Brexit: Davis ‘tore into May’s Brexit strategy’ in hour-long showdown…

“David Davis tore into Theresa May’s Brexit strategy yesterday in a morning of drama that saw the Prime Minister come within minutes of her government collapsing. The pair met for an hour-long showdown in the Prime Minister’s ornate wood-panelled Commons office after a year of simmering tension with her Brexit Secretary. And Mr Davis took the chance to let rip – raging about the direction in which her EU exit strategy was heading. After months of keeping quiet at being sidelined by civil servants, Mr Davis called time on “Brexit backsliding”. Although he had not explicitly threatened it, Mrs May sensed the Cabinet heavyweight was on the verge of walking out – and could take his Brexit junior ministers with him.” – The Sun

  • Prime Minister concedes ‘end date’ to border compromise plan… – Daily Mail
  • …but cut-off date is ‘meaningless’ – The Sun
  • New proposal ‘protects Northern Ireland’, says Dodds – Belfast Telegraph
  • Standoff ends without fireworks – FT
  • Anxious hours yield ‘show of unity’ – The Times
  • Ireland stresses need for ‘progress’ on backstop – FT


  • Davis was outmanoeuvred, despite apparent victory – Henry Zeffman, The Times
  • Is this really all it took to seduce the Brexit Secretary? – Janet Daley, Daily Telegraph
  • Concessions will not alter the course of Brexit – Sam Coates, The Times
  • This time, at least, Davis’ histrionics achieved something – Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph


  • The long-feared sellout has moved a giant leap closer – The Sun
  • One work in the backstop attests to the importance of pragmatism – The Times


…as Johnson clashes with Hammond…

“The Cabinet was in open warfare last night after Boris Johnson accused the Chancellor of trying to block Brexit. In an extraordinary intervention, the Foreign Secretary branded Philip Hammond’s Treasury ‘the heart of Remain’. The comments will pile pressure on the Prime Minister to sack her Chancellor. Mr Johnson also warned that the Government was in danger of delivering a Brexit betrayal and dismissed Treasury warnings about the economic impact of leaving as ‘mumbo jumbo’. And, in a swipe at Theresa May, he suggested Donald Trump would make a better job of negotiating Brexit, saying: ‘He’d go in bloody hard… There’d be all sorts of breakdowns, all sorts of chaos. Everyone would think he’d gone mad. But actually you might get somewhere.'” – Daily Mail

  • Foreign Secretary urges Brexiteers to ‘take fight to the enemy’ – The Times
  • Leaked comments expose Cabinet divisions – The Guardian
  • Businesses fuming over lack of consultation on departure – The Sun


  • Chancellor is acting as a one-man road block against Brexit – Alex Brummer, Daily Mail
  • May’s compromise just might work, and many of her MPs agree – Fraser Nelson, Daily Telegraph


…and Duncan causes confusion by floating referendum on deal

“Foreign Office minister Alan Duncan today risked plunging the Government into fresh Brexit turmoil when he said that Britain could hold a referendum on the exit deal. Remainers have called for another vote on the terms of the deal in the hope this would effectively force the PM to keep the UK in the EU single market and customs union. Theresa May has insisted that another vote cannot be called it would bind her hands in negotiations with Brussels and leave Britain with a worse deal. But speaking in Berlin today, Sir Alan  – Boris Johnson’s deputy – suggested another vote could be held in comments that are likely to spark fury among Brexiteers, according to Bloomberg.” – Daily Mail

  • Government prepares to challenge most Lords amendments – The Times
  • Tory rebels offered ‘breathing space’ on key bill – The Guardian
  • Prime Minister to repeal Parliament’s ‘meaningful vote’ – Daily Express
  • May seeks to finalise Brexit bills by summer – FT

Andrew Gimson: Conscientious but rather limited, the Prime Minister is doomed

“Theresa May is doomed. The threatened resignation of David Davis is symptomatic of a much wider loss within her own ranks of the at-best tepid belief that she can bring the Brexit negotiations to a successful conclusion. One saw this on Wednesday at prime minister’s questions, when her own backbenchers, instead of uttering sycophantic vacuities or sitting in uneasy silence, started to voice their concern at her failure to deliver. A year after she failed to win the landslide victory she expected in the general election that she had so unnecessarily called, Conservatives are fed up with having a leader who does not lead. The sense that the prime minister has had her chance, and has shown she is not up to the job, is not confined to Westminster.” – Times Red Box

>Today: Iain Dale’s column: It’s a year today since the election reverse which has left May adrift.

May 1) Demand that web giants automatically delete misogynist abuse

“Web giants such as Facebook and Twitter must automatically remove vile abuse aimed at women, Theresa May will demand today. The Prime Minister will urge companies to utilise the same technology used to take down terrorist propaganda to remove rape threats and harassment. Speaking at the G7 summit in Quebec, Mrs May will call on firms to do more to tackle content promoting and depicting violence against women and girls, including illegal violent pornography. She will also demand the automatic removal of adverts that are linked to people-trafficking. At the meeting of the leaders of the G7 nations – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US – Mrs May will argue they must ensure women can use the web without fear of online rape threats, harassment, cyberstalking, blackmail or vile comments.” – Daily Mail

  • GCHQ warns that cyber attacks may soon cause deaths – Daily Mail

May 2) Environmental ‘blue belt’ to expand

More than 40 new conservation areas will be created in Britain’s waters under plans to create a “blue belt” haven for marine life. Theresa May is announcing plans to create 4,600 square miles of protected marine habitats on Britain’s coastline, increasing the current area by more than 50 per cent. The so-called “blue belt”, the maritime equivalent of Green Belt”, is designed to protect rare species such as the short-snouted seahorse, stalked jellyfish, peacock’s tail seaweed and the tentacled lagoon-worm. The new zones span much of England’s coastline, from the South West to Berwick on the Scottish border. Any activities considered harmful to the environment, such as dredging or significant coastal or offshore development, will be barred.” – Daily Telegraph

May 3) Warning to EU not to get sucked into Trump’s trade war

“Theresa May urged the EU to draw back from escalating a trade war with the US last night as she flew to a G7 meeting overshadowed by President Trump’s protectionist offensive. The prime minister presented herself as a bridge between the US president and his outraged western allies as she urged restraint while heaping praise on Mr Trump’s diplomatic efforts with North Korea. President Macron of France warned Mr Trump that the other G7 nations “don’t mind being six, if needs be” on the eve of a summit in Quebec, Canada. “Nobody is for ever,” the French president added, as he urged other leaders to stand up to Mr Trump following his decision to slap tariffs of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminium from the EU, Canada and Mexico.” – The Times

  • Fox welcomes ‘soaring’ exports – The Sun
  • President annoyed by ‘schoolmistress’ Prime Minister – The Times


  • G7 leaders should press hard to reverse Trump’s protectionism – The Times

May 4) Fresh pressure after court ruling on Ulster abortion law

“Theresa May is today under fresh pressure on abortion after the Supreme Court said Northern Ireland’s ban was a breach of human rights. The PM faces calls to defy her DUP allies – in a move which could bring down her Government completely. Supreme Court judges turned down a bid from campaigners to overturn the near-total ban on terminations in Northern Ireland. But despite striking out the appeal on a technicality, they said the law was incompatible with the Human Rights Act. The court added that the ban needs “radical reconsideration” in order to protect the rights of Northern Irish women.” – The Sun

  • Sinn Fein claim move is ‘blocked’ by Tory deal with DUP – The Guardian

Foreign Secretary ‘defies gag’ to speak out against Heathrow

“Boris Johnson has defied a the PM’s gag on speaking out against Heathrow’s third runway – suggesting the airport is ‘not the right place’ for expansion. The Foreign Secretary made clear his disapproval after the Cabinet finally signed off the project in principle this week. Theresa May wrote to ministers after the announcement on Tuesday, warning that they must not publicly oppose the plans on the national stage. But Mr Johnson, who previously vowed to ‘lie down in front of bulldozers’ to prevent Heathrow expansion, told a Conservative Way Forward event last night: ‘It’s the right idea, not in the right place.’ Mrs May is facing a backbench rebellion when the plans to build a third runway are voted on in Parliament over the next few weeks.” – Daily Mail

Gyimah warns against ‘worthless courses’

“Graduates from Russell Group universities earn around 13 per cent more on average than those from other similar institutions. Figures show those from the highest earning universities make an average of around £40,000 a year for women and more than £50,000 for men five years after leaving. By contrast, graduates from the lowest earning institutions typically take home below £20,000, according to figures published by the Institute for Fiscal Studies. They were shared yesterday by Sam Gyimah, the universities minister, at the Higher Education Policy Institute conference in London. He warned too many universities were getting ‘bums on seats’ for worthless courses.” – Daily Mail

  • Universities face smaller share of €100 million research fund – The Times


  • What determines graduate earnings? – Chris Belfield and Laura van der Erve, Times Red Box

Ex-servicemen send Bradley white feather for refusing to meet them

“Veterans have sent the Northern Ireland Secretary the symbol of cowardice after she refused to meet them to discuss investigations into killings during the Troubles. Karen Bradley was sent a white feather after she tried to palm off campaigners with a meeting with civil servants. The Justice for Northern Ireland Veterans group (JNIV) wants a time limit for “legacy” prosecutions. But last month Mrs Bradley launched a four-month consultation into legacy incidents and dropped a Government pledge to consider granting an amnesty. Three former soldiers have been charged over incidents in Northern Ireland in the 1970s and hundreds more face investigation as part of the peace process. Yet 300 IRA terrorists were freed from prison early and about 150 suspects were given Letters of Comfort by Tony Blair guaranteeing they would not be prosecuted.” – Daily Express

  • Robinson floats fixed polls on Irish unification to stabilise Northern Ireland – Belfast Telegraph

>Yesterday: Henry Hill’s Red, White, and Blue column: Bradley refuses to rule out fresh Assembly elections for Northern Ireland

Committees: Morgan calls for TSB boss to be fired…

“Scandal-hit bank TSB must sack its boss Paul Pester before he causes serious damage to trust in banking, say senior MPs. The chief executive was slammed for being secretive and failing to set out the scale of the problems faced by TSB’s customers after an IT meltdown left 1.9million people unable to access their accounts. Nicky Morgan, chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, said the banker had lost the confidence of her group and should not remain in his post. In a letter to the lender’s chairman Richard Meddings she said: ‘The committee considers that the TSB board should give serious consideration as to whether Mr Pester’s position as chief executive of TSB is sustainable.'” – Daily Mail

  • Reforming capitalism is too risky for the Tories – Philip Collins, The Times

…as Tugendhat warns that British fans are at risk in Russia

Russian police may turn a blind eye to crimes against British football fans during the World Cup, MPs have warned. A report by the foreign affairs committee, published today [Friday], says fans risk being attacked as a result of “anti-British sentiment” because of the deterioration in relations between Russia and the UK since the Salisbury attack. British police warn fans that displaying the St George’s flag in public could being “increased attention and risk”, as would any “provocative actions”… Tom Tugendhat, chair of the committee, said: “Vague reassurances from Foreign Office ministers have not been enough to reassure us that UK nationals will be safe, regardless of their background or sexual orientation.”” – Daily Telegraph

>Today: ToryDiary: The Electoral Commission didn’t stop what was happening in Tower Hamlets – is it really capable of thwarting Putin?

Cameron says aid target is his ‘proudest achievement’

“David Cameron has said that one of his proudest achievements while at Number 10 was binding Britain to spend at least 0.7 per cent of national income on foreign aid each year. In his first public appearance in Westminster since he left Downing Street, the former prime minister said: ‘Two years give you time to reflect about the things you got wrong, and the things that you got right. ‘The decision to deliver 0.7 per cent of our gross national income in aid is one of the things that I am proudest of.’… The 0.7 per cent pledge was protected by law following a historic vote in March 2015. Mr Cameron, who left office in July 2016 after losing the Brexit referendum, was speaking at the launch of a new aid campaign in Parliament Square.” – Daily Mail

  • Former Prime Minister says rise of populism must be engaged with – The Times

Mercer tackles London thug…

“Former Army captain Johnny Mercer tackled a racist thief to the ground as he hurled a glass bottle at a shop keeper in the capital. The heroic Tory MP, hotly tipped for a top job, threw the man to the ground and restrained him outside an off-licence in central London in the early hours of Wednesday morning. An onlooker said the man was pinned down but then the shop keeper told Mr Mercer to let him go because he believed ‘the police would do nothing’. Mr Mercer, a former captain with 29 Commando Regiment, told the Mail: ‘I simply did what anyone else would do when faced by a man throwing bottles and being racist towards a shopkeeper, minding his own business and earning a living.’” – Daily Mail

  • Law must catch up with moped gangs – Clare Foges, The Sun

…as Khan admits that he is responsible for dealing with London’s crime wave

“London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he was responsible for the surge in violence on the capital’s streets – before blaming government cuts for the problem. The mayor, who also acts as the city’s Police and Crime Commissioner, was quizzed by Londoners on an LBC radio call in today. He was accused of being unclear over the issue of spiralling violence in the city as appeared to accept and reject responsibility for the crime wave… But he went on to blame government cuts for reduced funds for police, saying: ‘All of us except for the Government accept there’s a link between cutting resources and serious violent crime.'” – Daily Mail

  • Report reveals ‘cost’ of electing Labour mayor – The Sun

SNP divided by Brexit and austerity

“The Scottish National party’s most detailed economic prospectus yet for independence is “re-energising” public debate about Scotland leaving the UK, according to Nicola Sturgeon, SNP leader and the country’s first minister. But those attending the SNP’s spring conference in Aberdeen on Friday in the hope of an early push for independence are likely to be disappointed following publication of the report by the party’s Sustainable Growth Commission. The commission’s analysis last month outlined a more sober – and fiscally credible – case for a separate Scotland than the Pollyannaish vision the SNP offered ahead of the 2014 independence referendum, when Scots rejected leaving the UK by 55 to 45 per cent.” – FT

  • Eurosceptic voters are fleeing the Nationalists, report finds – Daily Telegraph
  • Leave vote has failed to boost support for independence – The Sun
  • Campaigning duchess quits SNP over ‘disconnect’ between party and members – The Scotsman


News in Brief:

  • Labour must stop telling its Leave-backing voters they got it wrong – Robert Flello, Brexit Central
  • Is Corbyn softening his Brexit stance? – Ben Kelly, Reaction
  • Pakistan’s soft coup – Jon Boone, CapX
  • Liberalism has broken us – we need a new party to call Home – Giles Fraser, UnHerd
  • Orban and Salvini are redefining democracy in Europe – Stephen Bannon, The Spectator