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Pincer movement on May as the Commons prepares to return. This week, the ’22 Executive will mull changing the no confidence rules.  65 constituency chairmen to demand that she goes. Seventy per cent of MPs “want her to resign”.

“Theresa May will be told this week that she must step down as prime minister by the end of June or her MPs will change the Tory party leadership rules to force her out. Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the back-bench 1922 committee, is set to visit May to tell her that 70% of her MPs now want her to resign for botching Brexit and presiding over a collapse in Tory support. MPs on the executive of the committee will meet on Tuesday to decide whether to tear up the rules to allow a new vote of no confidence in May before December. Insiders say “swing voters” are leaning towards changing the rules unless she agrees to go by June 30.” – Sunday Times

  • Juncker claims turmoil after Brexit will be the UK’s fault – Sunday Telegraph
  • Fox: the UK will return 50 angry and disruptive MEPS if we have euro-elections – Sunday Telegraph
  • Rudd and One Nation Group urge business leaders to join the Conservatives – Sunday Times
  • Ebac founder calls for Redwood to take over – Sunday Express
  • Anti-HS2 polling suggests that leadership candidates should scrap the scheme – Sunday Telegraph
  • Pro-HS2 campaign says that leadership contenders should keep the scheme – Observer
  • The winner will junk it – Liam Halligan, Sunday Telegraph
  • Ingham v Clarke on Thatcher and Europe – Mail on Sunday

> Yesterday:

Poll: two in five Conservative councillors will vote for the Brexit Party

“The exclusive Mail on Sunday survey shows that an astonishing 40 per cent of Conservative councillors are planning to vote for Nigel Farage’s new Brexit Party in May’s European elections, in protest at the Prime Minister’s failure to conclude the UK’s exit from the EU. Three-quarters of her own councillors want Mrs May to resign – and an overwhelming 96 per cent believe that the Tory Party has been damaged by the impasse. Conservative MPs preparing to return to the Commons after the Easter break have been shaken by the strength of feeling in their local associations over Mrs May’s leadership, after she agreed to delay Brexit until the end of October if she cannot strike a deal.” – Mail on Sunday

  • Quotes from councillors: “The Conservative Party has become a joke on the doorstep” – Mail on Sunday

> Today: ToryDiary: Our survey. Three out of five Party members will vote for the Brexit Party in European elections.

Farage: first, I’ll squeeze Labour. Next, devour the Conservatives.

“His main focus in these elections, he says, will be a “northern attack” on Labour’s leave-voting heartlands. “My view, which I came to today, having been out for lunch for the first time this week, is that Conservative voters that are going to switch to the Brexit Party will effectively make up their own minds on this. “My real challenge here is not the Conservatives. It’s that there are about 5m people who voted [Jeremy] Corbyn in 2017 and voted Brexit the year before, and I think that’s where I need to be.” – Sunday Times

  • Brexit Party gains £1.5 million in five days from 60,00 new supporters – Sun on Sunday
  • Farage Nottingham rally – Sunday Express
  • Annunziata Rees Mogg as Cersei Lannister – Observer
  • Tice, Longworth and others “standing for the Brexit Party” – Mail on Sunday

John Gray: The Conservatives risk the decimation of the voluntary party

“Many – mostly but not entirely Leavers – say they will never vote again. But it is not just voters who are fleeing the established parties. Especially among Tories, once-loyal foot-soldiers in the constituencies are deserting the party.  Activists who tramp the streets pushing fliers through doors are decamping – chiefly to Farage. A General Election could find the Conservatives without much of a constituency infrastructure left. The clear risk is that people will turn to extremes to vent their anger and disgust against those who pretend to govern them.” – Mail on Sunday

  • Party set to lose 500 council seats next month – Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher, Sunday Times
  • Liberals, it’s your fault that Farage is back – Dan Hodges, Mail on Sunday
  • He has the Brexit name without the UKIP baggage – Adam Boulton, Sunday Times
  • Meanwhile, the pro-Remain vote will split – Nick Cohen, Observer
  • Farage v LibDems: the real contest – Rod Liddle, Sunday Times
  • May is making us crawl to Germany and France – Bill Cash, Sunday Telegraph
  • She has destroyed the Conservative Party – John Rentoul, The Independent
  • The failure to deliver the referendum result is an existential threat to the Tories – Sunday Times Editorial
  • The Conservatives are facing their own Extinction Rebellion – Sun on Sunday Editorial
  • May is to blame for this crisis – Sunday Telegraph Editorial
  • “Last week I met a Presidential candidate from an African country where millions have died from disease, starvation and conflict. Putting an arm around my shoulder he said, “What on earth is happening to your poor country?”” – Andrew Mitchell, Sunday Telegraph

Watson doubles down on Labour’s pro-Remain policy: he repeats his support for a second referendum

“In an extraordinary intervention that exposes the tensions at the top of the party over Brexit strategy, Tom Watson warns that Labour will lose to Farage’s new “far right” Brexit party in May’s European elections if it continues to give the impression that “we half agree with him”. Writing in today’s Observer, Jeremy Corbyn’s deputy argues that Labour needs to give much clearer and more enthusiastic backing to another referendum and also spell out a positive, radical vision of how a Labour government could advance socialist values by working with other centre-left parties inside the European Union.” – Observer

  • Equality and Human Rights Commission to act on Labour and anti-semitism – Sunday Times
  • Activist who claimed Israeli lobby stoked up anti-semitism row selected as Labour MEP candidate – Sunday Telegraph
  • Sixteen Labour policies the party says that the Conservatives have stolen – Sunday Telegraph
  • Corbyn may refuse to move into Number Ten if he becomes Prime Minister – Mail on Sunday
  • Old video shows him mocking SAS troops in Iraq – Sun on Sunday
  • Anti-pay gap Teacher union leader has pay gap in own union – Sun on Sunday
  • Momentum candidate for North of Tyne Mayor – Sunday Times
  • Council candidate’s homophobic tweets – Sun on Sunday
  • Blair: force migrants to integrate more to combat the Far Right – Observer
  • Abbott apologises for drinking M & S mojito on train – Sun on Sunday
  • Adonis, the Lords and the European Parliament: he seeks to ride two gravy trains – Madeline Grant, Sunday Telegraph

> Yesterday: ToryDiary – Opposition to May’s talks with Corbyn is as emphatic as ever. Our survey.

Change UK to unveil candidates this week

“The party’s interim leader, the former Tory MP Heidi Allen, who yesterday challenged other leaders to a TV debate, claimed that the exodus from established parties showed Change UK was now the “natural home of the ‘Remain Alliance’” and of people who wanted a second referendum. The party said that, of 3,700 people who had applied to stand under the Change UK banner in the 23 May poll, 895 were former Labour activists, 105 were ex-Liberal Democrats and 92 ex-Greens. Dozens of other applicants had been active in the Tory party, including former MPs. Of the Labour defectors, 32 were either former MPs, or had previously been parliamentary or council candidates.” – Observer

  • Treasurer of Change UK and controversial tax avoidance scheme – Sunday Times
  • Sturgeon ‘running scared of independence’ – Scotsman

Leadership Contender 1) Javid: my plan to stop crime

“But we also need immediate action to bring rising violence under control. I’ve listened to police about the tools, powers and resources they need to fight this menace. That’s why we’re increasing police funding by over a billion pounds this year, including from council tax and our new serious violence fund. The £100 million for serious violence will help tackle crime in hot spot areas that are worst affected. Police asked for increased stop and search powers – we gave it to them. And our Offensive Weapons Bill will arm police with more powers to stop knife crime. I have no doubt these measures will help rid our streets of even more weapons and save lives.” – Sunday Express

  • Labour’s pledge to abolish SATs tests. “Imagine if the government announced that it was going to ban dental exams or stop opticians measuring our eyesight. People would be rightly horrified.” – Damian Hinds, Sunday Telegraph
  • Gauke: we have new heat-seeking gear to track down criminals’ mobile phones – Sun on Sunday

> Today: Victoria Borwick on Comment – We must invest in the next generation to cut knife crime

Leadership Contender 2) Hunt warns over persecution of Christians

“In his article, Mr Hunt warns that many Christians around the world will today worship in fear of persecution. He says: ‘The world was rightly shocked by the flames destroying Notre-Dame in Paris… in too many parts of the world, however, it is the congregations themselves who perish.’ It follows the high-profile cases of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who faced death threats after being acquitted of blasphemy in Pakistan.” – Mail on Sunday

  • Over 150 murdered as terrorists target churches and hotels in Sri Lanka – Sunday Telegraph
  • Notre Dame was a tragedy. But in too many parts of the world it’s the Christian congregation that perishes – Jeremy Hunt, Mail on Sunday
  • We can all find hope at Easter, says May – Sunday Times
  • Trump visit details – Mail on Sunday

Protests in London: Police fail to clear demonstrators…

“The head of the Metropolitan police, Cressida Dick, has urged Extinction Rebellion activists to protest lawfully as officers continued a large-scale operation to clear environmental campaigners from sites at Oxford Circus and Waterloo Bridge in central London. With more than 1,500 officers now on duty at the protests, Dick has asked demonstrators to move to an officially designated site in Marble Arch or go home. Later on Saturday, hundreds of police officers were clearing activists from a blockade on Waterloo Bridge, where protesters have been since the Extinction Rebellion disruption campaign started five days ago.” – Observer

  • “For the avoidance of any misunderstanding: Robin Boardman-Pattison and Rupert Read are real members of Extinction Rebellion, and not actors. Unlike Emma Thompson.” – Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times
  • Khan tried to get Crossrail ‘repayment holiday’ to avoid breaking manifesto tube fares pledge – Sunday Telegraph

Protests in Paris: …as police deploy baton charges, water cannon, and tear gas

“As worshippers gathered last night for the Easter Vigil at nearby St Sulpice, standing in for the stricken cathedral, elsewhere in the city protesters clad in yellow vests set fire to cars, motorbikes and litter bins and threw stones at riot police, who responded with baton charges, water cannon and tear gas. Police said 6,700 people in the capital joined the protest, held for the 23rd consecutive Saturday since the gilets jaunes movement was launched last November to oppose planned rises in the tax on fuel. By early evening, 227 people had been arrested, 163 of them detained.” – Sunday Times

Daniel Hannan: How Easter transforms magic into morals

“We, separated from the sanguinary rites of our ancestors by long centuries of Christian ethics, can barely imagine the impact that must have been made when our remote fathers first heard the Easter message. Here was the utterly revolutionary idea that there was no more need for sacrifices, because a single sacrifice had already taken place, so colossal and so total that it ransomed humanity forever and made further physical offerings redundant…You don’t need to be a believer to recognise the significance of the Easter message. The paschal story defines the values of modern societies, almost regardless of whether the people in those societies consider themselves Christians. In the last analysis, the events we commemorate today mark the replacement of a magical universe with a moral one.” – Sunday Telegraph

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