Corbyn’s path to power is being cleared by voter anger over Brexit – as Tory supporters move to back the purple parties

“The Conservatives would lose 59 seats in the event of a general election, making Labour the largest party in the Commons, according to an exclusive poll of polls for The Sunday Telegraph. Iain Duncan Smith, the former Conservative leader, and Amber Rudd, the Work and Pensions Secretary, would be at “high risk” of being voted out. Experts said the dramatic fall in support was down to anger among Tory voters “at the Government’s failure to deliver Brexit”. Prof Sir John Curtice, ­president of the British Polling ­Council, said Leave supporters had been “drawn back to either Ukip or Nigel Farage’s newly launched Brexit party”.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • New poll 1): Labour 36 per cent, Conservatives 29 per cent – Sun on Sunday
  • New poll 2): Labour 32 per cent, Conservatives 28 per cent – Sunday Express
  • Hammond says Soft Brexit deal with Labour likely, second referendum before October unlikely – Mail on Sunday
  • Labour MEPs push for second referendum – Observer
  • Open Europe poll says that voters would back May’s deal if she explained it better – Sunday Times
  • Social democrats and Finnish nationalists slug it out in election – Observer

John Curtice: Leave voters have lost faith in the Conservatives ability to deliver the referendum result

“Support for the Conservatives among Leavers has fallen by no less than 12 points since mid-November. In contrast, it has fallen by only three points among those who backed Remain. Leave voters have been drawn back to either UKIP or Nigel Farage’s newly launched Brexit party. The combined tally for the two parties (some polls include the Brexit party in their list of options while others do not) now stands at 11 per cent – or at more than twice the level of UKIP support in mid-November. Given that hardly anyone who voted Remain supports UKIP or the Brexit party, this means that just over 20 per cent of those who backed Leave are now saying they would vote for one or other of the two Eurosceptic parties.” – Sunday Telegraph

> Yesterday: Tom Hulme on Comment – Conservative support is growing for a second referendum. It’s time to commit to one.

Brexit Party launch, Day Two: Farage says “Fight back”…

“The Brexit Party leader told a roaring crowd Britons were “lions being led by donkeys” during a patriotic speech that saw him tear into Theresa May’s Tory Government and die-hard Remainers for refusing to honour the result of the 2016 EU referendum. He said: “I find myself standing here in my sixth European election campaign. “I shouldn’t be here, you shouldn’t be here, this shouldn’t be happening, we should have left the European Union. “But I’m damned if after 25 years I’m going to roll over and let these politicians do this to us!
“So let’s fight back! Let’s fight back! We won’t stand for it! We won’t stand for it!” – Sunday Express
“Up to 40 Conservative candidates are believed to have applied for membership – and 26 MPs have privately told him they will vote for his party.” – Sun on Sunday

  • Annunziata Rees-Mogg claims support from Conservative activists – Sunday Times

> Yesterday: ToryDiary – What proportion of Tory members will vote for the Brexit Party?

…As pro-EU parties prepare to maximise their vote in the European elections

“Pro-EU parties, including the Liberal Democrats, the Greens and the Independent Group, will not form pacts or alliances at the forthcoming EU elections, hoping to use the poll as a “soft referendum” to show a surge in support for remain. If no Brexit deal is passed by parliament, the UK will be required to hold the poll on 23 May. The Lib Dems, the mainstream party hoping to capitalise most on anti-Brexit discontent, has almost finalised its manifesto and plans a huge operation of ground campaigning targeting remain voters.” – Observer

  • EU leaders pin hopes on Europhile election candidates destroying Brexit – Sunday Telegraph

> Today: ToryDiary -Should Conservative MPs and members vote for the Party in the European elections (if they happen)?

Bercow “to break promise to stand down and stay on instead to destroy Brexit”

“Until last week’s decision by European Union leaders to allow Brexit to be delayed until the end of October, Mr Bercow had intended to make a statement to the Commons on April 23 declaring that he was finally making way for a successor after ten years in the job. But he is understood to have now ‘ripped up’ the statement after coming under ‘huge pressure’ to stay put from pro-Remain MPs. “The source said: ‘The MPs have put him under huge pressure not to leave the Chair until Brexit is sorted. He is now unlikely to give any hint of his going until after the summer recess at the earliest – and may well wait to see if the new October 31 deadline is met before hanging up his boots.” – Mail on Sunday

  • Tory MPs collect signatures in plan to remove him – Sun on Sunday

Conservative leadership 1) Two former 1922 Committee Chairmen say: there’s nothing to stop Conservative MPs changing the leadership challenge rules to oust May

“We would like to make two simple points. Firstly, the 1922 Committee drew up the current rules concerning confidence votes and have thus have ownership of them. These rules state that there is a 12 month period. This may or may not be a good provision. However, if MPs believe that this rule is an impediment to their proper function and responsibilities for the leadership of their Party it is quite within their right to change these provisions. While as Conservatives we understand that properly functioning organisations require rules, we also understand that rules are there to serve their organisation. They are not the master. Conservative MPs are responsible for their party. If they wish a change these rules there is nothing standing in their way.” – Archie Hamilton and Michael Spicer, Sunday Telegraph

  • Next Tory leader: no self-promoters (i.e: no Johnson), please – Patrick McLoughlin, Sunday Times
  • Tory Chairmen call on May to go – Sunday Telegraph

Conservative leadership 2) Eric Pickles: my five rules for a Tory leadership contest

“There must be a full campaign and a choice of candidates for the membership. Resist any demand for a truncated campaign or a coronation. This cheats the membership and ironically also the MPs. Being good in the Commons is not enough. It’s not until you see colleagues on the campaign trail that you truly get their measure. How persuasive are they? Can they lead and get the best out of a team? How do they handle the pressure of a nation-wide campaign? How good are they at dealing with 24-hour news, social media and other methods of modern communications? If number two on the ballot drops out they should be replaced by number three and so on.” – Eric Pickles, Sunday Telegraph

Conservative leadership 3) Hunt the front-runner, then Raab and Javid on his heels: Johnson trailing

“Jeremy Hunt, the foreign secretary, is seen in the “unenviable position” of being the early front runner with one observer saying he has pledges of between 70 and 80 Tory MPs. Both Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary, and Dominic Raab, the former Brexit secretary, are said to have won the unofficial backing of 40 MPs. Further behind is Boris Johnson, the former foreign secretary, who is sitting on a “core support of 25 MPs without having to work” rising to – according to his cheerleaders – as many as 70 MPs, including Jacob Rees-Mogg, the ERG chairman. Each is tailoring his or her offering to MPs who have to whittle the field down to just two candidates to go in front of the membership.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • Leadership election manoeuvres: Hunt-backing McLoughlin attacks Johnson, so does Team Javid, Gove is lobbied to stand – Sunday Times
  • Javid, Hunt, Johnson pitch to the Tory social justice caucus – Sunday Times
  • Onward research says that Johnson could lose his seat – Sun on Sunday
  • May must go – Norman Tebbit, Sunday Telegraph
  • Former adviser claims that she was doomed within hours of taking office – Sunday Times
  • Do the Conservatives have a death wish? – Sunday Times Editorial

Kanagasooriam interview: could he help do for the Conservatives nationally what he helped to for Davidson in Scotland?

“Day in, day out, I’m faced with many, many people — colleagues, friends — who are turning away from the Conservatives. Even controlling for factors like their ages and where they live, they should vote for them but they don’t and if that continues the party’s on the conveyer belt to doom,” says Kanagasooriam over lunch, during a break from his day job as a management consultant…His graph-heavy report has the Tories panicking, rightly so given that in the party he is viewed as a forecaster extraordinaire. While working for the political strategy consultancy Populus, he was heralded as the force behind the 2017 resurgence of Ruth Davidson’s Scottish Conservatives.” – Sunday Times

  • Kanagasooriam’s view and the Conservatives’ problems – Adam Boulton, Sunday Times

Dominic Raab: my radical housing plan

“For many young people the dream of owning a home is a mirage. After the Second World War, the average home cost twice the average salary. When I bought my first flat with a friend, in 1997, the average home cost four times average earnings. That was a stretch. Today, the average home costs eight times average earnings. Saving for a deposit is beyond reach for many. Successive governments haven’t been radical enough in taking on the vested interests to get enough homes built to keep them affordable. Having served as housing minister, I saw that challenge first-hand – and understand the radical reforms a pioneering Tory government must deliver, to give working Britain a fairer deal.” – Sunday Telegraph

Conservative MPs line up to slate Wright’s internet watch plan

“Ministers are facing a growing backlash against draconian new web laws which critics warn could lead to totalitarian-style censorship. Under the plans published by Home Secretary Sajid Javid last week, an internet watchdog would have the power to block websites if the regulator decides to veto the content. The aim of the Online Harms White Paper is to target offensive material such as terrorists’ beheading videos. But under the document’s provisions, the regulator would have complete discretion to decide what qualified as ‘harmful, hateful or bullying’ – potentially including coverage of contentious issues such as transgender rights.” – Mail on Sunday

  • Javid wants tech giants to crack down on racism in football – Sun on Sunday

Hammond’s national living wage rise

“In Budget 2018, Chancellor Hammond announced that lowest-paid workers will get another pay rise from next year to a minimum of £8.21 per hour. It’s a five per cent hike, which came into force from April, and will benefit around 2.4million workers. Mr Hammond said: “From April [the National Living Wage] will rise again, handing a full-time worker a £690 annual pay increase.” Hammond is aiming to get the wage to £9 by 2020. It is different to the real living wage which is voluntary and not fixed by the government.” – Sun on Sunday

The Corbyn tapes: he concedes to Hodge that Labour ignored anti-semitism

“Jeremy Corbyn has privately admitted that evidence of anti-semitism in Labour has been “mislaid, ignored or not used”, The Sunday Times can reveal. He made the admission during a secretly recorded meeting with the MP Margaret Hodge to discuss the party’s anti-semitism crisis. It is the first time Corbyn has cast doubt on his own staff’s ability to tackle the problem that has dogged his leadership for years and whether they have mishandled evidence of racism. He made the admission in February while outlining his intention to recruit the Labour peer Lord Falconer to review the party’s complaints process.” – Sunday Times

More anti-semitism and extremism horrors:

  • Suspected anti-Semitism whistleblower suspended by party – Sunday Times
  • Hitler social media post candidate reported to police – Sunday Times
  • Council candidate says Jews and Muslims divert attention from “the working class struggle” – Sunday Times
  • Council candidate praises gang rape – Sun on Sunday
  • Corbyn says Assange should face rape quiz in Sweden – Mail on Sunday
  • Blanket slams Labour leader over Assange – Sun on Sunday
  • Corbyn the appeaser – Tim Bouverie, Mail on Sunday

Peter Hitchens: How this Conservative Government threatens to force divorce on spouses who want it

“Fail to keep up payments on a house or car, or break your employment contract, and see what happens to you. The courts will take the side of the person or company you have wronged, force you to pay up and probably throw in a punishment too. But break a marriage contract and the courts will now take your side and punish anyone who gets in your way, especially anyone who wants to abide by the contract. The person who wants to stay married and refuses to accept the end of the pact, can – if he or she resists – be dragged by force from the family home, under the ultimate threat of prison.” – Daily Mail