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Observer picks up Javid leading ConHome’s Next Tory Leader survey as leadership challenge speculation revives…

“The shift in opinion has been dramatic. Three months ago Javid was polling just 2%. In the wake of his appointment as home secretary, he took 10% of the vote, coming third. Last month, that rose to 13%. The poll is seen as a reliable barometer of grassroots opinion although it can shift quickly. The latest result seems to suggest a move away from finding a replacement from the old team and looking for someone new. Commenting on the result, ConservativeHome editor Paul Goodman said: “There may be a sense that change is coming sooner rather than later – that Theresa May might not be prime minister by this time next year, or even earlier, and that the time has come to think more probingly about a replacement.” – The Observer

  • Brady makes plea for warring ministers to unite – Mail on Sunday
  • Prime Minister risks ‘bloodbath’ of resignations – Sun on Sunday

Comment:

  • Voters trust May, so ministers must unite behind her – Graham Brady, The Observer

>Today: ToryDiary: Our Survey. Next Tory Leader. Javid tops the poll for the first time.

…but he isn’t the only rival out on manoeuvres

“What the MPs witnessed was another outburst of a widespread Westminster phenomenon – cabinet members “on manoeuvres”. Last week saw the most aggressive jockeying for position since David Cameron’s departure. Gavin Williamson, the defence secretary, was accused of seeking to bring down the prime minister unless she bowed to his demands for extra military spending. “If only our armed forces got to go on as many manoeuvres as Gavin Williamson,” one MP said. Liz Truss, chief secretary to the Treasury, condemned the “macho” posturing of ministers – read Williamson – who want more cash, and the “hot air” emerging from Gove’s department on banning things such as plastic coffee cups.” – Sunday Times

Comment:

  • Divided and out-of-control Tories don’t fear punishment – Andrew Rawnsley, The Observer
  • Truss floors the idea of Commons arm-candy – Sarah Baxter, Sunday Times

May says she won’t be ‘bullied from office’…

“Theresa May has vowed to defy cabinet plotters, telling aides that she will not be bullied out of office by ministers or hardline Brexiteers opposed to her EU plans. The prime minister has decided to stand and fight if Tory MPs force a vote to oust her — declaring that she is content to “win by one vote”. That means the rebels would need 159 MPs to bring her down, more than three times the 48 who would be needed to trigger a vote of no confidence. May’s decision comes as she faces crunch Brexit talks with the cabinet at Chequers this week and MPs revealed that six senior ministers are plotting to succeed her. The prime minister will warn hardline Brexiteers that they will have to remove her if they want to stop the government pursuing a Norway-style Brexit deal that will keep Britain closely aligned to EU rules on the sale of goods.” – Sunday Times

  • Prime Minister ‘fights for soft Brexit’ – Sunday Times
  • Feud as donors blast senior Brexiteers over ‘inflammatory comments’ – Mail on Sunday

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Comment:

  • Behaviour of Cabinet has been ‘bizarre and deeply disloyal’ – Damian Green, Mail on Sunday
  • Ticking clock is starting to work in May’s favour – Adam Boulton, Sunday Times

…as she orders Skidmore to solicit a thousand policy ideas from MPs, peers, and members

Theresa May has launched an appeal for MPs, peers and party members to submit 1,000 policy ideas to form the basis of the Conservative party’s bid to win the next general election. The Prime Minister has announced she has set up a new Conservative Policy Commission in the biggest overhaul of the party’s policy thinking in more than a decade, personally appealing to Brexit voters in particular to offer up their own ideas. The new Commission, chaired by Chris Skidmore MP, has been charged with developing the ideas in time for the Tory party conference next year. The next general election is expected in 2022 but the relatively short timetable means Mrs May will be presented with a ready-made policy platform if she chooses to call an early election in the months after Britain quits the European Union next year.” – Sunday Telegraph

Theresa May: Our mission is to comprehensively renew politics in this country

From shining a light on racial disparities to inform the fight against racism to cracking down on the causes of the gender pay gap by introducing shared parental leave and extending childcare, Conservatives are tackling the injustices that hold people back. In everything we do, we are guided by the belief that whatever your background, age, gender, sexuality, religion, disability – we are all equal citizens of our democracy and equally deserving of freedom, respect and opportunity. As we carry on delivering on this strong agenda of reform, we also need to look towards the brighter future that we will build after we have left the EU. In a world of technological and social change, we need to think creatively about how to help the UK to prosper. So, guided by the values that have shaped our approach in government over the last eight years, the Conservative Party is now about to enter a new phase of renewal in government.” – Sunday Telegraph

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Our survey. Seven in ten respondents believe that there will be a Conservative-led government after the next election.

Pressure on Corbyn as Unite members back vote on Brexit deal

“Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is under fresh pressure to soften his Brexit stance after members of Unite union backed a referendum on the final exit deal. They also warned that quitting the Single Market would leave Britain worse off. Mr Corbyn has been warned his position on Brexit is out of kilter with many Labour Party members who backed Remain. Despite that, he is refusing to back a referendum on the final Brexit deal and insists the UK must quit the Single Market. But a poll of members of Unite – Labour’s biggest donor – has revealed Mr Corbyn is out of step with their views too. Labour peer Baroness Prosser (pictured) said there are ‘growing calls for a people’s vote on a final Brexit deal’. Members supported a vote on the final Brexit settlement by a margin of 57 to 34 per cent.” – Mail on Sunday

Cleverly ‘considering run for mayor’

James Cleverly, the Conservative’s deputy chairman, is considering running as the party’s candidate in the London mayoral election in two years time. Mr Cleverly, the MP for Braintree, is understood to this weekend be “50-50″ on deciding whether to run. The deadline for applications is midday on Wednesday. The Tories are desperate to find a seasoned political operator to take on Labour mayor Sadiq Khan and win back London for the Conservatives in 2020. Justine Greening, the MP for Putney and former Cabinet minister, has ruled herself out of the running as has Baroness Brady, the entrepreneur and star of the BBC’s Apprentice series. Mr Cleverly has repeatedly publicly said he would not run against Mr Khan but he is this weekend reconsidering his decision after approaches from senior party figures.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • Beneath the surface, the Tories are rebuilding their campaigning machine – Rob Wilson, Sunday Telegraph

Ministers 1) Williamson planning ‘peace offering’ on defence budget with pensions plan

“The cost of war pensions and UN peace keeping missions should be stripped out of the defence budget to save £2billion a year, under plans being developed by military chiefs. The idea could be offered by defence secretary Gavin Williamson to Chancellor Philip Hammond as a peace offering after an increasingly fractious war of words over defence spending. Mr Williamson is examining ways to help him fill a £20billion black hole over the next 10 years without cutting core projects or capabilities. It would allow Mr Hammond to offer more money for the Armed Forces without increasing the proportion of national income – 2 per cent – spent on defence.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • Williamson taunts May over ‘sticking plaster’ solution to the military budget – Mail on Sunday
  • Defence chiefs plan to ‘enlist royal support’ for budget boost – Sunday Times

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Editorial:

Ministers 2) Brokenshire to offer tenants three-year letting agreements

Tenants are to given the right to demand three year letting agreements from their landlords. James Brokenshire, the Housing secretary, will set out plans to give private tenants greater security in their homes. The Government hopes that offering longer term contracts will enable tenants to put roots down and feel part of local communities. Both tenants and landlords will be allowed a six month break clause in the agreements so both sides can walk away if there is serious disagreement. Landlords will be permitted to increase levy once a year increases to rents to ensure they keep pace with any interest rate changes. Officials said the plans would “help renters put down roots, and give landlords longer term financial security”.” – Sunday Telegraph

Ministers 3) Hunt to equip paramedics with body cameras

“Paramedics are to be equipped with body cameras. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the move would help protect them from assaults and bring the attackers to justice. It comes amid mounting concern about attacks on NHS staff in England, with 15 per cent suffering physical violence from patients or their families over the past year. In the past 12 months, 352 prosecutions were brought over attacks on ambulance staff, but experts fear this is only a fraction of the total incidents. There are already plans to double the maximum jail sentence for attacks on emergency workers from six months to one year… The body cameras will be piloted in 465 ambulances and their paramedics, with plans to eventually provide all paramedics with the devices.” – Mail on Sunday

  • Thousands join protest over health funding – The Observer

Editorial:

Ministers 4) Hinds unveils new fund to support parents

“Parents who need help teaching their children vital skills will benefit from a multi-million pound fund. Education Secretary Damian Hinds has pledged £6.5 million for reading, writing and language needs. Voluntary and community groups will get a share of the fund to support disadvantaged early years children. Online tools can be bought with the cash or home visits are eligible for reading and singing. Mr Hinds last night said: “Giving every child the best start in life means making sure the right early development opportunities are in place. The funding boost will go top organisations with a proven track record of breaking down learning barriers for children with additional needs.”” – Sun on Sunday

Ministers 5) Grayling prepares for tough action against Thameslink

Crisis-hit Govia Thameslink will be stripped of its rail franchises and forced to give hundreds of thousands of commuters free travel for a month if services do not improve within a fortnight, The Sunday Telegraph can reveal. Chris Grayling, the Transport Secretary, is drawing up plans to remove the Thameslink and Great Northern routes from parent company Govia Thameslink if there is no improvement to services by July 15, when a new interim timetable will be introduced. The services would be run by a government-controlled company while ministers decide on the next steps, including awarding the franchise to a new operator. This week the Government announced Great Northern passengers in Lancashire, Cumbria and Greater Manchester would receive a month’s free travel after delays and cancellations.” – Sunday Telegraph

MPs told to ‘come clean on extra pay’

“MPs will have to be more transparent about any second jobs they have – and could face calls to declare their outside earnings on their campaign leaflets. The independent committee on standards in public life, which is due to publish its report on second jobs this week, is likely to stop short of recommending a cap on MPs’ outside earnings but is expected to propose greater scrutiny. It means parliamentary candidates may be required to make a public statement, or declare their outside earnings, in campaign literature. The committee launched its inquiry in March last year, after George Osborne’s appointment as the editor of the London Evening Standard and a string of other lucrative appointments.” – Sunday Times

Ex-head of MI6 denies MPs’ torture claims

“The former head of MI6 today denied MPs’ claim British spies were complicit in torture and extraordinary rendition during the US war on terror. Sir Richard Dearlove said there had only been a ‘few minor incidents’ of mistreatment in the ‘extreme circumstances’ following the 9/11 attacks. He condemned Parliament’s intelligence and security committee for trawling thousands of records of spooks’ activity to find evidence of abuse. The committee published two reports yesterday and said Britain ‘tolerated’ abuse of prisoners by the US and other nations. It found three instances where Britain paid, or offered to, pay for extraordinary rendition.” – Mail on Sunday

  • Grotesque deeds which stained our democracy – Ian Birrell, Mail on Sunday

Democratic Unionists may be unable to block gay marriage, says Foster

“Arlene Foster has indicated her Unionist party may be unable to block a gay marriage bill in Northern Ireland as she attended an Orange Order march in Scotland. The Democratic Unionist party leader said her party did not have enough votes to veto laws supporting equal marriage in the province by tabling a so-called petition of concern at Stormont. She said the DUP had only 28 votes while a petition of concern – a mechanism at Stormont designed to ensure legislation had cross-community support – needed 30 votes to be tabled. Foster, who is first minister of Northern Ireland but has no effective office after the DUP’s power-sharing government with Sinn Fein collapsed last year, insisted she wanted to see greater tolerance and collaboration once power-sharing resumed at Stormont.” – The Observer

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