Endgame for May? Double poll blow for her as the ’22 Executive moves to force her out.

Blow 1) For the first time, a poll shows that the Conservatives would win fewer votes than the Brexit Party in a general election – and come third…

“A ComRes survey found that if a general election campaign led by Theresa May took place now, it would put the Tories on course for their worst result in history – apparently confirming the fears of Conservative MPs and activists in uproar over the Prime Minister’s handling of Brexit. Labour would become the largest party by a margin of 137 seats, allowing Jeremy Corbyn to lead a minority government as the Tories fell to third place in terms of vote share.” – Sunday Telegraph

Blow 2) …As another shows the Party on 11 per cent for the European elections – below the Liberal Democrats

“The Opinium survey for the Observer places the Brexit party on 34%, when people were asked how they intended to vote on 23 May, with Labour slipping to 21% and the Conservatives collapsing to just 11%. Ominously for Theresa May, support for the Tories at the European elections is now less than a third of that for Farage’s party, and below that for the Liberal Democrats, who are on 12%.” – Observer

> Today: Dr Dan Boucher on 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.

Meanwhile, the last Cabinet loyalists give up on the Prime Minister…

“Loyalists — including Karen Bradley, James Brokenshire, Julian Smith, Chris Grayling and her deputy, David Lidington — think she has next to no chance of having a Brexit deal approved by parliament and will have to step aside in the next few weeks. Liam Fox, who has also stood by May, has privately revealed he is prepared to resign and lead a cabinet walkout if she agrees a deal with Labour to keep Britain in a customs union with Brussels.” – Sunday Times

  • Fox now leads the “Pizza Group”, Hunt is “on suicide watch”…and Philip May now believes that his wife must make a dignified exit – Sunday Times
  • Leadsom and Grayling also see Customs Union membership as crossing a red line and would resign too – Mail on Sunday
  • Cabinet poised for row over no deal planning. Barclay wants it stepped up. He warns that we risk sleepwalking into staying in the EU – Sun on Sunday
  • Brokenshire has two ovens – Sunday Times

> Yesterday: Lockwood Smith on Comment: To be, or not to be, in a customs union? Lessons from New Zealand.

…As Williamson puts the boot in. He calls for Brexit talks with Labour to end and says that May must keep her promises…

“The Conservative Party needs to be the party that delivers on its promises. If it is able to do this, it will flourish and be the party that voters know they can trust. We need to accept that these talks with Labour are fruitless and that not only will they not deliver the Brexit that people voted for, they are a betrayal of the direct instructions the people gave us in 2016 and 2017. We are now at a crossroads and it is imperative the Prime Minister makes the right choice.” – Mail on Sunday

…While the ’22 Executive moves to force a leadership election before the summer.

“Senior Tories want the final two in place at the start of the summer recess at the end of July to allow a nationwide hustings for members. The message will be relayed to the PM if she doesn’t give a clear answer when meeting the 1922 Committee this week. Sir Graham Brady said she would be meeting the group to offer “clarity” on her exit from Downing Street. MPs fear that without offering a clear date ahead of her Brexit deal being approved could see her in position for months. The expected field stands could eventually be more than a dozen and could take time to reduce – before going to the Tory membership.” – Sun on Sunday

Dominic Lawson: The Conservative leadership void is being filled by egomaniacs, no hopers and buffoons

“Usually when someone at the top of an organisation is fatally wounded, there is either an obvious replacement or a small cadre of highly experienced, battle-hardened successors-in-waiting. Not in this case: the queue of those looking in the mirror and fancying themselves as the next prime minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has grown to such an absurd length that the slightest sense of hierarchy is lost.” – Sunday Times

> Today: ToryDiary – There are too many Conservative leadership candidates

> Yesterday: Columnist Nick Hargrave – Modernisers may not trust Johnson, but they should learn from him

Davis, McVey and Taxpayers’ Alliance will call together this week for HS2 to be scrapped

“Scrapping the controversial HS2 project would free-up enough cash to bankroll 28 critical transport projects across Britain, a report will claim this week. A decision to abandon the £56 billion rail scheme would allow cash to be diverted to fund the reopening of disused lines, the construction of new stations and the upgrade of roads currently clogged with congestion. Vital projects that could be funded include turning about 30 miles of the A1 trunk road between Newcastle and Edinburgh to dual carriageway and a new rail link between London and Eastbourne on the East Sussex coast.” – Mail on Sunday

> Yesterday: John Penrose on Comment: Why railways should be more like airlines – and how passengers would gain if they were

And in other Brexit news, Corbyn watches his back as Watson goes on manoeuvres

“Sources close to the Labour leader have become increasingly alarmed by Watson’s behaviour after he began recruiting colleagues to join his Future Britain group following the defection of eight Labour MPs for the Independent Group — now Change UK — in February. There are fears in Labour’s high command that Watson is establishing a party within a party that could eventually take control of its finances and MPs. The fears have been fuelled by claims that more than 100 Labour MPs will demand a firm guarantee that any Brexit deal is put to a confirmatory referendum before endorsing a “Westminster stitch-up”.” – Sunday Times

  • Labour leader pledges to extend plans for a £10-an-hour minimum wage to 16 year-olds – Sun on Sunday
  • Billionaires prepare for “Corbygeddon” and leaving the country – Sunday Times
  • McDonnell warns big businesses they will be delisted if they don’t tackle climate change… – Mail on Sunday
  • …And plans basic income trials in Liverpool and Sheffield – Observer
  • Ashworth wants to boost sexual health services – Sun on Sunday
  • Khan-Trump feud latest – Mail on Sunday
  • Cost of the Mayor’s bike bridge doubles – Mail on Sunday
  • The People’s Vote campaign has been taken over by Labour – Dan Hodges, Mail on Sunday
  • Ronnie Campbell quizzed over alleged office assault on radio presenter – Mail on Sunday
  • When the rich flee from Labour the poor will suffer – Sunday Times Editorial

LibDems plan to kill Change UK with kindness

“Internal polling has revealed that voters are turned off by factional feuding so the best way of seeing off the new party is by being as nice as possible to their “remain” rivals. With the Lib Dems and Change UK vying for the support of the same group of voters, the two remain-supporting parties were expected to clash openly as they go head-to-head in the forthcoming European elections. Both are targeting seats in London, Wales, the West Midlands and the north — with the Lib Dems hoping to increase their representation in the European parliament from one seat to four.” – Sunday Times

  • Cable claims that the Government is secretly planning a second referendum – Sun on Sunday
  • Who should Remainers choose? – Deborah Mattinson, Observer

> Yesterday: ToryDiary – Where does the Liberal Democrat revival leave Change UK’s cursed campaign?

Dia Chakravarty: We’ll be stuck with professional politicians if MPs don’t have second jobs

“There comes a stage in every dysfunctional relationship – and the British public’s current relationship with its elected representatives is nothing if not dysfunctional – where one asks oneself: is it me? Do I attract the wrong kind of people by sending out mixed messages? As an electorate, we may well be guilty of this when it comes to our attitude to MPs’ second jobs. We complain that we have too many out-of-touch career politicians, but we can also be quick to condemn those who retain a link with the world outside the Westminster bubble by taking on employment beyond their role as an MP.” – Sunday Telegraph