ConHome Pickup 1) Grassroots Tories pushing for no-confidence vote in May

“Grassroots Tories believe they are just weeks away from triggering a little-known process that could help to bring down Theresa May. Party chairmen are circulating a petition calling for the party’s National Convention, which represents the grassroots, to call an Extraordinary General Meeting to pass a vote of no confidence in Mrs May, the Tory leader. If the petition motion is signed by more than 65 association chairmen,  the party is obliged to hold the meeting. So far between 40 and 50 party chairmen have signed it, and the threshold could be passed as early as next week…The extraordinary meeting is one of four ways being explored to force out Mrs May, the ConservativeHome website reported. Another is for the party’s MPs to rewrite the rules for electing party leaders to allow for a vote of no confidence in the next few months.” – Daily Telegraph

  • MPs plan another no-confidence vote ‘within weeks’ – Daily Express

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: The four routes being explored to oust May

ConHome Pickup 2) Party official having to fund campaigning

“The Conservative Party’s top official is having to reach into his own pocket to cover some of the costs of the European elections, Tory sources claim. Sir Mick Davis, the chief executive and treasurer of the party, has told cabinet ministers that supporters are deterred from donating money because of the Brexit mess and infighting… This has led Sir Mick, 61, the former head of the mining company Xstrata, to have to fund some campaign expenditure himself, at least in the short term… Conservative Home, the Tory activist website, has previously reported that “many donors are reportedly unwilling to give any more, either because they are fed up with the personality and policy currently occupying the helm, or because they reason they may as well hold off until there is a new leader in place to work with”.” – The Times

  • Tories fear they could lose half their MEPs – The Sun


  • Appeals to nationalism won’t win the day – Alex Massie, The Times

>Today: Daniel Hannan MEP’s column: Brexit. Vote Conservative in the European elections to help us deliver it – and finish the job.

>Yesterday: MPs Etc.: The list of Conservative MEP candidates for Scotland

Tusk hints at further Brexit delay…

Donald Tusk has hinted at a further Brexit delay as he told the “exhausted” European Union and the United Kingdom to resist the temptation to just “get it over with” out of frustration. Mr Tusk said the UK would likely take part in European elections next month and the MEPs it elected would be in post “for several months, maybe longer” as he opened the door to reversing Brexit or another Article 50 extension beyond October 31. The President of the European Council said the current delay would allow the UK to “rethink” its decision to leave as he suggested it was his “dream” that Britain would stay in the bloc. Meanwhile, Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission, said the EU would “never kick out one of our members” as the likelihood of a no-deal Brexit appeared to shrink still further.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Germany warns Britain cannot get further extension – FT
  • Verhofstadt blasts ‘holidaying’ MPs – Daily Mail
  • New soft Brexit plot to end Commons deadlock – The Sun


  • EU leaders seem as scared of it as May does – Asa Bennett, Daily Telegraph
  • UK teeters on the brink of a breakdown – William Wallis, FT


  • Tusk’s ‘dream’ of another vote would be a nightmare – The Sun

>Yesterday: Henry Newman’s column: No free movement. No second referendum. Brexit gained. What would happen were the Prime Minister’s deal passed.

…as Corbyn attacks May for wanting deal with Trump

“Jeremy Corbyn says talks to break the Brexit impasse are on the brink of collapse as Theresa May still wants a trade deal with Donald Trump. The Labour leader, in cross-party negotiations with the PM, blasted Mrs May for refusing to consider remaining in a customs union with the EU. Doing so would bar Britain from striking a US trade deal. Mr Corbyn said the PM was pressured by Tories who are too obsessed with using Brexit to deregulate markets. Labour sources said the main obstacle to progress was International Trade Secretary Liam Fox. Speaking on a campaign visit to the North West, Mr Corbyn said Britain needed easy access to European markets and to keep environmental regulations and workplace rights.” – The Sun

  • Deregulation agenda ‘stalling talks’, Labour leader claims – The Guardian


  • Citigroup says Corbyn is as bad as a no-deal exit – Daily Telegraph
  • Top Democrat says ‘no chance’ of trade deal if peace process threatened – The Sun
  • Financial watchdog admits pressures from Brexit demands – FT


  • Brexit may leave children undocumented – Tim Loughton and Kate Green, Times Red Box
  • I have no time for the ERG, but they’re not Nazis – James Bloodworth, The Guardian
  • Corbyn’s threat to investment-bank socialism – Thomas Hale, FT

Ministers 1) Javid offers ex-cons ‘clean slate’

Criminals will have minor offences wiped from their records under plans being considered by Sajid Javid to stop them being denied jobs by “spent” convictions. The Home Secretary is reviewing a rule where anyone with more than one conviction, no matter how minor, automatically has them disclosed to a prospective employer for the rest of their lives. The new plan could mean minor assaults, thefts or drug possession would not automatically be disclosed to employers  by the Government disclosure and barring service. Mr Javid believes that juvenile offenders who want to escape criminality need be given a second chance but campaigners for victims’ rights warned the plan could put the public at risk.” – Daily Telegraph

>Today: ToryDiary: Potemkin legislation

Ministers 2) Rudd keeps leadership options open

Amber Rudd said it is “entirely possible” she will run to be the next Tory leader as she re-entered the race to succeed Theresa May. The Work and Pensions Secretary gave the strongest hint yet of any potential Conservative leadership contender that she could put herself forward to be prime minister as she said she was keeping the “door slightly ajar” to the possibility. Ms Rudd was believed to have ruled herself out of the contest, partially because of her 346 vote majority in her Hastings and Rye constituency. Mrs May has said she will make way for a new Tory leader after the terms of the UK’s divorce from the European Union have been agreed. Numerous Tory MPs are known to be planning their bids to take over.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Pensions Secretary trashes rumours she was Johnson’s running-mate – The Sun
  • Moderate Conservatives eye challenge – FT
  • Tories fear Brexiteer ‘takeover’ as new members sign up – Daily Express


  • Are the Conservatives capable of making this crucial choice? – Rafael Behr, The Guardian
  • Who’ll step up to save the Tories? – Rob Wilson, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: James Frayne’s column: Onward, Hancock – and the delusion of leadership candidates retreating to their comfort zone

Luke Springthorpe: If the Tories want to win back young voters, they need to listen

“What’s more, the propping up of property prices has acted to help an older generation who are already on the ladder, while keeping home ownership out of reach for a growing number of young people. Perhaps the most telling findings for me were that young voters do not believe that Conservatives can “unite the country” or that Conservatives “represent my values”. It’s not going to be easy for the Conservatives to redress this while remaining electorally competitive, given their reliance on an increasingly elderly voter base. But I — along with my colleagues at Conservative Progress — believe that it can be done if the Conservative Party itself opens up to wide-ranging debate and democratises itself.” – Times Red Box

Whips apologise to Mercer over dirt-digging

“A Tory MP has received an apology from the Government’s chief whip after it was alleged they asked his ex-army colleagues for dirt on him. Johnny Mercer said three people he knows were tapped up for information about him – and was told to “watch your back” by a pal. The rising star tweeted a message he’d got from the mate which said: “By the way, the whips office was trying to tap me up for dirt on you. “Obviously I have none anyway, but I told him to f**k off regardless. I guess maybe watch your back a little bit.” It was alleged the move came from deputy Chief Whip, Chris Pincher.” – The Sun

>Yesterday: Andrew Goodfellow in Comment: I know all about attack dossiers. Here’s why Tory leadership candidates shouldn’t deploy them on their rivals.

Corbyn pledges to scrap SATs

“Jeremy Corbyn said yesterday that Labour would scrap the SATs taken by primary pupils to relieve the “extreme pressure” on children and teachers. In a sign that education will be a key battleground at the next election, the Labour leader told teachers that the national testing regime for seven and 11-year-olds, which has been in place for almost 30 years, would be replaced by a more flexible system to “prepare children for life, not just for exams”. A consultation over the summer will determine what sort of assessment system a Labour government would put in place instead.” – The Times

  • Teachers chant his name as he makes the announcement – Daily Mail


  • A dumbed-down which will damage pupils – Katharine Birbalsingh, Daily Mail


Burgon admits to Zionism jibe

“An ally of Jeremy Corbyn has admitted saying that “Zionism is the enemy of peace”, more than a year after denying making the comment in a television interview. Richard Burgon, the shadow justice secretary, acknowledged that “it is now clear that I did [make the remark] and I regret doing so” after video footage emerged. Iggy Ostanin, a journalist, found footage from 2014 in which Mr Burgon told an event: “Zionism is the enemy of peace and the enemy of the Palestinian people.”… At the 2014 event, the year before he was elected an MP, Mr Burgon attacked MPs who were members of Labour Friends of Israel, encouraging people to demand they resign from the group.” – The Times

  • Corbyn refuses to sack Shadow Justice Secretary – The Sun

MPs warn of Westminster’s vulnerability to fire

“It has taken “far too long” to put improved fire safety measures in place at the Palace of Westminster, MPs have warned in the wake of the Notre-Dame blaze. Chris Bryant, the former shadow Commons leader, said “every fire precaution” must now be taken when a major programme of restoration is started on the Houses of Parliament in order to avoid similar scenes to the French cathedral. The devastation at the Paris landmark came after David Lidington warned that the risk of a “catastrophic fire” decimating Parliament was growing and it was only down to chance nobody has been badly hurt by falling masonry. Theresa May’s deputy said it was “very lucky no one has been seriously injured” by the crumbling Palace of Westminster as he stressed the importance of urgently restoring the Unesco World Heritage Site.” – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Nous sommes Notre Dame. Why cathedrals matter.

Bercow ‘abandons plans to step down’

“John Bercow has abandoned plans to step down as Speaker of the House of Commons Speaker until Brexit is resolved. John Bercow, 56, has served as Speaker for ten years and was widely expected to stand down this year. He was expected to make a statement to the House when MPs returned from Easter recess on April 23 announcing his plans to make way for his successor over the summer. But now, amid the continuing Brexit crisis, he has decided he is best placed to stay in his position for the time being. Mr Bercow maintains his job is to protect and act in the interests of parliament as a whole and not the executive, and has denied all accusations of bias.” – Daily Express

Change UK register for elections, but logo is rejected

“The Independent Group of breakaway MPs has formally become a political party — but candidates will have a blank space next to their names on ballot papers after their logo was rejected. The Electoral Commission has approved an application from the group of former Labour and Tory MPs to become Change UK — The Independent Group in time for them to fight the European elections from May 23 to 26. The watchdog said the party could not use its proposed logo because the acronym (TIG in white letters on a black background with #Change underneath) was “likely to mislead voters”… The party said 3,700 people had applied to be one of 70 candidates for the elections and that it would launch its campaign on Tuesday. Yesterday two serving MEPs said they wanted to be candidates.” – The Times

  • Efforts to forge anti-Brexit electoral alliane fail – FT
  • EU’s establishment parties expected to lose ground – Daily Telegraph


  • Don’t bet against the Brexit Party winning – Chris Curtis, The Guardian

News in Brief:

  • Brexit Party could marmalise divided Remainers – Iain Martin, Reaction
  • Electoral reform is needed to reconnect politics with the people – Darren Grimes, 1828
  • Burgon should apologise for misleading the public – James Forsyth, The Spectator
  • Egonomics in one lesson – Lawrence W Reed, CapX
  • Ten precedents for a compromise Brexit – Peter Frankin, UnHerd