Published:

Hammond says Government has ‘no red lines’ in negotiation with Labour…

“Brexit talks between Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn broke down last night as France warned that Britain risked crashing out of the EU in a “disorderly manner”. Labour sources accused the prime minister of negotiating in bad faith after Downing Street sent the party an outline deal that offered no concessions to its central demand for a customs union with the EU. Sir Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, said it was clear that Mrs May was “not countenancing any changes” to the political declaration that she negotiated with the EU in December. “Compromise requires change,” he said. “We need change if we’re going to compromise.” Philip Hammond, the chancellor, said however that the government had no red lines in its negotiations with Labour.” – The Times

  • She reportedly refuses demands for customs union – The Sun
  • Ex-aide claims the Prime Minister ‘backs soft Brexit’ – Daily Express
  • Corbyn accuses May of refusing to offer ‘real change or compromise’ – FT
  • Rebels step up campaign against both leaders – The Sun

More:

  • The Prime Minister’s two Brexit gambles fail to pay off – Daily Telegraph
  • DUP brand May ‘disorganised and slapdash’ – The Sun

>Today: ToryDiary: Inviting Labour into Downing Street has proved costly, and benefited only Corbyn

>Yesterday: Iain Dale’s column: Something has changed this week. Since May announced talks with Corbyn. I can smell it.

…as May is warned EU elections pose ‘existential’ threat to the Party…

Theresa May has been warned that holding European elections will pose an “existential threat” to the Conservative Party after she asked the EU to delay Brexit until June 30. The Prime Minister has told Tories to prepare to take part in the poll on May 23, prompting a furious response from activists who may now refuse to campaign for candidates. Senior MPs said the Conservatives would suffer “catastrophic” damage at both the local elections on May 2 and the EU elections if they went ahead, which would threaten the “viability” of the party itself. Stephen Barclay, the Brexit Secretary, told Mrs May in a heated Downing Street meeting “we need to get out” as he implored her to avoid EU elections, but his pleas were ignored. There are also fears that the EU will try to force Britain into accepting a year-long extension, meaning Britain would still be in Europe almost four years after voting to leave.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Activists may ‘strike and refuse to campaign’ – Daily Telegraph
  • Brexiteer fury as Prime Minister requests another delay – Daily Express

More:

  • Frustrated Leavers prepare Brexit backlash – The Times
  • UKIP’s vote surges in by-election – The Sun

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Newport West’s by-election. Where is the voter uprising against establishment elites?

…and Hunt claims no-deal exit means recession all round

“Jeremy Hunt, British foreign secretary, warned on Friday that both the UK and EU members risked falling into economic recession in the event of a no-deal Brexit. “A no-deal outcome is bad for the UK, it’s also very bad for the European Union,” he told a news conference before a foreign ministers’ meeting of the G7 major democracies. “None of our economies are growing fast enough to guarantee a no-deal scenario wouldn’t push us into recession. So it’s a bad outcome all round and I think the French understand that and I think the Germans understand that.” Mr Hunt confirmed that the UK would seek a short extension beyond the current April 12 deadline from the other 27 EU member states at a special summit in Brussels next week.” – FT

  • Cabinet colleagues accuse the Foreign Secretary of being ‘two-faced’ on Brexit – The Sun

More:

  • Brussels will demand a high price for any ‘flextension’ – Daily Telegraph
  • May seeks to delay Brexit until the end of June – FT
  • Macron leads leaders rejecting Tusk’s ‘flextension’ call – Daily Mail
  • France, Spain, and Belgium ready for Britain to ‘crash out’ – The Guardian

Comment:

  • Forget the scaremongering, Britain is ready for a no-deal Brexit – Chris Heaton-Harris, Daily Telegraph
  • Let arrogant Remain ultras have their vote – Janice Turner, The Times
  • People’s Vote campaign is not about saving the old parties – Anna Soubry, The Guardian
  • EU should agree a long extension so Britain can rethink – Hugo Dixon, FT
  • Brussels is on the verge of victory – Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph
  • Leaving is absorbing the energy needed to tackle other problems – Camilla Cavendish, FT

>Yesterday:

Mark Wallace: The Conservative Party’s problems run deeper than Brexit

“The Conservative Party is desperately ill. Its lurid symptoms ought to concern patient and loved ones alike. It struggles to put up full slates of council candidates, even in areas where it has long been utterly dominant; some activists are reluctant to stand and casual supporters refuse to sign nomination papers. Parliamentary seats which ought to be hotly-contested attract a mere handful of applications, rather than the scores they would normally expect. Social media is full of pictures of cut-up membership cards, and many who have not resigned are either rationing their campaigning, or have gone on strike entirely. As the people on whom the party relies become demoralised, so the organisation as a whole teeters. The prospect of EU elections, or even a General Election, does not bode well. The cause of this malaise is somewhat more complex than it at first appears, and merits careful diagnosis.” – Daily Telegraph

  • May and Corbyn would need to split both their parties to agree a deal – James Forsyth, The Sun
  • Tories face a perfect storm from which they may never recover – Matthew Goodwin, Daily Telegraph
  • May acted out of a patriotic duty to keep Britain together – Peter Oborne, Daily Mail
  • Now it’s Labour’s turn to fall apart over Europe – Anonymous MP, The Times
  • Pro-Leave MPs must reject May’s false choice – John Redwood, The Guardian

Editorial:

  • Weak May must pack her bags and go – The Sun

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Has May just delivered the coup de grâce to any imminent hope of reviving Stormont?

‘Controversial’ donor backs Raab’s leadership bid

“Dominic Raab, the former Brexit secretary, has accepted donations worth tens of thousands of pounds from a controversial financier and an insurance broker as Tory leadership candidates begin raising funds and assembling their teams. Mr Raab, a 45-year-old Brexiteer and former lawyer, is among the early frontrunners preparing for the race to succeed Theresa May. He is employing two full-time staff who are funded by donors and he recently received performance coaching to make him seem more “authentic” when speaking in public. The coaching, worth £6,500, was donated by Melior Advisors, which normally offers its services to bankers and corporate executives. Kit McGinnity, a former British Army captain who runs the company, said that he works with clients to help them “speak more naturally and… connect more with an audience in their own style”.” – The Times

  • The ex-military MPs wargaming who will be the next Prime Minister – Daily Telegraph
  • Rudd set to be kingmaker – FT

More Cabinet:

  • Gove joins Great British Spring Clean – Daily Mail

>Today: Rebecca Pow MP in Comment: How we are helping oceans to recover their health

MPs welcome possible social media crackdown

“MPs have welcomed news that the government is considering personally fining social media executives deemed to have failed to meet their duty of care to users, with one calling the decision a “massive step forward in making companies actually liable” for activity on their platforms. The Guardian revealed on Thursday that the online harms white paper, due to be published on Monday, will call for the creation of a regulator with the power to draw up codes of conduct for social media firms. It also proposes serious punishments for companies that breach the codes and in doing so fail to meet their duty of care. “It’s not good enough to allow people like Mark Zuckerberg to set the rules for the internet,” said Damian Collins, the chair of the Commons digital, culture, media and sport committee, who headed an inquiry into fake news and disinformation last year.” – The Guardian

News in Brief:

  • Well done ERG for handing Labour a soft Brexit – Gavin Rice, Reaction
  • The new German Question – Robert Kagan, Foreign Affairs
  • New parties and broken promises – Oliver Wiseman, CapX
  • It’s time to revive Communist literature – Toby Young, The Spectator
  • How punditry polluted the novel – Douglas Murray, UnHerd

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