Cabinet Brexiteers “warn May” against pushing through her customs proposal…

“Theresa May faces being publicly denounced by Cabinet’s most senior Brexiteers if she steamrolls their objections to her favoured plans for a customs deal with the EU, senior figures have said. Cabinet sources warned the Prime Minister not to attempt to force through a “hybrid” proposal which they said would fail to meet promises made during the referendum campaign and in the Tories’ 2017 manifesto. Senior figures also warned that Britain was “losing time” in the negotiations both because of the delay in Mrs May making a final decision on a plan for future customs arrangements, and as a result of No 10 putting off a Commons vote on keeping the UK in the tariff-free customs union.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • They “threaten open revolt” – Mail on Sunday
  • Johnson yelled “It’s 6-5” at the war cabinet vote last week – The Sunday Times
  • Duncan Smith says May needs to “seize golden opportunity” of leaving – Sunday Express

>Yesterday: Iain Duncan Smith in Comment: May’s ministers have rejected the customs partnership. In clinging to to it, Number 10 is making a mistake

…As she speaks of “absolute determination” to be out of Customs Union “by end of 2020”

“Theresa May has vowed to get Britain out of the EU Customs Union as quickly as possible. She brushed off fears she has gone soft on Brexit — and told of her “absolute determination” to get out by the end of 2020. But worried Brexiteers fear she will try to strong-arm ministers into backing a slightly tweaked version of the same deal. The PM only needs to win over three members of her team to get it through a crunch Cabinet committee next week. Brexit cheerleader Jacob Rees-Mogg warned: “It is nonsense to suggest we must find a compromise.”” –  The Sun on Sunday


Labour peers accuse their party’s leadership of Brexit “paralysis”

“Labour peers launched an attack on the party leadership last night, accusing it of “paralysis” and “cowardice” over Brexit policy, as bitter recriminations over disappointing local election results burst into the open. The row exploded as calls grew for a full post-mortem into why Labour failed to make more decisive progress in key council battlegrounds and lost control in others, despite the Conservatives being mired in crises over immigration, Brexit and the NHS. Although the party performed better in London than at any time since 1971, it was unable to take Tory strongholds in the capital, including Wandsworth, and fell short in several councils where it hoped to make gains, failing to win in Nuneaton, Derby and Basildon.” – Observer

  • Flint claims Labour frontbench trying to “remove fixed exit day” – Sunday Express


  • The UK needs a deal. We should all get on with it – Caroline Flint, Sunday Telegraph

Gordon: We’re a few weeks away from “veering off the constitutional map”

“It was a cry of desperation. When David Mundell pitched up at Holyrood on Thursday, he was asked about the stalemate between Edinburgh and London over the EU Withdrawal Bill. The night before, the House of Lords had amended Clause 11 of the Bill in line with a deal accepted by the Welsh Government, but rejected by the Scottish one. With UK insiders calling it their ‘final offer’, and Nicola Sturgeon refusing to recommend it to Holyrood, it means the slow-motion constitutional crisis of recent months is set to continue. With no agreement meaning a dogfight at the UK Supreme Court, Holyrood withholding consent for the EU Bill, and Westminster likely to impose it on Scotland regardless, we are now just a few weeks from veering off the constitutional map. The dispute is ostensibly about consent.” – Herald

  • Meanwhile, high turnout in Glasgow’s Scottish independence march – Observer

More comment:

  • We need “serious leadership soon”, or there could be an “almighty crisis” – William Keegan, Observer
  • Javid’s rise “looks set to shift government on Brexit” – Macer Hall, Sunday Express
  • Meanwhile, here’s why the Pope should visit NI – Ben Lowry, Belfast News Letter


Hunt considering making “silver strivers” continue to pay NI as “care tax”

“Nearly 1.3m “silver strivers” — those working beyond the state pension age — would have to start paying national insurance to prop up the social care system, under plans being considered by the government. At present, people stop paying national insurance when they reach state pension age. But under the proposed “care tax”, the 12% charge would continue to be levied, raising about £2bn a year. The measure is one of a range to be published next month by Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, in a green paper on care and support for older people, to meet a huge shortfall in funding. The care tax will also be backed in a report by the Intergenerational Commission to be published on Tuesday.” – The Sunday Times 


Johnson travelling to Washington today for talks to “persuade Trump not to scrap Iran deal”

“Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary, is travelling to the United States as part of a last-ditch diplomatic effort to persuade Donald Trump not to scrap the Iran nuclear deal. The US president has fiercely criticised the agreement, which eased sanctions on Tehran in exchange for commitments to abandon its nuclear weapons programme. Mr Trump will decide on May 12 whether to reimpose sanctions and effectively torpedo the international alliance behind the deal. The Foreign Secretary will travel to Washington on Sunday for two days of talks with senior administration officials including vice president Mike Pence.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • But he’s “not scheduled” to be discussing the issue with Trump… – Daily Express
  • …who has been criticised for his comments about London knife crime – Daily Express

Electoral Commission to examine pilot results in next stage of voter ID plan

“Ministers will push ahead with plans to make voters supply ID nationwide after Tory MPs denied claims that 4,000 people were turned away from polling stations last week. They claimed the true figure was more likely to be in the low hundreds and most of those affected did vote successfully in local elections after returning with proper identification. Ministers say voters currently have to show more identification to open a bank account than to cast their votes. But Labour accused the Conservatives of attempted vote-rigging, claiming that Labour voters are less likely to have forms of ID like passports than Tory supporters. The pilot results will now be examined by elections watchdog the Electoral Commission. A Cabinet Office spokesman said insisting on voter ID was a “reasonable and proportionate measure” and that the “overwhelming majority” had cast their ballots without a problem. MPs will have the final say on whether to adopt the scheme.” – Sunday Express


More government

  • Ministers hopeful about new online “click to split” divorce system – The Sunday Times

May: Thursday night “was a good night for the Conservatives”

“Last Thursday, millions of people across England went to the polls to vote for their local councillors. It was a good night for the Conservatives. In communities such as Walsall, Dudley, Sutton and Nuneaton, Conservatives broke new ground. In Barnet, Redditch, Basildon and Peterborough, we took over control of the local council. The real winners were not politicians but ordinary people. This is because more people can now enjoy the benefits of having a well-run Conservative council: Lower council tax and better services. The campaign itself was revealing. Across the country, Conservative candidates were out on the doorsteps, fighting positive campaigns. We took nothing for granted but knew we had a compelling message which would resonate with voters. I was proud to go out knocking on doors alongside them — people of all ages and all backgrounds, united by a determination to build a better future for their local area and for our whole country.” – The Sun on Sunday


  • She should take comfort from lack of opposition for party leadership – The Sunday Times 

Lewis: My thoughts on the results

“…Polls, expert commentators and senior Labour politicians told us Labour would be making sweeping gains across the capital and the country. But what we have seen is voters responding to our strong Conservative record of delivering good local services while keeping taxes down. There were some disappointments, such as Richmond and Trafford, but we have made gains when we were told all we could expect were losses. In Basildon, Redditch, Barnet and Peterborough we have taken control of councils. In Hillingdon, Tamworth, South End and Epping Forest we increased our majorities. And even in Labour strongholds like Hackney, we won two council seats.” – Sunday Telegraph


Bercow has been reported to the standards watchdog. Leadsom is “embarrassed”

“John Bercow has been reported to the standards watchdog over allegations he bullied members of his staff, as a cabinet minister warned the harassment scandal surrounding the Commons Speaker had left a “cloud hanging over parliament”. Andrea Leadsom, leader of the House of Commons, said she had been “embarrassed” by the claims of bullying being made by parliamentary staff. Her comments come days after Angus Sinclair, 65, Bercow’s former private secretary, told BBC2’s Newsnight that he had also been bullied by the Speaker. Lieutenant-General David Leakey, a former Black Rod, accused Bercow of “bullying and unreasonable” behaviour. In an interview with The Sunday Times, Leadsom said: “I am so grateful to the [House] staff who do so much for us . . . and so the allegations that have been raised with me have come as a shock.””  – The Sunday Times

  • “Growing number” of Tory MPs questioning his future as speaker – Sunday Telegraph


  • It’s all about “rage” – Catherine Bennett, Observer

More Conservatives 

>Today: ToryDiary: Our survey. Only a third of Tory members want to keep the Lords as it stands.

More from other parties

  • Police believe Corbyn death threat came from Russian bot – The Sunday Times
  • Abbott joins Windrush rally – Observer
  • Cable talks of “beginning of the comeback of the Lib Dems” – Sunday Express

News in Brief

  • Is May actually trying with Brexit? – Patrick O’Flynn, BrexitCentral
  • On Windrush – David Goodhart, Spectator
  • Marx’s place in Labour – Oliver Wiseman, CapX
  • The end of ETA – Isabel Woodford, Reaction
  • Cricket and class – Peter Wilby, New Statesman