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Conservative MPs ‘preparing for snap election’

“Conservative MPs are preparing for another snap general election as they fear the Brexit deadlock will become insurmountable for the prime minister. Some have spoken to their local party associations asking to be readopted as prospective parliamentary candidates in readiness for an autumn election. The back-bench MPs acted after meeting Theresa May last week for a private Brexit briefing as she tried to stop a row over Britain’s future customs relationship with the European Union tearing the party apart. But far from being reassured by meeting the prime minister, they left Downing Street convinced that another election could be around the corner. One Tory Brexiteer said he could not see how the government could “square the circle” and come up with a solution on Britain’s future trading relationship with the EU that would appease both sides of the warring party.” – Sunday Times

More Brexit:

  • Boles warns of rebellion if Customs Union membership is not extended – Sunday Express
  • Government ‘incompetence’ is May’s pro-EU strategy, claims Tory donor – Sunday Telegraph
  • UN warns UK to implement ‘green Brexit’ – The Observer
  • Tories accuse Labour of preparing u-turn on second referendum – Sunday Express

Comment:

  • Tribal MPs are doing Brussels’ dirty work – Daniel Hannan MEP, Sunday Telegraph
  • Careful Taoiseach, we could just walk away – Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times
  • Return to common market principles is best way to leave the EU – Stephen Hammond MP, The Observer

>Today: ToryDiary: Boiling the Brexiteer frog

Technology 1) May makes AI pledge to the NHS

“Theresa May will pledge, in a speech this week, to use artificial intelligence (AI) in the NHS to give people five more years of healthy life by 2030. The prime minister will say “five more years of people’s lives will be healthy, independent and active”, and vow to narrow the health gap between rich and poor. She will also commit to a “data revolution” in the NHS so that AI can be used to transform early diagnosis of diseases such as cancer. Ministers have already ploughed £210m into the new technology. The speech, designed to highlight “four grand challenges” in the government’s industrial strategy, also outlines plans to make all buildings twice as energy efficient by 2030 and for Britain to become a world leader in the manufacture of zero-emission vehicles.” – Sunday Times

Technology 2) Hancock and Javid announce internet crackdown

“Ministers pledged tough new laws today to rein in the ‘Wild West’ internet and make Britain the world’s safest country to be online. Cyberbullies, child groomers and terrorists will be the main targets in the crackdown. But proposals outlined last year for a levy on social media firms like Facebook and Twitter to fund anti-online harm measures have not yet been confirmed. Digital Secretary Matt Hancock and Home Secretary Sajid Javid announced the move after releasing new research showing that internet users often felt threatened, with six in ten seeing harmful or inappropriate content. Mr Hancock said: ‘Digital technology is overwhelmingly a force for good, but we have to address the Wild West elements of the internet through legislation.'” – Mail on Sunday

  • Social media companies threatened with tax to counter online crime – Sunday Telegraph

Brokenshire unveils measures to make renting ‘more affordable’

“Rip-off letting fees are to be banned in a move that will save tenants hundreds of pounds every time they move. Housing Secretary James Brokenshire will this week unveil a package of measures to end hidden charges and make renting more affordable. Tenants currently have no power to negotiate and landlords often demand extortionate deposits or unexpected letting fees. But under new rules, families will be able to shop around knowing the price they see is what they pay. The Tenant Fees Bill will give renters total peace of mind, saving them a total £240 million a year. Mr Brokenshire said: “It is unacceptable that hard-working tenants can be stung by hidden charges and unexpected costs. I will clamp down on landlords and agents who impose unfair letting fees and ensure hundreds of pounds goes back into tenants’ pockets.”” – Sun on Sunday

>Today: Philip Booth in Comment: Why the Universal Basic Income is a very bad idea

Russian computer firm accused of spying on British troops

“A Russian computer firm at the centre of a cyber-spying row is targeting thousands of British troops with cut-price security software. Kaspersky Lab is offering servicemen and women a 50 per cent discount on its anti-virus kit. US President Donald Trump has already banned it from all federal agencies amid claims it was used to steal classified information. But it is being offered to 310,000 British troops, veterans and police who hold a Rewards for Forces discount card. Last night a Labour MP warned it could give spies a “back door” into their computers. Former Armed Forces minister Kevan Jones said: “The MoD should as a matter of urgency give advice to Armed Forces members about the risks of anti-virus software.”” – Sun on Sunday

  • Pro-Brexit billionaire accused of trying to ‘bully’ MPs over Russia links – Mail on Sunday

Comment:

  • London’s financial markets help Putin spread instability – Tom Tugendhat MP, Sunday Times

Euan McColm: Labour and the SNP will unite to block Davidson from becoming First Minister

“Could the animosity between these two parties – both competing for what we might describe as the social democrat vote – really be overcome? In the name of preventing a Tory government at Holyrood it most certainly could. As one SNP source put it, if the Conservative Party manages to leapfrog the nationalists in 2021, it will be up to Labour to decide whether it does nothing and lets Davidson into office or it supports the SNP, either formally or informally. The SNP and Scottish Labour have previously worked together on a number of councils but the national narrative remains that they hold fundamentally different values. Further success for the Tories will only show how inaccurate that view is… It is not only SNP and Labour politicians who see the prospect of their cooperation at Holyrood becoming increasingly likely. Tories, too, fear the only flaw in Davidson’s plan is that fact that her opponents are as one on their hatred of their party.” – Scotland on Sunday

Labour select Lewisham candidate

“The deputy mayor of Lewisham council has been chosen by Labour to fight a byelection in the area in June. Janet Daby, viewed as a moderate in the party, beat two other candidates after a hustings on Saturday to be selected as the candidate for the ultra-safe Labour seat of Lewisham East. The Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, said Daby was a “great campaigner” and he looked forward to working with her. The selection followed Heidi Alexander’s decision to stand down from parliament after being confirmed as London’s deputy mayor for transport. Daby, who has been a councillor in the area since 2010, is also director of the Whitefoot and Downham Community Food + Project, which tackles food poverty, and previously worked in social care.” = The Observer

Corbyn ‘sparks Tory fury’ over plans for Northern Ireland visit

“A new row over Jeremy Corbyn’s alleged IRA sympathies erupted last night over plans to make his first visit to Northern Ireland as Labour leader. Mr Corbyn is this week expected to exploit Tory divisions over Brexit by travelling to Belfast and visiting the border with the Republic. But the Opposition leader, whose links with the IRA as a backbench MP were monitored by the intelligence services, sparked Tory fury over a planned event during his visit. Labour insiders said that the party leader was expected to speak at Queen’s University, Belfast, where the IRA shot dead a lecturer at the height of the Troubles. Tory Party deputy chairman James Cleverly accused Mr Corbyn of a ‘callousness and deep lack of respect’, while Democratic Unionist MP Ian Paisley Jnr challenged him to condemn ‘all IRA violence’.” – Mail on Sunday

  • Stormzy rejects chance to play at Labour music festival – Sunday Times

Comment:

  • Corbyn isn’t as unelectable as you think – Dia Chakravarty, Sunday Telegraph

Female MPs demand apology from Bercow over Leadsom remarks

“John Bercow faces a pincer movement from female MPs who are demanding he apologise over his alleged ‘stupid woman’ jibe at a senior Tory Minister. The Commons Speaker was challenged by women from both Labour and Tory benches to say sorry for the remark. Mr Bercow has so far refused to deny he branded Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom a ‘stupid woman’ and ‘useless’ last week. The row deepened yesterday amid reports that he called Ms Leadsom a liar when she privately challenged him over the alleged insult. And last night, senior Labour MP Kate Hoey and Tory Vicky Ford both called on the Speaker to apologise.” – Mail on Sunday

Comment:

  • Double fault, Mr Speaker, now go – Adam Boulton, Sunday Times

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Bercow’s shortcomings as Speaker were distilled in his abandoning the regalia

Prince Charles moves guests to tears with wedding speech

The Prince of Wales described how emotional he felt watching his youngest son, whom he still remembers so clearly as a baby, marrying the love of his life. As he addressed 600 guests gathered at the reception St George’s Hall, there was barely a dry eye as he spoke so warmly about his “darling old Harry” and the man he had grown into. The Prince described how moving it was, at this point in his life, to watch his little boy move on. A little boy, whom he had winded so often as a baby and whom, he joked, might still have a bit of wind today. Guests described how warmly he welcomed Meghan Markle and her mother, Doria Ragland, to Windsor and into his family. Frequently, throughout the course of the reception, he was spotted with his arm around Mrs Ragland.” – Sunday Telegraph

News in Brief:

  • Why Tory Brexiteers’ are swallowing May’s compromises – James Forsyth, The Spectator
  • Remaking the case for the market – Oliver Wiseman, CapX
  • The post-Brexit opportunities of CANZUK are considerable – Jack Powell, Brexit Central
  • Onward – the Tory think tank on a mission to remake conservatism – George Eaton, New Statesman

11 comments for: Newslinks for Sunday 20th May 2018

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