposed amnesty for those who served during the Troubles was scrapped. The Labour leader’s office said he believed any protection would have to be supported by “both communities” in Northern Ireland. Sinn Fein, the political wing of the IRA which is now the largest nationalist party in Northern Ireland, opposes a time limit on investigations. Alan Barry, who runs the campaign group Justice for Northern Ireland Veterans, said: “During the Troubles Corbyn was pandering to the IRA and now he is still pandering to them and to Sinn Fein.” The former Grenadier guard is filming a documentary, The Great Betrayal, which he says will highlight the unfair treatment of his members.” – Sunday Express

Corbyn promises ‘new deal for workers’ at TUC rally

“Jeremy Corbyn has called for ‘decency in society’ and demanded a ‘new deal’ for workers during a Trade Union Congress (TUC) march through London today. The Labour leader spoke to thousands who joined him on the streets of London today, where the TUC were protesting what they labelled the worst pay squeeze in modern history. Corbyn told the rally: ‘This demonstration today is about workers rights, it is about collective endeavour but above all, it’s a declaration that we’re around to campaign as long as it takes, to bring about that social justice and that decency in society.’ He added a Labour government would boost training for young workers, build more homes and nationalise some sectors so consumers would be given a greater say in how companies were run, or if they should be sold off.” – Mail on Sunday


  • You’re losing the working class, comrade – Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times
  • Flat taxes raise more from the rich – Daniel Hannan MEP, Sunday Telegraph

Labour drops second candidate as vetting concerns mount

“Labour has dropped its newly selected parliamentary candidate for the key target seat of Welwyn Hatfield after The Sunday Times learnt her companies owe unpaid tax. Tara-Mary Lyons had run up large debts in two businesses, then dissolved them without paying. As well as owing an alleged £480,000 to HM Revenue & Customs, the companies owe hundreds of thousands of pounds to suppliers and former staff. A serving Labour councillor, Lyons has five outstanding county court judgments against her personally, totalling nearly £21,000. The case will raise further questions about Labour’s vetting procedures. Mandy Richards, the party’s candidate in another key seat, Worcester, was sacked two weeks ago after this newspaper revealed she was a fantasist subject to 14 High Court restraining orders.” – Sunday Times

Banks would back Farage if he defected to the Democratic Unionists

“Arron Banks, the millionaire former Ukip donor, claims he would back Nigel Farage if he decides to join the DUP to win a seat in parliament. Banks made the claim after attending a DUP fundraiser alongside Farage in Northern Ireland on Friday night. Farage, who leads the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy grouping in the European parliament, told the audience he intended to serve out his term as an MEP which ends next year. But Banks claims Farage did not rule out joining the DUP after that. “He [Farage] leads the largest MEP group in the European parliament and he will continue until his term expires, but what he didn’t say is what he would do when his time expires. “If he were he to consider joining the DUP in order to run for parliament, I am sure there are many people, including myself, that would be supportive,” Banks said.” – Sunday Times

Bercow to stand down next year ‘on his own terms’

“John Bercow intends to stand down as Speaker of the House of Commons next year. He refused to be drawn on his plans last week when asked to allow MPs a debate on a possible replacement, but has told friends he will resign next year. Potential successors include the Deputy Speaker, Lindsay Hoyle, and the Labour MP Harriet Harman. A source said: “His wife Sally and their children have grown tired of living in parliament and been urging him to call it a day. But he has no intention of letting anyone push him out of the job, so has indicated that he will go on his own terms next year when he has served 10 years.” A small group of Tory MPs is trying to unseat the Speaker in the run-up to June 22 — the date he pledged to quit when he sought election almost nine years ago.” – Sunday Times

  • Angry MPs compile dossier of Speaker’s ‘rants’ – Sun on Sunday

Baroness Jowell passes away

“Former Cabinet minister Tessa Jowell has lost her battle with brain cancer, it was announced today. The Labour former minister launched a campaign to improve care for patients after being diagnosed with brain cancer a year ago. She died with her husband and children by her side on Saturday, aged 70, a family spokesman said. In January Baroness Jowell brought her fellow peers to tears and received the first ever standing ovation in the House of Lords as she told of her diagnosis and fight to improve care. Last month the Labour peer made an emotional return to the House of Commons to hear MPs across the political divide praise the ‘bravery’ and courage of her battle against cancer.” – Mail on Sunday

News in Brief:

  • Why should we give in to EU blackmail over the Irish border? – Lionel Shriver, The Spectator
  • Escaping the Irish straitjacket – Oliver Wiseman, CapX
  • Brexit rebels could trigger a general election – Sir Bill Cash, Brexit Central
  • Jowell’s speech to the House of Lords on cancer, full text – New Statesman