May and Corbyn face backlash over talks…

“Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn were both facing a furious backlash from their parties last night amid growing scepticism over the prospects of their talks finding a way through Brexit. No 10 and Labour claimed initially that the leaders had had a “constructive” meeting after they spent an hour and 40 minutes in the Commons working through options. They agreed to set up a working party to meet today. Sources on both sides, however, were downbeat last night about the chances of success. Mrs May, who was hit by two more resignations from her government after inviting Mr Corbyn to the talks, is understood to have refused to say whether she would soften her position on a customs union. She continues to push back strongly on the idea of a second referendum.” – The Times

  • Leaders kick off ‘constructive’ talks… – FT
  • …but remain ‘far apart’ – The Sun
  • Stalemate over customs union and second referendum – Daily Mail
  • Juncker rejects May’s call for short extension – The Guardian



…with Tories ‘at war’ after Prime Minister’s move…

Blue-on-blue infighting spilled out of Westminster and into the Tory shires on Wednesday as calls for the Prime Minister’s resignation intensified following her bombshell Brexit u-turn. Having been expected to back no deal following Tuesday’s marathon seven hour cabinet meeting, Theresa May incurred the wrath of her MPs and Tory voters by opting instead to extend Article 50 while seeking a customs union compromise with Jeremy Corbyn. Within minutes of making the 6pm statement from Downing Street, Conservative MPs reacted with incredulity, flooding the party’s various WhatsApp groups with expletive-ridden vitriol as a full-scale Tory rebellion was mounted… Such was the anger that one MP even suggested, at a Wednesday evening meeting of the 1922 committee, that Conservative backbenchers should hold an indicative vote on whether to boot out the PM.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Hardliners plot to oust May after u-turn – The Times
  • Boles accuses Downing St head of communications of trying to ‘destroy’ talks – Twitter


  • Corbyn challenged by Shadow Cabinet for resisting second referendum… – Daily Telegraph
  • …as Labour MPs demand any deal include one… – The Times
  • …and Sturgeon warns him against ‘tawdry’ bargain with May – Daily Telegraph
  • Opposition face their own civil war – The Sun

>Today: Rory Stewart MP in Comment: Corbyn is wrong about almost everything – but we can find common ground with him on Brexit


…as two ministers resign in protest, with the prospect of more to follow…

“As the Brexit deadlock continues gripping Britain, fed-up Tory MPs are voting with their feet – and quitting their posts in droves… On April 3 a junior Wales Minister, Nigel Adams, quit his post over the PM’s announcement that she would try to delay Brexit again and hold talks with Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn to seek a compromise. He criticised her in a letter for seeking a deal with “a Marxist who has never once in his political life out British interests first… Chris Heaton-Harris, a junior minister in May’s government, quit his job on April 3 because he did not support any further extension to Britain’s departure from the EU. He wrote to the PM: “I simply cannot support any further extension to Article 50 and this obviously means I cannot stay in government.”” – The Sun

  • Cox speaks up for customs union as Hammond floats second referendum – Daily Mail
  • Up to 15 ministers ‘ready to jump’ – The Sun
  • Hancock defends May over talks – The Guardian


  • Two leaders will have plenty of common ground – Oliver Wright, The Times
  • Labour talks are a huge gamble for May – George Parker, FT
  • Customs union plan is a total victory for Brussels – Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Daily Telegraph
  • Value of the customs union to the UK is overrated – Larry Elliott, The Guardian



…and Cooper’s anti-No Deal bill proceeds by one vote

MPs have voted to force the Prime Minister to request an extension of Article 50 after a series of knife-edge votes in the Commons. In an extraordinary day in Parliament, MPs considered all stages of a backbench bill tabled by Yvette Cooper, a Labour MP, in the space of an afternoon and evening. The passage of the legislation through both the Commons and the Lords, which usually takes months, is now likely to be concluded in a matter of days. Ms Cooper’s bill requires the Prime Minister to table a motion seeking MP’s approval for an extension of Article 50 to a date of her choosing. However the motion will be amendable, meaning that MPs can table amendments to change the length of the extension requested by the Prime Minister.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Effort will ‘backfire’, MPs warned – The Sun
  • Baker claims Lords’ scrutiny will render bill useless – Daily Express
  • Chaos as MPs cast tied vote for the first time in 25 years – The Times


  • Every region of England and Wales, save London, happy to leave without a deal – Daily Telegraph
  • Carney warns it is still a ‘high risk’ – FT
  • Long delay will leave UK on the hook for bigger payments – The Times


  • The legal logistics of revoking Article 50 – David Allen Green, FT
  • How Britain can repair its battered reputation – Bronwen Maddox, FT

>Today: MPs Etc.: The 14 Conservatives who enabled the Cooper Bill to pass by a single vote


Nick Timothy: Labour have no reason to bail May out

“Despite the anger Mrs May’s statement caused among Conservative MPs, the talks are unlikely to amount to much. Corbyn will not facilitate a so-called Tory Brexit. He wants to avoid responsibility for any kind of Brexit. He deliberately faces both ways on Britain’s departure from the European Union, while watching the Tories tear themselves apart… The Commons might back a customs union, and require the Government to amend the political declaration appended to the Withdrawal Agreement. This would split the Tories terribly: in last week’s votes, only 37 of them backed a customs union, while 236 voted against. The PM has indicated she will implement what Parliament decides, but a customs union would be a catastrophe: a Brexit defined by Labour but delivered by a Tory government destined to be brought down by its own furious MPs.” – Daily Telegraph

  • We’re all paying the price for May’s ‘no deal’ lie – Jenni Russel, The Times
  • Clean Brexit offers the Prime Minister a better legacy – Patrick Minford and Roger Bootle, Daily Telegraph
  • May has abandoned our freedom and her honour – Quentin Letts, The Sun
  • Brexiteers to blame for giving her no choice – Stephen Glover, Daily Mail
  • Forging a compromise could be the making of Corbyn’s Labour – Martin Kettle, The Guardian


  • Goodbye EU, and goodbye United Kingdom – Philip Stephens, FT
  • A second referendum is not an ‘option’, it’s a solution – Jenna Norman, Times Red Box


  • An unholy alliance – The Times
  • In one move, May costs Tories their biggest electoral asset – Daily Telegraph
  • She must show that her change of heart is serious – FT
  • Let’s have the referendum: May’s deal versus No Deal – The Sun

>Yesterday: Daniel Hannan MEP in Comment: We are shuffling towards a deal that is worse either than remaining or leaving

Cabinet warned that the Party can’t even afford an election

“Theresa May’s Cabinet were told the party cannot currently afford a General Election – in a bombshell warning from the Tory chief. Sir Mick Davis – a mining billionaire – told Ministers the party’s cash crunch meant it would have to raise a fortune from donors it wanted to go to the polls. One source said: “There were lots of reasons given why we don’t want to go to the polls – but the point about finances was pretty stark.” It came amid separate claims from one senior Tory yesterday that the Conservatives would only be able to afford “one leaflet” if it was forced into European Elections this May. Reports last week claimed the Conservatives had just £1.5 million left in the bank – and donors were refusing to give money until a new leader replaces Theresa May.” – The Sun

  • Two-party cartel would regret an election now – David Aaronovitch, The Times

>Today: Local Government: “It’s extraordinarily bad”: Conservative councillors on how the local election campaign is going

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: The Conservative message to voters. “Don’t go anywhere near Corbyn.” Their reply. “Why not? Your leader’s doing so.”

Windrush payments could reach £310 million, says Javid

“The cost of the Windrush scandal was laid bare yesterday as the home secretary said that the government would pay victims hundreds of millions of pounds in compensation. The Home Office expects to pay up to £310 million to people from the Caribbean who were wrongly targeted by its “hostile environment” policy against illegal immigrants. Sajid Javid said that there would be no cap on the fund, which is expected to be shared between about 15,000 claimants. He told MPs that he hoped the compensation would help to “right the wrongs” of “a terrible mistake that should never have happened”. It will be open to the Windrush generation of Caribbean migrants who helped to rebuild the country after the Second World War, as well as those from other Commonwealth and non-Commonwealth states who arrived in Britain before 1988 and were targeted.” – The Times

  • Settled status scheme risks being the next Home Office scandal – Charlotte O’Brien, Times Red Box

Rudd gives green light to pension ‘dashboards’

“Online pension trackers that will revolutionise retirement planning by giving savers instant information about their nest eggs will be given the go-ahead today. Workers will be able to login to see all of their pensions pots pulled together on a “dashboard” and their potential retirement income under plans unveiled by Cabinet minister Amber Rudd. Industry leaders hope it will mean an end to the “£20 billion pensions mountain” of forgotten funds that employees lose track of when they change jobs or move home. The service will also include details of state pensions, giving savers information about all of the money they have stashed away for retirement in one place for the first time.” – Daily Express

Scottish Tories attack education quango

Scotland’s education quango has been accused of being in “denial” about the impact on pupils of cuts in school subject choices after playing down concerns raised by schools, academics and universities. Gayle Gorman, the chief executive of Education Scotland, admitted that teacher shortages are limiting the number of subjects pupils can choose. But, in evidence to Holyrood’s education committee, she argued that “consortia arrangements” means pupils can travel to other schools to sit a wider range of the exams they need… Speaking afterwards, Liz Smith, the Scottish Tories’ Shadow Education Minister, said the committee had received more than 1,000 submissions and the vast majority raised “signficant concerns” about the reduction in subject choice.” – Daily Telegraph

News in Brief:

  • Don’t under-estimate the Tories’ ability to bounce back – Mark Wallace, Prospect
  • How Corbyn can do a deal which will split the Conservatives in two – Iain Martin, Reaction
  • Brexiteers have themselves to blame – Alex Massie, The Spectator
  • May has chosen the right path for democracy – Joe Oakes, 1828
  • Why we should be sceptical about the Government’s porn blocker – Tom Chiver, UnHerd