May urged to drop Labour talks in favour of more ‘indicative votes’…

“Theresa May was under pressure from cabinet ministers last night to scrap formal Brexit talks with Labour and launch a final attempt to secure a compromise in parliament. Supporters of a deal with the European Union are preparing to use tomorrow’s cabinet meeting to urge the prime minister to set a timetable for indicative votes by MPs after the European elections. The move comes amid growing criticism from Conservatives of the talks, which are due to begin again today, as ministers who previously supported them lose faith. Philip Hammond, the chancellor, is understood to have told colleagues that, while “amiable”, they are being held on the “false premise” that a politically acceptable deal could ever be struck.” – The Times

  • Prime Minister’s final showdown with rebels – Daily Express
  • Fury at CCHQ leaflet urging voters to lobby anti-deal Conservatives – Daily Telegraph
  • Tories slump to fifth place in polls – The Times

>Today: ToryDiary: Why the ’22 Executive must tell May to go this week

…as Hunt prepares to make intervention with Mansion House speech…

“Other ministers on “suicide watch” include Leadsom and the foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt. The born-again leaver is frustrated by the behaviour of the EU and keen to flex his muscles prior to a leadership attempt. Rivals say he is seeking to recruit Fox and Leadsom to bolster his Brexit credentials. Hunt, who is dubbed “the Waitrose candidate” by May’s allies, will use a speech at the Mansion House in London on Tuesday to set out his economic plans, arguing that we “need to undertake a national renewal post-Brexit” which “must start by renewing the British economy” – a coded rebuke to May and the chancellor, Philip Hammond.” – The Times

  • UK ‘sleepwalking’ towards remaining, warns Barclay – Daily Express
  • Delay will harm economic outlook, Bank of England warns – The Guardian


>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: “What’s the alternative?” Hinds asks of May’s talks with Corbyn

…and Corbyn is warned against abandoning second referendum

“Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader, will warn Jeremy Corbyn today that he will betray the party’s heritage unless he backs down and fully supports a second referendum on Brexit. Mr Watson will use the John Smith lecture to make a new attack on the leadership and warn the party against allowing Mr Corbyn to take it towards left-wing euroscepticism. In the lecture he invokes the memory of Smith, the Labour leader who died 25 years ago this month, to urge Mr Corbyn to back the pro-European internationalism that Smith championed. “If John was alive today to witness the great damage this process is wreaking on our country and our public debate, I have no doubt that he would have backed a people’s vote as a way out of this destructive mess,” he says.” – The Times

  • Starmer also joins the pro-EU push… – Daily Telegraph
  • …as he warns that Labour MPs would block Corbyn deal – Daily Express
  • Referendum requirement pushes talks to bring of collapse – Daily Mail
  • Blair says no-deal exit would ‘sweep away’ both parties – The Sun
  • Failure to deliver is boosting Brexit Party, warns Gardiner – The Guardian
  • UUP Euro candidate comes out against second vote – News Letter


Matthew d’Ancona: Both major parties have gone AWOL on Brexit

“There is something truly grotesque about the unrestrained political beauty contest into which May’s most senior colleagues have now flung themselves. Fashion shoots, posed photographs with spouses, “My vision for Britain” articles: you would never think that the UK had been granted a second extension by the EU, or that May’s withdrawal agreement had failed three times, or that the cross-party talks must deliver soon or collapse. Extraordinarily, most Tories see no contradiction or impropriety in this. So great is their faith in the power of leadership that they do believe that, say, Boris Johnson or Dominic Raab could do a better job in Brussels than May, and – by sheer force of charisma and personality – whip the EU into line.” – The Guardian

  • Fight and vote for Smith’s pro-EU vision – Tom Watson, Times Red Box
  • Strengthen digital campaigning rules before next vote – Philip Howard, FT
  • Pro-EU parties must unite for the European elections – Andrew Rawnsley, The Guardian
  • How ironic that Farage could help Corbyn crash the economy – Dominic Lawson, Daily Mail


  • Parties which fail to respect democracy will face consequences – Daily Telegraph

Donors give Javid’s leadership bid a boost

Sajid Javid’s leadership campaign has received a boost by pulling in £50,000 from major Tory donors who backed both Leave and Remain. Donations have come from five well known and established donors to the party including Ian Taylor, the chairman of energy trader Vitol and Rami Ranger, the founder of marketing giant Sun Mark. Each have donated £10,000 and the funds will be disclosed in Mr Javid’s entry in the Commons’ Register of Members’ interests next week (May 20), The Daily Telegraph can disclose. The other donors are Howard Shore, founder and executive chairman of Shore Capital, Alexia Florman, wife of former Tory party treasurer Mark Florman and financier Andrew Law.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Tories must pick Johnson to have any hope for survival – Trevor Kavanagh, The Sun

>Today: Chloe Westley’s column: There’s a word for the “certain type of people” you brush off, Ms Rudd. Conservatives.


Ministers 1) Grayling faces legal challenge over franchises

“Transport secretary Chris Grayling is facing legal action from a second European rail company over his department’s handling of a franchise competition to operate train services on the East Midlands line between London and cities including Nottingham and Sheffield. Arriva, a subsidiary of Germany’s Deutsche Bahn, has started legal proceedings against the UK government after the Department for Transport announced in April that a contract to run East Midlands services from August this year until 2027 would be awarded to Abellio, the overseas arm of the Netherlands’ national train operator.” – FT

  • Lords warn that ministers have failed to make the case for HS2 – Daily Telegraph

Ministers 2) May was warned about Williamson

“Theresa May was warned about Gavin Williamson’s bad mouthing when she became PM, but dubbed him “my bitch now”. The former Defence Secretary, who she sacked two weeks ago after accusing him of leaking secrets, is a well-known Westminster plotter. Yesterday, Mr Williamson avenged his firing by branding Mrs May’s decision to hold Brexit deal talks with Labour as “a grave mistake”. The Premier’s aides reported the senior Tory MP – who was then Chief Whip – to her in 2016 for allegedly telling other MPs she was “a charisma free bitch ”. But in a defiant riposte that showed the PM thought she could control Mr Williamson’s ways, Mrs May told her staff: “Well he’s my bitch now”.” – The Sun

Councils to be placed under legal obligation to house domestic abuse victims

Councils are for the first time to be placed under a legal duty to provide “safe houses” for victims of domestic abuse, Theresa May will announce today. The move will require a multi-million pound expansion but the government says it will provide the necessary funding to end a “postcode lottery” where victims in some areas are unable to find refuge places because there is no provision at all. Figures from Women’s Aid show that 400 victims a month are being turned down for places in secure accommodation, with as many as four abused women or men chasing every vacancy. Official crime survey data suggests 1.9 million adults experience domestic abuse each year.” – Daily Telegraph

  • It has no place in the UK, and we will defeat it – Theresa May, The Sun

Morgan’s committee calls on ministers to protect ‘access to cash’

Free-to-use ATMs and bank branches should be legally preserved with a special watchdog set up to prevent closures that deny people access to cash, says a powerful committee of MPs. The Treasury Committee says it is concerned by the rate at which ATMs have been closing – at least 300 a month – and the pace at which Britain is becoming a cashless society which threatens “stark” consequences for vulnerable people including the elderly. It proposes there should be a guarantee – potentially enforced by a legal duty of care on the banks – to ensure consumers and businesses have a right to access cash.” – Daily Telegraph

Farage slams BBC over interview…

“Nigel Farage lost his cool on TV today as he accused the BBC of being “in denial” over the rise of his Brexit Party. The new party is on course to win the Euro elections and could even beat the Tories in a General Election, polls show. But grilled about his track record today, Mr Farage hit out at “ludicrous” questions from the Beeb’s Andrew Marr. The Brexiteer claimed the BBC was trying to ignore his recent success by focussing on controversies from the past. He refused to apologise for saying that Britain shouldn’t tackle climate change and migrants with HIV should be banned.” – The Sun

  • Brexit Party candidate challenges Umunna to debate on Islamophobia – The Guardian

More BBC:


  • Interview exposed Farage’s gaping flaws – Peter Oborne, Daily Mail
  • Brexit Party and Change UK will be gone within a decade – Chris Curtis, Times Red Box

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Farage – “This is absolutely ludicrous. I’ve never in my life seen a more ridiculous interview than this.”

…as he calls on private healthcare providers to ‘relieve burden’ on NHS

“Nigel Farage has said private health companies should “relieve the burden” on the NHS, the UK ought to limit efforts to curb global warming, and defended anti-immigrant posters, as the rapid rise of his Brexit party led to his personal beliefs being scrutinised. In an often testy BBC interview, Farage also tried to justify his decision to shift from praising Norway-type deals before the EU referendum to advocating a no-deal departure, saying this was needed because Theresa May had botched the process. A poll ahead of the European elections has put the Brexit party, formed earlier this year after Farage quit Ukip, on 34% support, more than the combined total for Labour and the Conservatives.” – The Guardian

  • Socialism will never provide the resources our NHS needs – Boris Johnson, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Dan Boucher in Comment: I’m a committed Leaver. But the Brexit Party offers only protest. Here’s why I’m standing in the Euro-elections as a Tory.

SNP plunged into discord over bullying claims against MP

“Internal warfare has erupted within the SNP as a leading MP, facing allegations of bullying, accused others in her party of “lies” and “politically-motivated smears”. Joanna Cherry, QC, the SNP MP for Edinburgh South West, said that allegations she had bullied a staff member were part of a “smear campaign” against her. Her claims were backed by senior party sources who said the MP was being attacked for speaking out about misogyny on social media as well as her stance on proposed self-identification legislation for transgender people – with one source saying the campaign against her was “like the Crucible”.” – The Scotsman

News in Brief:

  • Is Farage about to blow up British politics? – Finn McRedmond, Reaction
  • A new generation of Tories need to reignite the flame of liberty – Priti Patel MP, 1828
  • What’s the point of breaking up Facebook? – Oliver Wiseman, CapX
  • Why Williamson’s ‘attack everywhere’ strategy failed – Paul Mason, The Spectator
  • How the expenses scandal broke politics – Douglas Murray, UnHerd