Harper enters leadership race ‘untainted’ by May’s Cabinet

“Mark Harper has become the twelfth Tory MP to enter the leadership race as he said he is the only candidate not tainted by serving in Theresa May’s government. The former chief whip admits he is the “underdog” in the race but said he has an edge against ministers who have “shared the responsibility” for Mrs May’s failure to deliver Brexit. In an interview with the Telegraph, Mr Harper said watching the other candidates over the past week convinced him to run. “We’ve seen basically the same faces saying the same things that they’ve been saying for the last three years,” he said. “A number of them have tried to position themselves as fresh faces but I’m afraid they’ve sat around the Cabinet table sharing the responsibility with the Prime Minister.”” – Daily Telegraph

  • Hammond also considering a bid – FT
  • Duncan Smith urges Party to trim crowded field – The Times
  • Grandees to tighten rules to stop ‘self-promotion’ – The Sun

>Today: ToryDiary: This week’s winner in the Tory leadership contest is… Gove

Contenders split over call to ‘turn on the taps’…

“The Conservative leadership candidates were split over austerity yesterday as five of them backed a report urging the new prime minister to “turn on all the taps”. A report by the modernising Tory think tank Onward said the government should stop reducing the national debt so quickly and spend almost £200 billion more over the next four years. It was endorsed by Michael Gove, Jeremy Hunt, Sajid Javid, Matt Hancock and Esther McVey. The report by Neil O’Brien, a Tory MP and former adviser to Theresa May and George Osborne, calls for a fiscal rule to commit the government to keep debt flat as a share of GDP.” – The Times

  • Hunt and Hancock back ‘radical bid’ to cut deficit – The Sun
  • Slash Corporation Tax to 12.5 per cent, say hopefuls – Daily Telegraph
  • Javid and McVey vow to slash taxes – The Sun
  • Chancellor ‘at war’ with candidates over spending – Daily Mail
  • May’s successor urged to make case for capitalism – FT
  • CBI boss says Tories must be party of business – Daily Telegraph


  • Candidates must look beyond tax cuts – Will Tanner, Times Red Box


…as ‘stop Boris’ campaign fails to gain traction

“According to the latest survey by ConservativeHome, a website popular with Tory activists, 34 per cent of party members want Mr Johnson to be their next leader – putting him well ahead in the crowded race to succeed Theresa May. However, the nascent “Stop Boris” campaign has so far proved ineffective. The former foreign secretary’s foes had hoped to thwart him in the first phase of the leadership contest — by persuading enough Tory MPs not to vote for him to go on the shortlist of candidates from whom party members will choose the leader. Such is the initial momentum in Mr Johnson’s campaign that his critics have concluded he is all but certain to make the shortlist, and they are instead trying to rally round the candidate deemed best placed to beat him in the membership ballot.” – FT

  • Ex-Mayor to unveil ‘army’ of backers – The Sun


  • Johnson will win unless he self-destructs – Iain Martin, The Times

>Today: MPs Etc.: Leadership election candidate MP support numbers: Hunt 29, Johnson 28, Gove 27, Raab 22, Javid 17, Hancock 11

>Yesterday: Alok Sharma MP in Comment: Why I am voting for Johnson

McVey backs parents in LGBT row

“Esther McVey has been criticised by senior Conservatives after claiming that parents should be allowed to withdraw children from primary school lessons on LGBT relationships. The Tory leadership candidate was attacked by Amber Rudd, the work and pensions secretary, and Justine Greening, the former education secretary who is the first openly gay female cabinet minister. In recent weeks, almost daily protests have been held outside Anderton Park primary school in Birmingham over lessons for youngsters on gay equality. Damian Hinds, the education secretary, has called for the protests to stop.” – The Times

  • Candidates declare themselves feminists after Raab doesn’t – The Times

Stewart could be banned from the USA over opium admission

“Tory leadership hopeful Rory Stewart faces potentially being banned from entry into the United States after the International Development secretary admitted to smoking opium at a wedding party in Iran in an interview with The Daily Telegraph. US immigration policy allows for individuals who have committed offences involving drugs to be denied visas and admission. The drug is classed as Schedule II in the United States. The first offence carries a sentence of between five and forty years and the second between ten years and life with quantity playing a role.” – Daily Express

  • Stewart says it was ‘stupid’… – The Times

Trump to confront May over Huawei

“Donald Trump will confront Theresa May over the security risk posed to Britain by the Chinese company Huawei during his visit next week, a senior aide to the president has said. John Bolton, the American national security adviser, said that the US was prepared to accept only “zero” risk in its federal telecoms network from Huawei and suggested that Washington was trying to convince its intelligence partners to follow suit. Mr Bolton indicated that he did not believe that Britain had reached a verdict on whether to use the company in its next-generation mobile network, despite reports that Mrs May favoured allowing it in “non-core” parts of 5G.” – The Times

  • President indicates Johnson is his preferred successor to the Prime Minister – Daily Telegraph

Tory donors ‘flee’ amidst Brexit paralysis

“The UK Conservative party is struggling to attract money from financial backers, with donations falling dramatically in the first three months of this year, data from the Electoral Commission showed on Thursday. According to the data, the Conservatives received donations totalling £3.7m in the first quarter of 2019, down from £7.5m in the last three months of 2018. Prime minister Theresa May’s party raised £4.8m in the same period last year, but donations from Tory supporters have slumped amid concerns over her leadership, a lack of clear policy agenda and paralysis over Brexit. The Tories appear to have suffered a cash crunch as some funders hold off from making donations while she remains prime minister.” – FT

Javid accused of ‘exploiting’ Begum case

“The family of Shamima Begum have accused the home secretary of removing her British citizenship to further his political career. The 19-year-old jihadi bride was a “pawn” to the vanity of Sajid Javid and his ambition to get to No 10, the family say in a letter to him. Their lawyer demands that the home secretary reverse his decision to remove her citizenship and calls for an apology. Ms Begum, who left London to join Islamic State in 2015, was stripped of her UK citizenship in February after The Times found and interviewed her in a refugee camp in Syria. The decision was based on the belief that she had Bangladeshi citizenship through her parents.” – The Times

>Today: Anthony Browne in Comment: Policy Gains from Brexit 10) Greater control of our borders

Whittingdale hits out at proposed internet rules

“Draconian new rules designed to make the internet safer for children could deliver a ‘killer blow’ to British technology start-ups, a lobby group warns today. The controversial code, drawn up by the Information Commissioner’s Office, applies too broadly and will be a ‘serious obstacle to growth’, the group said. The Coalition for a Digital Economy, known as Coadec, also warned the code will ‘destroy’ smaller firms. Yesterday former culture secretary John Whittingdale warned that they will have a ‘chilling effect’ on smaller UK tech companies and that it was ‘mad for the ICO to proceed with this’ at this stage.” – Daily Mail

Johnson prosecutor branded electorate ‘thick’

A Remain activist bringing a private prosecution against Boris Johnson over his Brexit campaign condemned the British people as “thick” just weeks after they voted to leave the EU in the 2016 referendum. In a filmed debate, Marcus Ball laughed when challenged about his opinions of the electorate and the referendum process. He then claimed voters were “not capable of making complex decisions” about whether or not to leave the European Union. In August 2016 video, Mr Ball, now 29, was asked by Tom Slater, founder of the Invoke Article 50 Now! campaign, whether he thought voters were “thick and easily lied to or misled”? Mr Ball, who founded Brexit Justice Ltd in December that year, grinned before replying: “Yes, to my opinion.”” – Daily Telegraph

  • Wheatcroft slammed for similar views – The Sun


  • The law has developed a worrying influence on politics – Fraser Nelson, Daily Telegraph
  • If we’re jailing liars, where does it stop? – Mick Hume, The Sun


  • Remainer baroness’s Brexit tirade is staggering – The Sun

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Johnson’s prosecution is just the latest push in a long campaign of Remainer lawfare

Hammond says second referendum might be only way out of Brexit deadlock

“Philip Hammond has become the most senior Conservative to signal that he might be prepared to back a second referendum, piling pressure on Tory leadership candidates backing no deal by warning that they could lose a vote of no confidence. In a significant intervention, the chancellor said the only way of breaking the Brexit deadlock might be to put the decision back to the people, either through a general election or another referendum. His comments suggest there could be growing openness among some soft Brexit Tories to a second referendum, meaning a majority for it in the House of Commons would not be impossible if Labour were to shift its position to unequivocally back a people’s vote.” – The Guardian

  • Barnier ‘hints at backstop compromise’… – The Times
  • …but he dashes hopes of re-negotiating the deal – The Sun
  • CBI warns of no-deal damage to business – FT


  • How a new leader can avoid a head-on collision with Europe – Peter Foster, Daily Telegraph
  • I’ve seen Raab negotiate with Brussels, and they’re scared of him – Nick de Bois, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Our survey. Eight in ten Party activists oppose a general election this year

…as Corbyn ‘dashes hopes’ of switch to backing another vote

“Jeremy Corbyn dashed Remainers’ hopes he would finally throw Labour’s support behind a second referendum after rubbishing rumours of a U-turn. The Labour boss said a People’s Vote was still “some way off”. Communication Workers Union General Secretary Dave Ward said working class people “would feel abandoned” if Labour formally backed another vote, adding: “That is the biggest threat to getting labour elected.” He blasted Remainers for trying to “turn this into some kind of culture war, not an economic debate”. And he warned that overturning Brexit would attract more support for far-right figures like Tommy Robinson.”  The Sun

  • Brexit has left the Labour leader a man out of time – Philip Collins, The Times

Row over Campbell’s expulsion continues

“A close ally of Jeremy Corbyn has accused Alastair Campbell of orchestrating his own expulsion from Labour to provoke a row over the party’s Brexit policy. The charge by Len McCluskey, general secretary of the Unite union, came as attempts to draw a line under the controversy floundered. Mr Campbell, Tony Blair’s former spin doctor, was kicked out of the party after he said that he voted for the Liberal Democrats last week because of their support for a second referendum. More Labour figures lined up yesterday to announce that they too had voted against Labour in the European elections. Sources close to Cherie Blair said she had also voted for a rival party.” – The Times

  • Pressure grows for u-turn – FT

Liberal Democrats and Brexit Party beat Labour and Tories in new poll

“The Liberal Democrats have surged into first place ahead of the Conservatives, Labour and the Brexit Party, a poll has revealed. The pro-Remain party topped the Times/YouGov survey with 24 per cent, the first time it has been in the lead since 2010 under Sir Nick Clegg’s leadership. Support for the Brexit Party, which came first in the European parliament elections on 31.6 per cent, dropped back. Twenty-two per cent of voters would back the party if a general election were held now, the poll found. The Tories and Labour were tied on 19 per cent, with the Greens on 8 per cent. It is unprecedented for two challenger parties to take the top places in a voting intention poll, according to Anthony Wells, of YouGov.” – The Times


  • Scare tactics about the Brexit Party won’t save Labour in Peterborough – Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph
  • Lib Dems must use their failed coalition to build a winning one – John Kampfner, Times Red Box


  • They have an historic opportunity… again – The Times

Scottish Government faces ‘devastating’ funding gap

The Scottish Government is facing a £1 billion black hole in its budget over the next three years, according to official forecasts, prompting warnings of tax rises and spending cuts. The figure, revealed by the Scottish Fiscal Commission, is the result of budgets being adjusted to take account of the fact that Scotland now collects its own income tax, and is more dependent on its own economic performance. The economic watchdog said negative income tax reconciliations meant less money would be available for future budgets. According to its estimates, the budget will be reduced by £229 million next year, a further £608 million in 2020/21 and £188 million from the following year.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Labour risks extinction in Scotland if it doesn’t embrace Remain – David Martin, Times Red Box
  • There is no clamour for another independence vote – Alan Cochrane, Daily Telegraph

News in Brief:

  • Farage is the one figure in British politics who has learnt from his mistakes – Douglas Carswell, CapX
  • Am I underestimating opium-fiend Rory Stewart? – Iain Martin, Reaction
  • The strangeness of Hunt’s leadership campaign – Charles Moore, The Spectator
  • Five ways to fix broken Britain – Sunder Katwala, UnHerd
  • Innovation happens when the government stays clear – Andrew Boff, 1828