Tory MEP candidates told to keep quiet for fear of annoying voters in the local elections

‘Conservative party chiefs have instructed candidates for the European parliament to lie low for fear that campaigning will enrage voters before Thursday’s local elections, according to senior party figures. Theresa May’s official spokesman insisted yesterday that she still believed it was possible to avoid holding the European elections on May 23 because the Commons could yet ratify her EU divorce deal in time. However, Conservative campaign headquarters has already pencilled in May 7, a week tomorrow, for the official launch of its campaign, according to insiders. Candidates have been told to hold back until Friday as the party tries to keep Brexit out of the news in the run up to local elections.’ – The Times

  • 148 council candidates – 137 of them Conservatives – will be elected unopposed – The Times
  • On the doorstep, we activists cannot defend the national party’s chaos – Rupert Turpin, Daily Telegraph
  • Battered Lib Dems target a comeback in Bath – FT
  • Three-way fight in York – The Guardian
  • Hyperlocal parties criticise regional mayors as out of touch – The Times
  • These local elections are just the start of the Tories’ deserved demise – Andrew Lilico, Daily Telegraph
  • Labour attacks voter ID trial – The Guardian
  • The Brexit Party risks letting Corbyn in, Rees-Mogg warns – The Sun
  • The Conservatives cannot deliver the purity Brexiteers demand – Robert Shrimsley, FT


>Yesterday: ToryDiary: For a long time, the polls were scarcely worth watching. Not any more.

Hunt warns the Prime Minister of the costs of a deal with Labour

‘The Foreign Secretary told The Telegraph that the cross-party talks risked alienating Conservative MPs so that “you lose more Conservative MPs than you gain Labour MPs”. He said he did not expect talks with Labour to lead to a “rose garden moment” as he questioned whether Jeremy Corbyn was “serious about delivering Brexit”. He said: “By all accounts, while they [the talks] have been more detailed and productive than we thought and expected, it’s still going to be very difficult to imagine a rose garden 
moment”, referring to the coalition press conference David Cameron and Nick Clegg gave after the 2010 election. There is always a danger of doing a deal with Labour that [means] you lose more Conservative MPs than you gain Labour MPs, but I think the essential question is whether Labour are serious about delivering Brexit.” ‘ – Daily Telegraph

>Today: Henry Newman’s column: Most Conservatives don’t like it – but talks with Corbyn offer a way of breaking the Brexit stalemate

May invited to speak for her survival at Convention EGM

‘The PM is to be hauled in front of a snap meeting all 800 constituency chairmen and senior activists in June, who will decide whether to demand her resignation for failing to deliver Brexit…It is the first time in the Conservative Party’s 185 year history that rank and file activists have forced an Emergency General Meeting to discuss the party’s leadership. The PM was also yesterday invited to address the meeting, in what is likely to end up as a gruelling public trial for her. Though the EGM vote is not binding, losing it would be Mrs May’s deepest humiliation yet and spark overwhelming pressure on her to stand down immediately.’ – The Sun

  • Sharpe delivered a message to the Prime Minister yesterday – Daily Mail
  • Davidson demands the next Tory leader rule out a second indyref – Daily Telegraph
  • Portsmouth South association riven with dispute – The Guardian


Gibb: Reform capitalism or hand Corbyn an opportunity

‘It is essential — both for the defence of capitalism as the best system to govern our economic and social life, but also for the future of the Conservative Party as we face up to the threats of populists like Jeremy Corbyn — to swing the balance of power back in favour of those who too often feel powerless in the face of the big economic and social forces that hold sway. Some of my colleagues struggle to understand why voters find Corbyn — a man who despises our allies while refusing to condemn the actions of our foes — persuasive. Yet he continues to command a loyal following among younger voters in particular. We Conservatives must not kid ourselves that Corbyn’s brand of socialism is so outdated and extreme that it will not be attractive to those of all backgrounds and economic circumstances who feel ignored by our current polity or whose concerns have been left unaddressed.’ – Nick Gibb, The Times

A third of graduates are overqualified for their job

‘A third of recent graduates are over-qualified for their jobs and many will only reach their expected pay level in their 30s or 40s, a study has found. People with arts and humanities degrees were much more likely to be in lower-paid jobs than someone with their level of education might expect. High proportions of graduates with some science degrees are over-qualified for their work, notably people with degrees in biological and environmental sciences. The Office for National Statistics looked at work patterns in population surveys and found that 34.2 per cent of graduates who had left university since 2007 were over-educated for the work they did.’ – The Times

Gove agrees to meet ‘extinction rebellion’ protesters

‘Michael Gove was facing a bitter backlash after agreeing to talks with Extinction Rebellion eco protesters later today. The Environment Secretary will meet leaders of the activists who brought London to a standstill over Easter with Lord Debden.The campaigners said it was the perfect chance for Mr Gove to show he was ready to act on Britain’s “ecological emergency”. It came just moments after Extinction Rebellion revealed plans to team up with Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘Momentum’ supporters for a new demo in London’s Parliament Square on Wednesday. A Department for Environment spokesman said: “We know the impact climate change is having on our environment and welcome discussions on how we can tackle it.” Last week, Mr Gove gave Swedish schoolgirl Greta Thunberg a standing ovation and said her warning to MPs showed Britain had “not done nearly enough” to tackle climate change.’ – The Sun

  • Deben is set to recommend zero emissions by 2050 – FT
  • Ministers may back the target but not the measures to get there – The Times
  • The protesters knew our spineless government would buckle to their demands – The Sun Says
  • Corbyn the hypocrite wanted to re-open the coal mines – Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph
  • Rural organisations ask Gove to review withdrawal of licence to shoot avian pests – Daily Mail
  • Seven per cent of people noticed the protests (mostly Londoners) – The Times

>Today: Lord Ashcroft on Comment: Breeding lions for slaughter in South Africa. What Gove must do to help stamp out this cruel practice.

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: The loss of May’s fracking tsar illustrates a decaying will to govern

Ditch Huawei or we stop intelligence-sharing, the US warns

‘A State Department diplomat said the US would consider the use of the Chinese company’s equipment anywhere in Britain’s next-generation mobile network “an unacceptable risk”. Robert Strayer, the department’s deputy assistant secretary for international communications, previously warned of the “harm” to military and economic co-operation with the US if other countries used Huawei’s 5G equipment, claiming it could be exploited by China for spying. His latest briefing followed the leak of Mrs May’s decision, despite objections from ministers, to allow Huawei’s equipment in the “edge” of Britain’s 5G network but not its “core”. This means it could be used in network components such as antennas in cases where it could be isolated to avoid putting sensitive data or control systems at risk. Responding to a question about the prime minister’s decision, Mr Strayer insisted that such a separation was impossible and that installing Huawei’s equipment in any part of the network would put communications in danger.’ – The Times

  • Our allies should be our priority – The Sun Says
  • Vodafone has found back doors in Huawei equipment – Daily Telegraph
  • Cabinet ministers’ phones could be seized in leak probe – Daily Mail
  • Baghdadi urges new wave of attacks – The Times
  • Sri Lanka warns Islamists could wear military uniforms – Daily Mail
  • US foils potential ‘mass casualty’ attack by veteran – Daily Mail
  • Synagogue shooter’s parents speak of their shame – Daily Mail
  • Celebrities oppose boycott of Israel – Jewish News
  • Russia drops out of the top five global defence spenders – The Times

Financial support increased for victims of the contaminated blood scandal

‘Victims of the NHS contaminated blood scandal have called on the government to extend mass screening for hepatitis C infections to prevent more deaths. The plea came as the prime minister, Theresa May, pledged additional financial support for those infected as well as bereaved relatives affected by the medical disaster. The total annual payments for those infected will increase from a £46m to £75m a year, the Department of Health announced. “The contaminated blood scandal was a tragedy that should never have happened and has caused unimaginable pain and hurt for victims and their families for decades,” May said.’ – The Guardian

  • The inquiry formally starts today – The Times
  • Sanction social media platforms that allow anti-vax propaganda to spread – Jonathan Ashworth, The Times
  • Wikipedia snubs self-harm summit – The Sun
  • Royal College of GPs ask for computers that don’t crash, before AI is introduced – Daily Mail
  • Big tech is getting nosey on health data – FT Leader
  • Further social care delay – Daily Mail
  • Reforms are a must – Daily Express Leader
  • Sugar tax questioned as study finds children who drink soda are not fatter – Daily Mail

Newlove: Twelve years after my husband’s murder, police still don’t take antisocial behaviour seriously

‘I want police and council staff to be trained to recognise the impact on victims of persistent anti-social behaviour by getting them to look at patterns of harassment and not treating incidents in isolation. I also want victims to have access to the same support given to all other crime victims. We need to acknowledge and tackle the failures of the 101 phonelines, too. If you cannot handle calls quickly, what is the point of it? And why should there be a charge when 999 calls are free? And I want to see victims empowered.’ – Baroness Newlove, Daily Telegraph

Labour MPs demand independent complaints system

‘Leading moderates said they had lost confidence in the party’s ability to handle the anti-Semitism crisis. It comes after controversial Corbyn aide Laura Murray was appointed head of complaints – sparking a furious backlash from Jewish MPs. Labour MP Stella Creasy told The Sun: “It’s unusual these days for any large organisation to deal with complaints in house, and it’s clear that the system we have in place at present doesn’t command the confidence of those it is designed to protect. Moving to a fully independent process would send a strong message that Labour will not rest until all anti-Semitism is rooted from its ranks.” Meanwhile, Labour activist Amanda Bishop sparked outrage by calling on members to march on their local Synagogue to protest against an anti-Semitism suspension.’ – The Sun

News in Brief