Published:

Brexit: May to publish ‘100-page dossier’ setting out her vision…

“Theresa May will publish a 100-page dossier setting out the Government’s Brexit vision in detail next month in a bid to kick-start flagging trade talks. The White Paper will be the biggest Government statement on Brexit since the 2016 referendum, setting out plans on everything from trade, transport and fishing to data protection and security co-operation. The decision to press ahead with the document represents a victory for David Davis, who has been arguing for months that the UK needs to get on the front foot over Brexit. Mr Davis told ministers yesterday the White Paper would include ‘detailed, ambitious and precise explanations of our positions… it should set out what will change and what will feel different outside the EU’. The move comes amid fears trade talks with Brussels have stalled.” – Daily Mail

  • Departure increases risk of economic crime – FT

Comment:

  • Ministers are trying to sign back up to security cooperation – Menzies Campbell, Times Red Box

>Yesterday: Henry Newman’s column: The more we look back to the referendum, and re-fight its battles, the less we get ready for the future

…as Davis warns that her ‘customs partnership’ plans may not be legal

“David Davis has told the prime minister that her favoured plan for a customs partnership with the EU could be illegal under international trade law, The Times has learnt. The Brexit secretary, who backed the Leave campaign, is understood to have raised the threat of a legal challenge in a letter to Theresa May setting out his opposition to the proposal. He has the backing of other Brexit-supporting cabinet ministers, who warned that if the government backed the partnership plan now it would be too late to reverse the policy if significant legal obstacles emerged. “In that scenario you’d end up staying in the customs union because you’d have no other choice,” a senior source said. The attorney-general’s office has been asked to provide an urgent legal opinion before the cabinet makes its final decision.” – The Times

  • Prime Minister urged to make swift decision as Cabinet fails to make progress – Daily Telegraph
  • May promises white paper to break impasse – The Scotsman
  • Barnier mocks May over Cabinet deadlock – Daily Telegraph

Comment:

  • May must get tough with the Lords over Brexit meddling – Matt Ridley, The Times
  • Britain is losing the plot with its customs union obsession – Jeremy Warner, Daily Telegraph
  • Who can now doubt that Corbyn wants hard Brexit? – Rafael Behr, The Guardian

>Today: Nick Boles MP in Comment: For a Brexit that works, we must stay in the Customs Union until early in 2022

Prime Minister to defy Holyrood over Withdrawal Bill…

“Theresa May has made clear that she will push on with her flagship Brexit legislation despite failing to win the backing of the Scottish parliament. MSPs voted by 93 to 30 yesterday to withhold Holyrood’s consent from the EU Withdrawal Bill, the key piece of legislation paving the way for the UK’s departure from the European Union next year. The Scottish parliament’s approval is not legally necessary for the bill to become law, as Westminster can disregard Holyrood, but such a move would provoke the biggest political rift between the two institutions since devolution in 1999. UK government sources made clear that the prime minister would not be deflected from her course. “We are going to push on with this,” one said. David Mundell, the Scottish secretary, insisted that there was still time for the governments to agree.” – The Times

  • Scottish Tories ‘furious’ as stand-off gives separatists hope – Daily Express
  • Wales backs Bill and criticises Scottish stance – BBC
  • First Minister accused of ‘engineering a constitutional crisis – Daily Telegraph

Comment:

  • Ministers should ensure Holyrood gets its powers – Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph
  • Hopes of a referendum decline with Sturgeon’s popularity – Daniel Sanderson, Times Red Box

…as Green warns Brexiteers of an Irish border poll

“Theresa May’s ally Damian Green has warned the PM calling a poll to reunify Ireland in response to hard-Brexiteers who wish to take the process of leaving the EU too far, during a fiery exchange on BBC Newsnight. Mr Green is a former First Secretary of State under Theresa May and appeared on the flagship programme to talk about the Government’s policy towards Northern Ireland. While he said the Government had “no intention” of introducing a border, Newsnight presenter Evan Davies asked Mr Green if the PM was “bluffing” when she told Eurosceptics within her Party there will be another border poll if they pursue too hard a Brexit… Jacob Rees-Mogg had told Theresa May he had “no doubt” the UK would “win” any hypothetical Irish border referendum before comparing it with the 2015 Scottish independence vote.” – Daily Express

  • May’s border poll ‘fears’ played down – News Letter
  • Why the future of Northern Ireland is crucial to the negotiations – The Times
  • No evidence public opinion has changed, says DUP MP – News Letter

More:

  • Spain wants border guards in Gibraltar airport – The Sun

Tory MPs threaten revolt over treatment of ex-servicemen who served in Ulster

“Furious Tory MPs last night threatened a fresh backbench revolt, accusing ministers of “appeasing Sinn Fein” over their refusal to grant veterans an amnesty over killings in Northern Ireland. Backbench Conservatives lined up to let rip in a heated debate on the Government’s decision not to include a time limit on a new £150million five-year probe into Army shootings during the Troubles in the 1970s and 1980s… Ex-defence minister Mark Francois slammed the proposals published by the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) last week as “morally disgraceful” and joined Tory grandee Sir Henry Bellingham in calling for an amnesty for all veterans – wherever they stood – to stop prosecutions on historical incidents.” – The Sun

>Yesterday: Lord Ashcroft in Comment: My pride at working for our military veterans over the past six years

Javid says over sixty Windrush Brits may heve been wrongly deported

“The Home Office is examining dozens of cases where Windrush immigrants might have been wrongly deported, Sajid Javid said today. Mr Javid revealed that 63 long-term British residents could have been kicked out of the country – and admitted that the true figure could be even higher. The blunders have emerged as part of an urgent review launched amid a public outcry over the treatment of Windrush people. Thousands arrived in UK from the Commonwealth between the 1940s and 1970s, and have often worked and paid tax in the UK for decades. But they have become caught up in a crackdown on illegal immigration launched by Theresa May.” – Daily Mail

  • Home Secretary suggests that ‘hostile environment’ is ‘un-British’ – Daily Telegraph

Comment:

  • Warning to the Tories: true-blue suburbs are turning liberal – John Harris, The Guardian

Gove makes Parliament guinea pig for fresh round of bans and taxes

“MPs and peers will be required to pay a 25p “latte levy” if they use a disposable coffee cup in parliament under plans by the House of Commons and House of Lords to reduce plastic waste. Plastic bottles of mineral water will be banned from parliament, with extra water dispensers installed to encourage people to fill reusable bottles. The changes will be introduced this summer and mean parliament will test ideas that the government is considering introducing nationwide. Plastic sachets of ketchup and other condiments will also be banned, with customers at catering venues across parliament serving themselves sauces from refillable containers. Plastic cutlery and straws will be replaced by non-plastic alternatives and disposable coffee cups will be made from compostable material, with incentives for those bringing their own reusable cups.” – The Times

  • Investment in British clean energy collapses – FT
  • Scottish Government posed for ‘full legal ban’ on fracknig – The Scotsman
  • Huhne’s ‘pet green scheme’ sends £23 billion ‘up in smoke’ – Daily Mail

More:

  • Environment Secretary says Tories need to ‘move on’ from the 1980s – Daily Telegraph
  • Stop comparing Corbyn to Venezuela, says Gove – Daily Express

Johnson insists that Iran deal is still viable

“Boris Johnson last night insisted the Iran nuclear deal still “has value” as he held crisis talks with EU counterparts and Iran in a bid to save it. The Foreign Secretary said European leaders would thrash out a last-minute “package of measures” to ensure Tehran doesn’t ditch the accord. And he also pledged to raise “difficult consular cases”, including the plight of jailed British mum Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe. Mr Johnson spoke to reporters as he and counterparts from Germany and France met with Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif… But he admitted that the decision by Donald Trump to withdraw the US and slap new sanctions on Iran would have consequences for UK firms operating there.” – The Sun

  • Foreign Secretary meets French and German counterparts – Daily Mail

Helen Whately: The Government needs to focus on students’ mental health

“University is presented to young people as “the best years of your life”, but for some it’s stressful, lonely and unhappy – occasionally it’s deadly. Bristol University has had ten students take their own lives in less than 18 months.These tragic deaths shine a cold light on the urgent need for better mental health support in universities. There are hundreds of students struggling with anxiety and depression through to psychosis and schizophrenia. It’s miserable for those students and a sad waste of potential as some will fail to succeed in their studies and make the most of university life… The government has recognised the need to improve mental health support in schools, with specialist training for teachers, better links between schools and the NHS, and four-week waiting times pilots. This is backed by an additional £1.4 billion of spending on young people’s mental health over five years. Now it’s time to focus on the mental health of students as well.” – Times Red Box

>Yesterday: Helen Whately MP and Alys Denby in Comment: University doesn’t always mean the best years of your life

MPs 1) Commons votes down Leveson Two… again

“MPs today voted down attempts to launch an expensive Leveson 2 inquiry into the press after unelected peers tried to force the costly probe onto them. The Commons voted last week not to hold another investigation, but the Lords tried to thwart their decision by tabling another amendment calling for one. But MPs again voted down the fresh assault on press freedom after warnings from ministers they must respect the Government’s manifesto pledge not to hold a probe. Critics tore into the Lords for trying to ride roughshod over the will of the elected Commons by tweaking an amendment to the Data Protection Act in order to have another go at forcing through the inquiry. And they warned the Lords risked plunging the country into a constitutional crisis by trying to overturn the Government’s manifesto commitment.” – Daily Mail

  • Ministers announce concessions to see of second attempt – Daily Telegraph
  • Warning to peers after Commons votes down press amendment – The Times

Editorial:

  • MPs wisely affirm their commitment to a free press – The Times

>Today: Alex Morton’s column: Are you angry with the Lords? If so, don’t threaten to abolish or elect it. Here’s a better reform.

MPs 2) Committees urge investigation into ‘big four’

“British MPs have demanded the UK’s big four accountancy firms be referred to competition authorities for potential break-up following the collapse of government contractor Carillion, calling them a “cosy club incapable of providing the degree of independent challenge needed”. The recommendation by members of two powerful parliamentary committees was contained in a damning 100-page report on Carillion’s failure, which also accused the government, regulators and Carillion board members of failing in their responsibilities, often because they acted “entirely in line with their own personal incentives”. Carillion, which went into liquidation in January with liabilities of £7bn and just £29m in cash, was “a giant and unsustainable time bomb”, the report found. Its failure, one of the biggest in the UK in recent times, exposed “systemic flaws” in corporate Britain and its “toothless” and “feeble” regulators.” – FT

  • MPs dole out the blame over Carillion collapse – The Guardian

MPs 3) Facebook CEO still has no plans to answer to Parliament

“Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg ‘has no plans’ to meet with the British Government after three million Facebook users were exposed in a new data leak. British lawmakers had asked Facebook to fully answer 39 extra questions after the tech giant had not addressed all of its concerns during a parliamentary hearing… the social network is facing continued questions from lawmakers in the UK and US, and Mr Zuckerberg has been threatened with a formal summons to appear before a parliamentary inquiry into fake news after a recent testimony by chief technology officer Mike Schroepfer was labelled ‘unsatisfactory’ after he failed to answer a number of questions from MPs.” – Daily Mail

  •  Company closes more than one billion fake accounts – The Times
  • Tougher cyber defences against Russia urged – FT

Editorial:

Unite and Momentum back different candidates for Lewisham East by-election

“Unite and Momentum are expected to back rival candidates for the battle to become Lewisham East’s next Labour MP, the Guardian has learned. Momentum’s national coordinating group is likely to back Lewisham councillor Sakina Sheikh, a former student campaigner who has close links with the grassroots group. Unite has already formally backed Islington councillor Claudia Webbe, a member of Labour’s national executive committee (NEC) and a former adviser to Ken Livingstone. A Momentum source suggested the group wanted to back a candidate with local credentials. “The local Momentum heavily backs Sakina and it feels like she will get the national backing, as they are keen to make sure it’s a local candidate with the endorsement of local members,” the source said.” – The Guardian

Labour bosses urge MPs to help promote struggling ‘leftie Glasto’

“Labour bosses are begging MPs to send out adverts for a “leftie Glasto” music festival after they apparently failed to sell enough tickets. Party chiefs recently emailed every Labour MP asking them all to send out links to the festival’s website on social media. They are keen to flog more £35 tickets to the event, named Labour Live – which features left-wing political speeches alongside musical performances… The £35 passes – with a £5 discount available for the unemployed – have been on sale for nearly two months. But insiders say just 1,800 of the total 20,000 available have been sold, according to PoliticsHome… The event has also been mocked after it emerged that under-18s are only allowed to go if they’re accompanied by a parent – even though Labour wants 16 and 17-year-olds to get the vote.” – The Sun

News in Brief:

  • How we could be heading for another snap general election – George Trefgarne, The Spectator
  • NUS politicians do not speak for ‘one million students’ on Brexit – Madeline Grant, CapX
  • Euroscepticism is eating away at Europe – Alex King, Reaction
  • Nothing could be less central to the Brexit debate than the Lib Dems right now – Lembit Öpik, Brexit Central

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