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Local elections 1) Lewis: Vote Conservative for better-run local councils

‘When you compare Conservative-run councils to Labour-run councils, our record of success couldn’t be clearer. Across the country, it’s Conservative councillors and Conservative councils who have a consistently managed people’s money carefully and provided better local services. Last year, Conservative councils filled over twice as many potholes as Labour councils, using government funding wisely to ensure local roads are repaired and kept in good condition. Conservative councils recycle more rubbish than Labour councils, on average sending double the amount of rubbish for recycling, ensuring we leave both our local areas and our planet in a better state…And we have seen what happens when the hard-left seize control of councils. In London, much needed new housing is blocked for ideological reasons. In Birmingham, rubbish has piled on the streets because of bin strikes. The Hartlepool Mayor was forced to resign after Corbynites infected Labour with what he described as “anti-Semitism, racism, homophobia, disability discrimination and a general disrespect towards others.”’ – Brandon Lewis, Sunday Express

European Elections 1) Back the Brexit Party and we’ll throw you out, CCHQ warns Tories

‘Tory bosses have threatened to kick MPs and grassroots activists out of the party if they back Nigel Farage in the EU elections — as two opinion polls show support for the party in freefall and sources predicted that MPs could jump ship to the Brexit Party. A YouGov poll, commissioned by the anti-extremism campaign group Hope not Hate, shows the Tories have slumped to 13% in polling for the European elections next month and are on course to lose more than half their 19 MEPs, while the Brexit Party is on 28% and set to win 28 seats. A Panelbase survey for The Sunday Times today puts the Tories and the Brexit Party level on 20%, 13 points behind Labour. In Thursday’s local elections, in which Farage’s party is not standing, the Tories are predicted to win only 24% of the vote, 12 points behind Labour, suggesting a loss of more than 500 councillors.’ – Sunday Times

European Elections 2) Labour faces an activist strike from Remainers

‘Leading Labour activists are warning Jeremy Corbyn that they could boycott the party’s campaign for the European elections unless it backs a confirmatory referendum on Brexit, as pressure mounts on the leadership to support a fresh public vote…Last week many Labour MPs and activists reacted with fury after a draft leaflet written by officials in Corbyn’s office, which aimed to introduce Labour’s European election campaign to voters, omitted any reference to another referendum. Protests have led to the leaflet having to be redrafted, according to senior party sources. The Observer has also been told that hundreds of activists, councillors and supporters have written to the NEC and the leader’s office to demand that Corbyn stick to the referendum policy and promote it during the campaign – and many have said their support depends on his doing so.’ – The Observer

Tory MP opposition to May’s deal ‘has grown by a third’

‘The number of Tory Eurosceptics prepared to vote down Theresa May’s Brexit deal has risen by a third since the Prime Minister’s last attempt to secure Parliament’s backing, it has been claimed. Brexiteer MPs who opposed last month’s motion on Mrs May’s plan have been holding private talks about their next move, together with colleagues who plan to switch from supporting the deal to voting against it. “The 28 has now reached 37 or 39,” one Tory claimed. Michael Fabricant, the Conservative MP for Lichfield, said he was one of those who was likely to revert to opposing the deal unless Mrs May could persuade the DUP, her partners in the Commons, to back it despite their fierce objections to the controversial backstop, the insurance plan for the Irish border.’ – Sunday Telegraph

  • The Whips beg leadership rivals to call a ceasefire until the deal goes through – Mail on Sunday
  • Buffett will invest in the UK regardless of Brexit – The Sun on Sunday
  • He knows our economy is in great shape – The Sun on Sunday Says
  • One in five marriage guidance counsellors has been told Brexit arguments are an issue for clients – The Sun on Sunday

>Today: ToryDiary: May wants devolved government restored in Northern Ireland. But her No Deal policy creates an obstacle.

Don’t worry about those Huawei spying concerns, Chinese ambassador argues

‘Britain should resist external pressure over decisions on Chinese companies and make “independent” choices, China’s ambassador says, in the state’s first public intervention in the Huawei affair. In an apparent rebuttal of US warnings about allowing Huawei to supply technology for the UK’s new 5G mobile network, Liu Xiaoming urges the UK to defy “pressure” and “interruptions”. Writing in The Sunday Telegraph, the ambassador insists that Huawei has a “good track record” on security and says Britain should make the “right decision” about dealing with the company, “based on its national interests and in line with its need for long-term development”.’ – Sunday Telegraph

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: How far should Sedwill go over the Huawei leak?

Davis warns that Conservative fundraising has run dry

‘The Tories are also at risk of running out of funds with furious donors abandoning the party because of Theresa May’s failure to take Britain out of the European Union on March 29. The party’s chief executive and treasurer Sir Mick Davis is also understood to be in “complete despair” because Remain and Leave donors are refusing to fund party operations and the Tories are out of money. In a private warning it is understood he told one donor he had been “deserted by both Remain and Leave donors and therefore I am unable to run CCHQ and ensure we are capable of fighting and winning [elections]”. The Sunday Express has also spoken to a major donor who has withheld a promised seven-figure pledge to party coffers because of the failure to deliver a clean Brexit by the government. He was in talks with Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party this weekend to fund their campaign and is considering backing their European election campaign.’ – Sunday Express

  • Ruth Davidson returns to work after maternity leave – Mail on Sunday

Scruton: The Conservative Party must defend conservative values from misrepresentation and the mob

‘The tapes show clearly that the character assassination, built from the out-of-context fragments that were published, has no foundation at all. The important point, though, is that the interview has done its work: the Conservative Party has not regarded me as an asset worth defending, and Brokenshire, who dismissed me without a word of enquiry, has yet to come up with an apology. Those who dare to defend ordinary conservative values now do so at considerable risk, like the Christian teacher who told The Mail on Sunday last week how she was fired for supporting a Facebook post criticising the teaching of transgender issues in schools. In the academic world, anyone identified as a conservative is likely now to be defenestrated by the social media mob.’ – Sir Roger Scruton, Mail on Sunday

>Yesterday: LISTEN: The full tape of Scruton’s interview with the New Statesman

Hancock plans warnings on opioid painkiller packets

‘All opioid medicines will have to carry prominent addiction warnings to protect people “from the darker side of painkillers”, health secretary Matt Hancock has announced. The government action comes after data revealed a 60% rise in prescriptions for opioid drugs over the past 10 years, with the number of such medicines dispensed in the community (excluding hospital settings) having risen from more than 14 million in 2008 to 23 million in 2018…Announcing the plans Hancock said: “I have been incredibly concerned by the recent increase in people addicted to opioid drugs. Painkillers were a major breakthrough in modern medicine and are hugely important to help people manage pain alongside their busy lives – but they must be treated with caution. We know that too much of any painkiller can damage your health, and some opioids are highly addictive and can ruin lives like an illegal drug.’ – The Observer

Greening’s new social mobility campaign says May must do more on ‘burning injustices’

‘She vowed to create a country that works for everyone when she first entered 10 Downing Street in 2016. Yet barely one person in 20 thinks she has done the most to make it easier for people to get on in life. The findings come in a survey for the new Social Mobility Pledge initiative, founded by former Education Secretary Justine Greening. Most people think every government in the past 40 years has failed to tackle the burning injustices Mrs May vowed to end… The ex-minister, who had a working class upbringing, said: “When Theresa May arrived in Downing Street she committed to making Britain a country that works for everyone. “It was inspiring but that’s been well and truly overtaken by a Brexit policy that works for no one. She must take the chance to do more, to honour the commitment she made, during her time left in No10.”’ – The Sun on Sunday

Corbyn seeks to declare a ‘national emergency’ in the UK

‘Labour will this week force a vote in parliament to declare a national environmental and climate change emergency as confidential documents show the government has spent only a fraction of a £100m fund allocated in 2015 to support clean air projects. Jeremy Corbyn’s party will demand on Wednesday that the country wakes up to the threat and acts with urgency to avoid more than 1.5°C of warming, which will require global emissions to fall by about 45% from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching “net zero” before 2050. The move will place Conservative MPs under pressure to back the plan, or explain why they refuse to do so, now fears over the combined problems of air pollution and climate change have risen to the top of the political agenda.’ – The Observer

>Yesterday: Nick Hargrave’s column: Why Conservatives must catch the green tide

Sri Lanka’s Christians celebrate mass at home as churches are closed

‘Sri Lanka’s Catholics awoke to celebrate Sunday mass in their homes by a televised broadcast as churches across the island nation shut over fears of militant attacks. A week after Easter suicide bombings at three churches and three hotels killed at least 253 people, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, the archbishop of Colombo, delivered a homily before members of the clergy and the country’s leaders in a small chapel at his Colombo residence – an extraordinary measure underlining the fear still gripping this nation of 21 million people. “This is a time our hearts are tested by the great destruction that took place last Sunday,” Ranjith said.’ – The Observer

  • Intelligence agencies expect more ISIS attacks targeting tourist hotspots – Sunday Telegraph
  • San Diego synagogue attacker posted antisemitic letter online – The Observer
  • He allegedly praised the Christchurch shooter – Sunday Telegraph
  • ‘New IRA’ say they won’t win but will fight anyway – Sunday Times
  • Police reopen inquiry into Neave’s murder – Sunday Telegraph

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