May faces showdown with ’22 over departure date…

Theresa May will be forced from office within a month if she does not set out a timetable for her departure when she meets senior backbench MPs on Thursday. The Prime Minister will be told she faces the prospect of a confidence vote of her own MPs on June 12 if she does not agree to quit before the summer. Mrs May has already promised to stand down once Britain has formally left the EU, but the executive of the 1922 Committee of backbench Tories will tell her on Thursday that she must agree to resign regardless of whether her Brexit deal is passed by Parliament. There is growing unease within Tory ranks about the swift rise of Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party, which now has more than 100,000 paying supporters and is expected to dominate next week’s European elections.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Grandees renew call for a confirmed exit timetable – FT
  • Loyalists ‘threaten to oust challengers’ if they try to topple her – The Sun
  • One week in June could be May’s Waterloo – Daily Telegraph


  • Brexit Secretary warns that deal has ‘one last chance’… – FT
  • …as Brexiteers claim it is headed for a three-digit defeat – The Sun
  • Tories, DUP, and Labour prepare to vote it down – Daily Mail
  • Backlash at Prime Minister for holding Brexit vote during Trump visit – The Times
  • Fox sets ‘red line’ of leaving customs union by next election – The Sun


  • Every day she clings on makes it harder for her successor – Nick Timothy, Daily Telegraph
  • If the Prime Minister resigns, we can deliver what people voted for – John Whittingdale MP, The Guardian
  • May’s legacy could be her party’s destruction – Owen Paterson MP, Daily Telegraph

>Today: ToryDiary: Once May has been dragged out of Downing Street, perhaps it will be seen that she was pursuing a noble Anglican compromise


…as Davidson rebukes Conservatives for weak Euro campaign

“Ruth Davidson has rebuked senior Tory MPs for failing to campaign for the party before next week’s European parliament elections. The leader of the Scottish Conservatives said the efforts of her colleagues in a “leadership position” at Westminster had been “pretty disappointing”. Asked if Theresa May was an electoral asset, Ms Davidson could say only that voters could see she was “trying her best”. Mrs May is expected to make a token appearance on the campaign trail tomorrow. Her husband, Philip, took part in telephone canvassing at Conservative campaign headquarters (CCHQ) on Tuesday evening.” – The Times

  • Truss warns that Tories will cede power to Farage if they don’t embrace Brexit – The Sun
  • Brexit Party forecast to win a majority of UK seats… – Daily Telegraph
  • …as new poll puts it second place in Scotland – Daily Express


  • A Tory revival to see off populism needs Gove – Harry Hodges, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Daniel Hannan MEP’s column: Eight reasons to vote Conservative in next week’s Euro-elections

Liz Truss: Labour, not Brexit, is the real threat to our prosperity

“We hear a lot from Labour about how Brexit is the biggest threat to our economy. But the truth is: it’s Corbyn, McDonnell and their extreme plans for the economy that pose the real threat. Their war on enterprise and the individual is fuelling an insidious notion that aspiration and success are somehow bad, and all we need is a committee run by politicians to solve our problems. As anyone old enough to remember the late trains and soggy sandwiches of British Rail can tell you – this is a fantasy that has failed before. I’m extremely optimistic about our future. But only by embracing success and enterprise, and rejecting Labour’s destructive plans, will we achieve what’s newly-possible outside the EU.” – Daily Telegraph

  • The Opposition will raid your nest egg and pension – Robert Colvile, Daily Mail

>Today: Rachel Wolf’s column: Twenty policy questions for the aspiring Conservative leadership candidates.

May receives Australian warning over Huawei

Malcolm Turnbull, the former Australian prime minister who banned Huawei from the country’s 5G network, has warned Theresa May the potential risks posed by the Chinese telecoms giants “cannot be effectively mitigated”. In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Mr Turnbull said that Huawei was a “high-risk vendor” and it was not possible to “design a way around” security concerns associated with it. Mr Turnbull, who attended Oxford University with Mrs May, said he had decided to ban the Chinese firms Huawei and ZTE from supplying 5G equipment last year after being warned by Australian intelligence it was “not possible” to find “engineering solutions” to mitigate the risk.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Trump bars US businesses from dealing with Chinese firm – The Guardian


  • Tech giants strike deal with leaders to curb extremism – The Times

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: PMQs Sketch – May shows grace under pressure, but no sign of having found the answer

Government expected to reject new definition of Islamophobia

“Theresa May is expected to reject today a definition of Islamophobia proposed by British Muslim groups. Ministers will instead appoint two independent advisers to draw up a less “legally problematic” definition, Whitehall officials said. Calls to abandon the reform, under which hostility to Islam would be treated as a form of racism, were led by Sara Khan, the anti-extremism tsar, and Neil Basu, head of counterterrorism policing. More than 40 people wrote to Sajid Javid, the home secretary, saying that the change would bring in “a backdoor blasphemy law”. The reform was proposed by the all-party parliamentary group (APPG) on British Muslims, which had become concerned by threats such as attacks on mosques.” – The Times

>Today: Fiyaz Mughal in Comment: Lewis genuinely cares – but the Party lacks transparency over its anti-Muslim problem. Here’s what it should do.

>Yesterday: Tom Wilson in Comment: How this Islamophobia definition would weaken the Government’s counter-terror strategy

Defence 1) UK and US clash over threat from Iran

“The British military was engaged in a public clash with the Pentagon yesterday over claims by Washington about the “imminent” threat posed by Iran. The Ministry of Defence backed a senior officer who dismissed warnings from the Pentagon that Iranian-linked groups were preparing to launch attacks against western targets in the Middle East. The Trump administration has rushed military assets to the Gulf, including an aircraft carrier strike group and B-52 bombers, in response to what it said were credible threats from Iranian forces.” – The Times

  • Allies stand shoulder to shoulder, but not eye to eye – Catherine Philp, The Times

Defence 2) Mordaunt calls for legal protections to be extended to Ulster veterans

“Penny Mordaunt has called for legal safeguards to protect troops who served in Northern Ireland from the “chilling” threat of repeated investigations. The defence secretary yesterday unveiled laws that would limit historical prosecutions against troops over their conduct on overseas operations. A statutory presumption against prosecution once ten years has passed after an alleged offence is set to be introduced. However, it will not apply to troops who served in Northern Ireland during the Troubles as different rules cover the actions of personnel on home soil. Ms Mordaunt said tackling the issue was a priority but admitted: “It is not going to be resolved overnight.”” – The Times

  • Prime Minister accused of blocking bid to protect troops who fought IRA… – The Sun
  • …as Penning calls on Parliament to mark murder of his superior officer – News Letter
  • Defence Secretary fires salvo at Treasury over the military budget – FT


  • Muddled amnesty won’t work, and sends a dangerous message – Jonathan Freedland, The Guardian


  • A sensible limitation on prosecutions – The Times
  • New protections must extend to Northern Ireland – Daily Telegraph
  • May has chosen to appease Sinn Fein – The Sun

Abuse victims say Bradley is ‘unfit for office’

“Abuse victims in Northern Ireland have demanded Karen Bradley’s resignation after she again deferred action on a stalled compensation scheme. Survivors of abusive children’s homes run by the state and religious orders have accused the Northern Ireland secretary of treating them like a “political football” after she declined calls to sanction the outstanding redress payments. Mrs Bradley wrote to victims on Tuesday night telling them she had instead decided to add the controversial issue to the agenda of the latest Stormont talks process. Victims allege they are being used as pawns in a government bid to blackmail the local parties into striking a deal to restore devolution and release the compensation.” – News Letter

Gauke reverses Grayling’s probation reforms

“The government will renationalise the probation service after a semi-privatisation that a watchdog described as “irredeemably flawed”. The supervision of tens of thousands of low and medium-risk offenders will return to the public sector after having been outsourced to private companies, the government will announce today. Private companies and the voluntary sector will still be able to compete for work in services such as training, preparing offenders for work, and alcohol and drug treatment, worth about £280 million a year. David Gauke, the justice secretary, said all supervision and management of offenders done by community rehabilitation companies (CRCs) would return to the National Probation Service (NPS) from 2021.” – The Times

  • Time to get re-offending under control – David Gauke, Times Red Box

Scruton calls for universities to be privatised

“Sir Roger Scruton, the philosopher and writer, has said that getting rid of universities would be a way of ending the discrimination faced by conservatives on many campuses. He said that universities were state-sponsored institutions and that the hostility faced by conservatives indicated that “we have completely lost control”. At a conference in London about the future of Europe, Sir Roger, 75, suggested that universities could be set up outside the nexus of state control. He gave as an example the University of Buckingham, the private institution founded by Margaret Thatcher, where he teaches, which he said was heading in the right direction.” – The Times

  • Revising for GCSEs is tough, but will be worth it – Nick Gibb MP, Times Red Box

Labour activists to shame politicians with antisemitism ‘scorecard’

“Jewish Labour activists will name and shame politicians with an anti-Semitism score card. The Jewish Labour Movement has written to all of the the party’s MEP candidates quizzing them on their views on the racism crisis blowing the party apart. And the group, which has been affiliated to the Labour Party for 99 years, plan to do the same to the party’s MPs. The group said they have taken the dramatic step after losing all confidence in Jeremy Corbyn’s ability to kick racists out of the party. The results will be published and politicians who fail the test singled out.” – The Sun

  • Opposition urged to adopt ‘radical’ pledges in next manifesto – The Guardian

Cherry fires back as SNP infighting heats up

An influential SNP MP has delivered an extraordinary attack on party colleagues for stabbing her in the back in a public rebuff of Nicola Sturgeon’s attempt to placate her. Joanna Cherry, the party’s home affairs spokesman at Westminster, suggested that even Tories act more honourably as “at least they do their back stabbing in public.” In what appeared to be a brazen challenge to Ms Sturgeon’s authority, she also ‘liked’ a tweet referring to a newspaper column that questioned whether the First Minister’s “days are numbered”. Her intervention came after she launched a scathing attack on the party leadership and claimed to be the victim of an internal smear campaign over bullying allegations.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Blackford says Scotland needs free movement of people to combat stagnation – Daily Express


  • Looming end of the Sturgeon era fuels the feuding – Kenny Farquharson, The Times
  • This is not the time for leadership manoeuvres, Cherry – Laura Waddell, The Scotsman

Brexit Party closes in on Tory ‘membership’ levels

Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party is laying claim to be the fastest growing party in modern British political history as the number of registered supporters surged through the 100,000 mark. The Brexit Party has eight more rallies planned between now and election day on Thursday next week. Mr Farage said seven of the venues – each holding between 1,500 and 3,000 people – were now sold out. “There is a pent-up demand for this,” he said. On a visit to south Wales Mr Farage hailed the surge in numbers of registered supporters for the Brexit Party and said he hoped that by the time of the European Parliament elections next Thursday the party would have overtaken the Conservatives.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Police will ensure ‘rule of law’ during Scottish visit, candidate insists – The Scotsman
  • Leader buoyant as roadshow arrives in south Wales – Daily Telegraph


  • My party should be allied to the Brexit Party, not Labour – Crispin Blunt MP, Daily Telegraph
  • Farage and strange case of the European elections – Roula Khalaf, FT
  • Tories are deluded if they think the Brexit Party can’t supplant them – Allister Heath, Daily Telegraph

Change UK lose a second Scottish candidate

“Change UK’s leading candidate in Scotland for the European elections quit the party yesterday and urged voters to back the Liberal Democrats. David Macdonald said he feared that the Scottish Remain vote would be “diluted”. He was originally second on Change UK’s list of candidates for Scotland but Joseph Russo, the first lead candidate, stood down within a day of being selected after offensive tweets were uncovered about black women and Gary Glitter. In a letter to Anna Soubry, the Change UK MP, Mr Macdonald said that he was renouncing his own campaign “without animosity or rancour”.” – The Times

  • He had pledged to ‘kill’ intruders – The Scotsman
  • A fresh humiliation for Umunna’s party – The Sun

News in Brief:

  • Despite poor omens, Tories have a good story to tell at the Euros – Rupert Matthews MEP, Brexit Central
  • Remainers shouldn’t be so confident about winning a second referendum – Ben Kelly, Reaction
  • Political fragmentation is making Europe harder to govern – Dom Walsh, CapX
  • Johnson may be the Tories’ best hope – James Forsyth, The Spectator
  • Can politics cope with the digital age? – Carl Miller, UnHerd