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May ponders another vote on her deal

‘Theresa May is planning to bring her Brexit deal back for another vote – even as Tory MPs plan to change the rules of their party’s leadership elections so they can oust her. The 1922 Committee of backbench Conservative MPs met last night but discussions on whether a time limit banning successive leadership votes should be changed from a year to six months was said to be was ‘inconclusive’. The Prime Minister’s party is furious that she has delayed Brexit and are angry that they have to contest EU Parliament elections on 23 May, when they will probably lose heavily to Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party… It came as ministers gathered in Downing Street for the first time since the Prime Minister agreed to an EU Brexit extension until Halloween this year – and it emerged that the Prime Minister may try to bring her deal back again in the next ten days despite three defeats already.’ – Daily Mail

>Today:

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Exclusive. CCHQ has been notified that the threshold for a voluntary party confidence vote in May’s leadership has been reached.

Euro Elections 1) Widdecombe: I am standing for the Brexit Party

‘I have spoken to enough people who voted Remain and who now say “Oh, let’s just do it” to know how complete the fatigue among the population is with the shenanigans at Westminster. In early May I shall do what I have always done, since I first got the vote fifty years ago, and put my cross by the Conservative candidate in the local elections – but a couple of weeks later on May 23 I shall do what I have never done and cast my vote for a different party. Nay, I am going further than that: I am standing for the Brexit Party in order that I may campaign vigorously and convince my fellow voters that this time it is imperative to fire a very loud warning shot across the bows of the parties they would normally support.’ – Ann Widdecombe, Daily Express

Euro Elections 2) (Rachel) Johnson: I am standing for Change UK – The Independent Group

‘The national newspaper columnist and former reality television personality could follow her Conservative MPs brothers Boris and Jo Johnson, as well as her father Stanley – a former Conservative MEP – into elected office. Asked for her siblings’ reaction to her decision to stand for the Remain-supporting party, she told The Telegraph: “I have entered politics to spend more time with my family.” Announcing her candidature to become an MEP representing the South West region for the Change UK – The Independent Group at an event in Bristol, Ms Johnson accused Boris Johnson, the former foreign secretary, and other Leave campaigners of “rubbing out” her children’s prospects. Ms Johnson, 53, said: “These are chances that the politicians who decided to campaign to Leave have enjoyed themselves. It is simply not fair — and sometimes one has to stand up and be counted. It is now that time for me.”’ – Daily Telegraph

May ignores allies and colleagues to allow Huawei to build 5G network

‘Theresa May has given the green light to a Chinese telecoms giant to help build Britain’s new 5G network despite warnings from the US and some of her most senior ministers that it poses a risk to national security. The National Security Council, which is chaired by the Prime Minister, agreed on Tuesday to allow Huawei limited access to help build parts of the network such as antennas and other “noncore” infrastructure. Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, Foreign Secretary, Gavin Williamson, Defence Secretary, Liam Fox, International Trade Secretary, and Penny Mordaunt, International Development Secretary, were said to have raised concerns about the approach. The decision is likely to anger the US, which has banned Huawei from its government networks and put pressure on other partners in the Five Eyes intelligence alliance – the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada – to do the same.’ – Daily Telegraph

  • The decision risks alienating intelligence-sharing partners – Daily Telegraph
  • GCHQ say they can manage the risk – Daily Mail
  • Spies will help banks defend against cybercrime – Daily Mail
  • And they can detect stolen credit cards – The Times
  • Science minister urges the UK to develop a space defence policy – The Times
  • Road upgrades quietly scrapped – The Times

Universal Credit winners and losers calculated

‘Universal Credit will leave almost 2million people £1,000 per year worse off – but almost double that will gain cash, new research has revealed. Self-employed Brits, couples of different ages and some who are disabled will be worst hit by the benefits changes, the Institute for Fiscal Studies predicted today. 11million adults are set to be entitled to help from the new benefits system once everyone is on it, the respected think tank said, but the changes will be very mixed. While many of the biggest losses are only temporary, Universal Credit when rolled out to everyone is likely to hit poorer Brits, it said. Ministers have promised some money to help ease Brits over onto the new system, but it will only be temporary and will only be available to those who haven’t moved over yet.’ – The Sun

Wanted: A new Governor for the Bank of England

‘Philip Hammond, has announced the start of the process to appoint the next Governor of the Bank of England. The current Governor, Mark Carney, is due to step down at the end of January next year. “In today’s rapidly evolving economy the role of Governor is more important than ever,” said Mr Hammond. “Finding a candidate with the right skills and experience to lead the Bank of England is vital for ensuring the continuing strength of our economy and for maintaining the UK’s position as a leading global financial centre.” – Daily Telegraph

Sturgeon is expected to demand a second independence referendum today

‘Nicola Sturgeon is being urged to “take independence off the table” as she prepares to make a statement in the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday on her plans for a second referendum. The SNP leader will make a “detailed and substantive” address to MSPs on Wednesday afternoon on Scotland’s future in light of the Brexit turmoil and set out her thinking on the staging of a second independence referendum, which she has pledged to hold…It comes ahead of the SNP conference this weekend when the party will step up its campaign for a second vote on leaving the UK, by adopting a new flagship economic policy that would see an independent Scotland adopt a stand-alone currency after a Yes vote.’ – The Scotsman

Ambulance crews equipped with body-worn cameras

‘A third paramedics have been attacked in the past year, according to official figures from the NHS. Nearly 7,000 ambulance staff admitted to having suffered physical violence at work last year from patients and the public. The figures have prompted the Government to announce a series of measures that could see all paramedics given body-worn cameras. In an announcement today, health chiefs promised to spend £8million on a pilot that will see staff at three ambulance trusts wear them.’ – Daily Mail

  • 60 per cent of crime is not properly investigated, police admit – Daily Telegraph

Trump state visit scheduled for June

‘Buckingham Palace confirmed Mr Trump will make a two day visit to Britain as the Queen’s official guest ahead of the 75th commemorations of D Day.’.. But it has emerged that the American leader has no interest in making a Palace of Westminster speech – and would prefer to speak to some of the 5,000 US airmen based at RAF Lakenheath. A US source told The Sun: “I don’t see him wanting to do that”. The White House is looking at a series of other locations where Mr Trump could speak to mark the week’s theme of US troops helping to defend Europe down the ages, with the airbase in Suffolk top of the list. The state visit, from June 3-5, will also Mr Donald Trump honour World War Two heroes alongside PM Theresa May.’ – The Sun

  • But he won’t be able to stay at Buckingham Palace – Daily Mail
  • Labour MPs demand the Prime Minister cancel the invitation – The Sun
  • Britain should welcome him – The Times Leader
  • It’s a mistake – The Guardian Leader
  • The juvenile left should refrain from disrupting the visit – Daily Telegraph Leader
  • Doing so would insult the D-Day heroes being commemorated – Daily Mail
  • If Bercow takes part in a snub to the US, he should be ousted – The Sun Says
  • The Speakers of the Lords and Commons are in conflict – The Times
  • Netanyahu plans to name part of the Golan Heights after the US President – Daily Mail

Labour pledges to abolish rules which allow former office buildings to be converted into homes

‘The next Labour government will scrap rules that allow developers to turn offices into homes without any planning consent, the party said, blaming “permitted development” rules for a swath of cramped and substandard housing. John Healey, the shadow housing secretary, on Wednesday will announce an end to the regulations, which were brought in by the Tory-led coalition in 2013 as part of a government effort to reverse a slump in home-building during the last recession. The rules have led to the creation of 42,000 new housing units in three years from 2015, according to government statistics. But critics claim they have given property companies a “get-out clause” from the usual requirements to provide affordable housing and meet basic quality guidelines, such as space standards.’ – FT

  • Bristol University BME officer tells Jewish student to ‘be like Israel and cease to exist’ – Daily Mail
  • Shots fired at the home of a Labour councillor – The Guardian

>Today: Robert Halfon’s column: Stop calling Corbyn a Marxist

Sri Lanka murderers pledged allegiance to ISIS

‘ISIS has released footage of the Sri Lanka suicide bombers swearing allegiance to the terror group’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi before the Easter Sunday massacre. In the video eight jihadists stand in a circle, touch hands and pledge their loyalty to the elusive ISIS caliph, who has not been seen in public for five years. With a black ISIS flag hanging in the background, the attackers chant in unison before raising their hands together and pointing to the sky.’ – Daily Mail

  • One of the suicide bombers allegedly studied in the UK – The Times
  • Final British victim of the attacks is named – Daily Mail
  • The threat of ISIS remains undimmed – Con Coughlin, Daily Telegraph
  • The fight against terrorism will last decades – FT Leader
  • Minister dismisses IRA’s apology for McKee killing – The Times
  • Saudi Arabia beheads 37 people and crucifies one – The Sun
  • Hong Kong democrats jailed – The Times

News in Brief

  • MP to be sentenced over ‘bizarre’ expenses forgery – Daily Mail
  • Zero-hours contracts are good – 1828
  • The Viz generation takes charge – The Spectator
  • Alarming mental health crisis among doctors – Huffington Post

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