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May warned against yet another round of indicative votes…

Theresa May has been warned that she could end up with an “Auf Wiedersehen, Pet” Brexit deal that no-one wants if she presses ahead with plans to give MPs a new round of so-called indicative votes. The Prime Minister is preparing to hold the votes in the next fortnight if Brexit talks with Labour collapse, and wants to find a mechanism that would force Parliament to choose a way forward, rather than risking another stalemate. One of the methods under consideration is to make MPs rank the alternative Brexit outcomes in order of preference, so that second and third preference votes are counted if no one option gets a majority.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Prime Minister to unveil ‘shock new vote plan’ – Daily Express
  • Brexit delayed by a month as elections scupper hopes of Labour pact – The Sun

More:

  • Prime Minister’s Euro leaflet shames MPs who blocked her deal – The Times
  • May frozen out of decision over Juncker’s successor – Daily Telegraph
  • ‘I miss her’, he says – The Guardian
  • Customs union could cost Brits £800 each, Remainers admit – The Sun

Comment:

  • Eurocrats remind us why we voted for Brexit – Iain Martin, The Times

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Corbyn – “It’s actually quite difficult, negotiating with a disintegrating Government”

…whilst Fox and Harper ‘sympathise’ with Tories who want to vote for the Brexit Party

“Liam Fox has said he sympathises with Tories who are considering voting for Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party in the Euro elections. He insisted he would be campaigning for Conservative candidates the election is about “more than one issue”. But he said voters were right to feel frustrated for having to take part in the European Parliament elections three years after voting for Brexit… Former Tory chief whip Mark Harper also sympathised with Tory voters wooed by Mr Farage. In an interview with the House magazine he said: “I can completely understand why people who have voted for us regularly might not vote for us.” – The Sun

Comment:

  • Heckling May was the only way to get her to listen to grassroots anger – Stuart Davies, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Richard Kelly in Comment: Brexit has exposed the age-old clash between liberalism and democracy

Sam Gyimah: To beat Farage, we must embrace the political rally

“A lot of the media coverage of these events talks about why mainstream politicians should be terrified of what this new approach is tapping into. There is no reason to panic. We need to break the spell Nigel Farage has cast over politics in the UK. We should embrace the politics of the rally and play Farage at his own game. To cut through to the public at this time of flux, it’s no longer sufficient for MPs to deliver the pre-prepared soundbite in an interview, brief out speeches and post the odd video on social media. This new phenomenon is based on the understanding that politics is a dialogue, not a monologue, with a live and dynamic audience.” – Times Red Box

  • Tories can only survive as the party of ‘no deal’ – Fraser Nelson, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Garvan Walshe’s column: A lesson from Spain. If a conservative party moves to the right, it fails.

Leadership 1) Mordaunt says addressing treatment of Ulster veterans is a ‘personal priority’

“Penny Mordaunt has said that addressing legacy killings in Northern Ireland is a “personal priority” for her, amid a growing row within the Conservative Party over the treatment of veterans. The new Defence Secretary has promised to resolve the controversy surrounding the prosecution of former service personnel, warning the issue has “dragged on for far too long”. Her pledge to deal with the issue came hours after Johnny Mercer, a prominent Tory MP, announced he was effectively going on strike until Theresa May ended the “abhorrent process” of pursuing veterans over allegations that in some cases date back several decades.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Hint at amnesty from leadership hopeful – The Guardian
  • Government lawyers ‘beg’ Hague judges to agree ten-year limit – The Sun

Editorial:

  • Ministers must stop throwing veterans to the wolves – The Sun

>Today: ToryDiary: Next Tory Leader. The women factor.

Leadership 2) McVey is running

“Brexiteer Esther McVey today became the latest Tory to announce a run for No10. The ex-Cabinet minister revealed she will put her name forward to replace Theresa May as party leader and PM. And she vowed to reopen talks on Brexit to remove the hated Irish backstop from the existing deal. Ms McVey joins a crowded field of at least 15 candidates vying to become Prime Minister after Mrs May quits… The former Work and Pensions Secretary praised Mrs May as “dutiful” but insisted it’s now time for the PM to stand down… Ms McVey quit the Cabinet last year in protest at the withdrawal agreement negotiated by Mrs May.” – The Sun

  • Gauke signals he ‘might run to stop ‘populist’ Johnson’ – Daily Mail

Comment:

  • He may be too late to stop the next leader going for ‘no deal’ – Asa Bennett, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday:

Leadership 3) Hammond wants contest concluded ‘as quickly as possible’

Philip Hammond said the forthcoming Tory leadership contest must be concluded “as quickly as possible” once Theresa May has resigned as pressure continued to grow on the Prime Minister to quit. Numerous leadership rivals have already started jostling for position in the battle to take over from Mrs May with Esther McVey, the former work and pensions secretary, the latest figure to formally announce her candidacy. Mrs May is yet to set a date for her departure despite increasing anger among Tory Eurosceptic MPs but Mr Hammond said that when the time comes her successor should be put in place swiftly.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Tories ‘at odds’ over how long to let May remain Prime Minister – FT
  • Farage wants her in post to drive Brexit Party recruitment – The Sun

Comment:

  • This pageant is out of touch with reality – Leo McKinstry, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Profiles: The unusual Rory Stewart, self-declared contender for the Tory leadership

Rudd softens benefit sanctions

“The maximum financial sanctions for benefit claimants have been cut to six months, in the latest softening of the UK’s benefits regime by Amber Rudd. In a speech on Thursday that is widely seen as an effort to raise her political profile ahead of the expected Conservative party leadership contest, the Work and Pensions secretary explicitly linked the shift to her values as a centrist “one nation” Tory. “I feel very strongly about making sure that the policies of this department are fair, compassionate and that they work for everybody,” she said. Staff in jobcentres and other officials working for the Department for Work and Pensions currently have the right to reduce or halt access to benefits for up to three years if claimants fail to fulfil various conditions, such as demonstrating that they are seeking work.” – FT

  • Anger as Government ‘pays out £2.3 billion to welfare cheats’ – The Sun

More:

  • Work & Pensions Secretary unimpressed by parade of Tory wives – The Times
  • Rudd clashes with Farage on Question Time – Daily Express

>Yesterday: MPs Etc.: Better access, opportunities and protections. Rudd’s employment speech. Full text.

May reshuffles junior ministers

“Andrew Murrison has been promoted to the role of Foreign Office minister after Alistair Burt quit the government in March over Brexit. Mr Burt suggested earlier this week that he would like the role back, given it had been left vacant since he stepped down in March… As part of a small reshuffle on Thursday, Robert Buckland moved from the role of solicitor general to a minister of state at the ministry of justice. He was replaced by Lucy Frazer, formally the under secretary of state at the ministry of justice. Paul Maynard, a Government whip, has replaced Ms Frazer.” – FT

Gauke may overturn Grayling’s probation reforms

“David Gauke, the justice secretary, is preparing to renationalise probation after a partial privatisation by Chris Grayling that a watchdog branded “irredeemably flawed”. Under the proposals the supervision of tens of thousands of offenders will be taken over by the state-run probation service. Private sector companies will provide treatment programmes and other help to criminals. In 2014 Mr Grayling created 21 private sector firms to supervise medium and low-risk offenders, with the state run National Probation Service managing those deemed a high risk.” – The Times

  • Brokenshire hits out at property firms over tower block cladding – The Guardian

Remain alliance for Peterborough by-election ‘collapses in rancour’

“A plan by Remain campaigners to unite behind a single candidate in the Peterborough by-election has collapsed in chaos and bitter recriminations. The Liberal Democrats, Greens and the new Change UK group of breakaway MPs planned to unite behind an independent pro-EU candidate to replace the disgraced Fiona Onasanya. Their hopes ended in farce when the candidate pulled out at the 11th hour. It was understood to be Femi Oluwole, a law graduate and member of the Our Future, Our Choice group. The spat left Change UK without a candidate, although the Lib Dems and Greens were each able to field one.” – The Times

  • Lib Dems mocked for profane slogan… – The Sun
  • …as Cable insists they’re being under-estimated – The Guardian
  • Brexit ‘tears apart’ major parties’ support ahead of poll – FT

Labour:

  • Second referendum would ‘heal country’, says Corbyn… – The Times
  • …as he targets ‘migrant-baiters’ at campaign launch – FT
  • Corbyn ‘snubs Remainers’ by respecting result – The Sun

Comment:

  • Labour leader was a slave to his script – Henry Deedes, Daily Mail
  • Avoiding Brexit won’t spare Labour from a kicking – Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph
  • Change UK must up its game – Penny Andrews, Times Red Box
  • My fellow Remainers should be scared of the Brexit Party – Ralph Leonard, Daily Telegraph
  • Lib Dems’ crude slogan may just work – Stefan Stern, The Guardian

>Today: Stewart Jackson in Comment: In Peterborough, one Tory candidate once floored an opponent. The coming contest may be no less exciting.

>Yesterday:

SNP refuses to exclude teachers and police officers from controversial parking charge

“Teachers and police officers will not have a national exemption from a controversial workplace parking tax agreed by the SNP and Greens, under plans lodged in the Scottish Parliament. The Scottish Greens tabled amendments to a Transport Bill, agreed with the Scottish Government, that will allow councils to introduce the new levy. They included a “national exemption” for hospitals and NHS properties and, following complaints from doctors and charities, specified this should include GP practices and hospices. Blue badge holders will also not have to pay the charge but pleas by teachers and other groups that they should be extended the same privilege fell on deaf ears.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Nationalists close attainment gap… by levelling down – Daily Telegraph

Comment:

  • Measured return shows Davidson is no one-trick pony – Alan Cochrane, Daily Telegraph

Jones loses bid to introduce new evidence at inquest into ex-minister’s suicide

“The former Welsh first minister, Carwyn Jones, has lost a high court attempt to have text messages relating to the behaviour of a minister he sacked heard at his inquest. Jones argued that the texts could shed light on why Carl Sargeant took his own life four days after being dismissed as a Welsh government minister following allegations of inappropriate conduct towards women. The texts, between two prominent north Wales Labour councillors, allegedly suggest that Sargeant had done something that could have led to a prison sentence. But the high court in Cardiff ruled that the coroner hearing Sargeant’s inquest, John Gittins, had been right to exclude the text messages.” – The Guardian

News in Brief:

  • Ulster elections highlight the long slow death of the UUP – Owen Polley, Reaction
  • Behold the strange return of British pluralist politics – Dr Stephen Barber, Comment Central
  • The Huawei dilemma – Sir Malcolm Rifkind, CapX
  • Which party will fight the rise of Farage? – Nick Cohen, The Spectator
  • Aung San Suu Kyi: why did the West’s Burmese hope go wrong? – Richard Cockett, Standpoint

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