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Brexit 1) Sixty MPs tell Downing Street they oppose the Customs Partnership plan

‘Theresa May has been warned her government will “collapse” if she does not abandon plans for a post-Brexit customs partnership with the EU. Sixty eurosceptic Tory MPs from the European Research Group, led by Jacob Rees-Mogg, have sent the Prime Minister a 30 page report detailing their opposition to the plan. Number 10 have been directly warned in correspondence that accepting a customs partnership will lead to a “collapse” of the government because it would mean Mrs May cannot deliver a clean break from the EU and would lose the support of Brexiteers. Sources have told the Telegraph that the Tory MPs will consider withdrawing support for Government Bills in Parliament, which would lead to legislative paralysis and put Mrs May’s future as leader in doubt. The threat of rebellion grew when David Davis wrote to Mrs May in recent days arguing “strongly” against the idea.’ – Daily Telegraph

Editorials

>Yesterday:

Brexit 2) Timothy: May should reject this impractical and restrictive scheme

‘It seems unlikely to work. The EU has dismissed it as impossible, and it involves significant risks for Britain. It would almost certainly require “full regulatory alignment” with the EU, meaning that after Brexit we could not change our laws and regulations in a long list of ways. It would create a bureaucratic burden on businesses…when Theresa May chairs her Brexit Cabinet Committee meeting, she should lead ministers to a clear decision about the Government’s favoured customs policy. That decision should be to reject the “new customs partnership” and pursue instead the Government’s own alternative proposal: its “highly streamlined customs arrangement”. As politicians and customs experts from around Europe have said, this approach is not only workable but desirable. As Bertie Ahern, the former Irish prime minister, says, it would help avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland. And it would minimise bureaucracy and limit new barriers to trade with Europe. But it would also guarantee Britain could pursue an independent trade policy and strike trade agreements with the world’s fastest- growing economies.’ – Nick Timothy, The Sun

  • Ministers fear the Prime Minister will try to fudge it again – The Sun
  • Downing Street sources say she does not plan to ‘boot out’ one policy today – The Guardian
  • Full Cabinet will discuss the issue next week – The Times
  • Ambiguity continues to serve Labour well – Anand Menon, The Guardian
  • National capitals round on Brussels over space programme stand-off – The Sun
  • The UK will launch its own satellite GPS network – The Times
  • Hammond plans to disrupt technology transfer – FT

Brexit 3) Fox warns Lords that blocking Brexit will raise “big debate” over their constitutional status

‘Liam Fox last night put Lords reform back on the table as pro-EU peers faced a furious backlash over trying to block Brexit. The Cabinet Minister said there would have to be a “big debate” over the powers of the upper chamber if they continued with their efforts to overturn the result of the EU referendum. The International Trade Secretary was a fierce defender of the unelected House of Lords when the Lib Dems pushed to have it reformed in 2013. But yesterday he hit out as Remainer Tory rebels continued to side with Labour to bog down the government’s flagship EU Withdrawal Bill. He told the BBC: “It is not acceptable for an unelected house to try to block the democratic will of the British people”, adding there would be “big debate” if the “unelected House” was able to “thwart the view of the British electorate”. Mr Fox said a slew of amends to the exit legislation was designed as a “backdoor mechanism” to delay exit from the EU “indefinitely”.’ – The Sun

Tories urged to turn out in locals to prevent “Bolsheviks in charge of your bins”

‘Senior Conservatives have admitted that the Tories could be decimated in London and even lose traditional strongholds such as Wandsworth and Westminster. There is mounting concern that the backlash over Brexit in the Capital could be compounded by fury over the treatment of Windrush migrants threatened with deportation. A Cabinet source said: “Fundamentally these local elections are an indicator of how the general public think the Government are doing. This is a judgement on the Prime Minister, it has the potential to be hugely damaging. They [Number 10] might say it doesn’t matter, that it’s priced in, but it does. Even the most optimistic projections look like a disaster. We could be locked out of London for a generation”…Brandon Lewis, the Chairman of the Conservative Party, warned that if Tory supporters fail to get out and vote they will end up with “Bolsheviks in charge of your bins”. He told The Telegraph: “The fact is Conservative councils deliver better local services. And charge less for them.” – Daily Telegraph

>Today:

Rail electrification is a waste of money, says Jo Johnson

‘A national programme of electrifying all Britain’s major railway lines would be a waste of money, the rail minister has said. Jo Johnson effectively ruled out electrification despite claims from MPs that it was the best way to cut pollution and deliver more reliable journeys. Last year, the government sparked anger by cancelling three electrification projects in south Wales, the East Midlands and the Lake District. It said that the same benefits could be delivered quicker and cheaper by using new “bi-mode” trains that run on a combination of electric and diesel power over different parts of the network…Mr Johnson said: “Our view as a government is that full electrification of our rail network is highly unlikely to be the best value-for-money way of achieving the passenger benefits and the environmental benefits that we’re seeking to achieve.”’ – The Times

Update 4/5: Times apology to Mandie Campbell

“We stated incorrectly that Mandie Campbell, former director general of immigration enforcement, received a bonus of up to £10,000 “for removing illegal migrants” (News, May 2). Ms Campbell’s bonus was paid in arrears for her work as Chief Operating Officer of Border Force during 2013-14. She did not receive any bonuses for her work as director-general of Immigration Enforcement. We apologise to Ms Campbell for the error.” – The Times

  • Javid is looking at scrapping the ‘tens of thousands’ pledge and implementing an annual quota – The Sun
  • Quotas are better than an immovable and arbitrary limit – The Sun Says
  • Labour pushes for exemptions for foreign doctors – The Guardian
  • The Home Office is deporting highly-skilled migrants for minor tax errors – Daily Telegraph
  • Greening is wrong – don’t punish Etonians, improve state schools – Sherelle Jacobs, Daily Telegraph
  • Women and equalities ought to be a full-time Cabinet brief – Sophie Walker, Daily Telegraph

>Today: ToryDiary: The Rudd debacle highlights a problem. Many of the Government’s special advisers are no good.

>Yesterday: James Frayne’s columns: The Home Office is famously hard to run, but Rudd might have survived had she had a better grip on it

Corbynites target Javid with racist online abuse

‘Labour was plunged into a new race row last night after its supporters bombarded Sajid Javid with abuse. Councillors, party members, activists and followers of Jeremy Corbyn targeted the new Home Secretary with racially-charged slurs. Mr Javid, the first ethnic minority MP to lead the Home Office, was branded a ‘coconut’ and ‘Uncle Tom’ – notorious terms used to accuse someone of betraying their heritage. The race row comes as Labour leader Mr Corbyn continues to be dogged by claims that he is failing to stamp out anti-Semitism in the party. On Sunday it was revealed that his official Facebook page is littered with vile slurs against Jews, left by followers below a message Mr Corbyn posted about meeting Jewish leaders last week.’ – Daily Mail

  • Lammy and Cooper’s Windrush work is a glimpse of the Labour we could have had – David Millward, Daily Telegraph
  • Investigation into Vaz referred back to police – The Sun
  • Left-wingers’ exaggerated sense of moral superiority leaves them prone to fake news – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: LeftWatch: Javid has committed a sin for which the Left will never forgive him: success

Resolution Foundation calls for ‘failed’ Inheritance Tax to be replaced

‘Inheritance tax should be scrapped and replaced by a system that is fairer and harder to avoid, an economic think tank has said. Death duty is a “failed” and “unfixable” tax which does not keep up with modern society, according to the Resolution Foundation. Adam Corlett, Senior Economic Analyst at the think tank, said inheritance tax “manages the uniquely bad twin feat of being both wildly unpopular and raising very little revenue.” The taxman collected £5.2bn from inheritance tax in 2017-2018, a 53% rise in four years, figures from HM Revenue & Customs show…Despite the increase, IHT still only amounts to 77p of every £100 raised nationally and just 4 per cent of estates are subject to it… Mr Corlett said that “rather than tweak our failed inheritance tax system, it should be scrapped altogether.” The think tank has called for the tax to be replaced with a “lifetime receipts tax” instead, which would typically have lower tax-free thresholds but also lower rates.’ – Daily Telegraph

Bercow’s former private secretary speaks out about bullying

‘A Tory MP has called on John Bercow to resign after a former aide accused the Commons Speaker of bullying him. Angus Sinclair, the Speaker’s former private secretary, said that Mr Bercow had demeaned and physically intimidated him, once smashing a mobile phone on his desk. Mr Sinclair also told Newsnight on BBC Two that Mr Bercow had mimicked him and used obscene language. Mr Sinclair took “compulsory early retirement” in 2010 and was paid almost £90,000 on condition that he sign a non-disclosure agreement, which he broke by speaking out last night.’ – The Times

  • The Speaker denies it – FT

Britain, France and Germany argue for the Iran deal

‘Britain and France have rejected Binyamin Netanyahu’s televised bid to undermine the Iranian nuclear deal, saying he succeeded only in reinforcing why the historic agreement is needed. The Israeli prime minister staged a heavily trailed televised presentation from his defence ministry on Monday night. He unveiled half a tonne of documents said to have been seized by Israeli spies from Iran’s atomic archives. Mr Netanyahu’s intervention comes as the deadline approaches for President Trump to decide whether to extend the agreement as its six other state signatories have urged. Britain, France and Germany are racing to persuade him to stick to the deal, which has imposed strict inspections on Iran in return for the easing of sanctions.’ – The Times

News in Brief

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