Leadership 1) Any concessions from May to Labour on the Customs Union and “she will be gone very quickly”

“The Prime Minister wants to sign off an agreement with Jeremy Corbyn on Tuesday in order to avoid having to send new MEPs to the European Parliament, but there is little appetite for a cross-party deal among her own backbenchers. Rivals in the race to succeed Mrs May are on a state of high alert in case a compromise deal with Labour becomes the trigger for a leadership election. Senior sources within the Conservative Party said on Monday that Mrs May will be “gone very quickly” if she moves towards Labour’s demands for a post-Brexit customs union with the EU.” – Daily Telegraph

Leadership 2) Brady to meet the Prime Minister today to press for resignation date

“Theresa May is to meet the chairman of an influential committee of backbench Tory MPs, Sir Graham Brady, amid calls for her to set a firm resignation date. It follows a request from the 1922 committee for “clarity” on the issue. No 10 insists the meeting is routine but BBC political correspondent Iain Watson said Sir Graham is likely to press the prime minister for a timetable for her departure. Meanwhile, cross-party talks to break the Brexit deadlock are due to resume. In March, Mrs May pledged to stand down if and when Parliament ratified her Brexit withdrawal agreement with the EU – but she has not made it clear how long she intends to stay if no deal is reached.” – BBC

  • Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown wants a timetable for her departure announced before the European elections – The Times
  • It is time for new leadership before Labour Government becomes inevitable – Leader, The Sun

>Yesterday: Stephen Lynch on Comment: The Tories need a leader with emotional intelligence

Leadership 3) Party activists to hold no-confidence vote

“Prime Minister Theresa May has been given a new warning that Tories are turning against her – with members of the party plotting a confidence vote in her next month. Mrs May could be ousted from her post as Andrew Sharpe, the chairman of grassroots National Conservative Convention, will announce that an Extraordinary General Meeting will be held on June 15.The result of the vote will not be binding, but it will mount pressure on Mrs May to quit.” – The Sun

>Today: MPsETC: “We no longer feel that Mrs May is the right person to continue as Prime Minister”. The emergency national convention motion. Full text.

Leadership 4) Rival candidates differ on the case for an early general election

“Boris Johnson’s Brexit stance in the upcoming contest will be to “go back to Brussels and renegotiate the backstop”, according to his supporters, something he believes a “change in political will” can deliver despite opposition in Brussels. And while not advocating an election, those close to him think he is well placed to beat Labour…Friends of Dominic Raab also said he would “seek an early exit from the backstop” and “would not want an early election, and would only seek one if it became a necessity”. Home secretary Sajid Javid, is one of the few candidates for whom the prospect of a general election is key to his appeal. His campaign team has circulated polling showing that his ratings among the general public are much less negative than those of Mr Johnson or Mr Raab.” – Sebastian Payne, Financial Times

Leadership 5) Phillips: A return to Burkean principles is crucial

“What’s desperately needed now is a statesman who will tell the nation, as Burke observed during that earlier revolutionary cataclysm, that his party will not begin by “despising everything that belonged to you”. Instead it should conserve the inheritance of “wise ancestors” as the surest basis for national improvement, making the cause of liberty “venerable in the eyes of every worthy mind in every nation” and thus having “shamed despotism from the earth”. Now that would be a party worth voting for. Where is the leader who will create it?” – Melanie Phillips, The Times

Brexit 1) Ministers spend an extra £160 million on consultants

“The government has signed a round of new Brexit contracts with outside consultants worth almost £160m. Many of them are due to run until April 2020, six months after the UK’s new scheduled departure date from the European Union. Since the EU referendum, Whitehall has hired companies to carry out consultancy work to prepare for Brexit. The government said it would continue to “draw on the expert advice” of a range of specialists. In February, an analysis for the BBC found the government had agreed contracts worth £104m for outside help on Brexit.” – BBC

>Today: Bim Afolami on Comment: Why I am joining the Commission seeking Alternative Arrangements for the Northern Ireland border

Brexit 2) The Prince of Wales to urge that close ties to Germany continue

“The Prince of Wales is to make a heartfelt plea for Britain to retain close links with Germany after Brexit. He says in a speech to be given today that the two nations “are friends and natural partners” and that the bonds they share “must endure”. Although his words may be interpreted by some as voicing Remain sympathies, a Clarence House source said that it was not about Brexit but how the countries related to each other whatever the result of the negotiations. The prince would give a deeply personal speech that reflected his strong feelings about Britain’s cultural ties with Germany, “an issue which he feels passionately about”, the source added. All speeches by the prince on official overseas tours are cleared by Downing Street.” – The Times

Brexit 3) Wallace: Tory activists have gone on strike for the Euro Elections

“This activist strike is growing. Before the locals, Derbyshire County Councillors voted not to campaign in the European elections, as did Redditch Conservative Association…Beyond the formal party structures, many individual members have independently resolved to simply stay at home…If Tory members are so annoyed that they refuse to campaign and in many cases intend to vote for the Brexit Party, it’s easy to imagine the mood among the voter base, many of whom already feel their loyalty has been tried beyond its breaking point. People dislike broken promises, and, as 2017 showed, they hate being forced to vote unnecessarily. These absurd European elections combine both offences against the electorate.” Mark Wallace, The i

>Today: ToryDiary: ConHome’s survey. Our panel and the European elections. Three in five Tory members will still vote for the Brexit Party.

Brexit 4) Sylvester: A second referendum could still happen

“Mrs May could still agree to a confirmatory referendum to get her withdrawal agreement passed. Some of her allies believe it was a mistake not to “reach over the heads of parliament to the people” when she lost the second meaningful vote…Ultimately the next prime minister will need a mandate of their own. “The whole thing potentially ends with a new leader promising a tougher Brexit but getting into office, realising they can’t deliver it and then having to make the choice between a general election and referendum,” one cabinet minister says. “In that case, inevitably, they will choose a referendum because who would want to roll the dice on their own premiership so soon after they got to power?” – Rachel Sylvester, The Times

  • Spectre of a general election looms large – Sebastian Payne, Financial Times
  • I’m a Labour MP, and a second referendum was a difficult sell on the doorstep – Andrew Gwynne, The Guardian
  • The EU Elections will be like a referendum – Daily Express

Hinds calls for fewer pupils to be excluded from school

“Fewer pupils should be excluded from school, according to the education secretary, who said that a fall in the numbers would be the measure of success of a reformed system. Damian Hinds said that he would begin implementing the 30 recommendations made by Edward Timpson in his report into school exclusions, published in full today. They include measures to make sure that schools take into their academic rankings the exam results of pupils they exclude. Mr Timpson, a former education minister, also said that schools must take on responsibility for finding a good place for their excluded pupils to go to and be a part of the commissioning process for “alternative provision” where many end up.” – The Times

Gove demands an end to the “scandal” of food waste

“Michael Gove has urged chefs, restaurateurs and hoteliers to help the Government end the “moral, economic, and environmental scandal” of throwing away food. The Environment Secretary will host a summit next week when he will call on 300 organisations and prominent individuals to pledge to significantly reduce their food waste. The pledge includes a commitment to checking the fridge before going shopping and always using a shopping list to better plan meals…Mr Gove will host the food symposium in London alongside the Government’s Food Surplus and Waste Champion Ben Elliot.” – Daily Telegraph

Political leaders offer congratulations following birth of Royal baby

“Prime Minister Theresa May, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon were among the politicians to offer their congratulations to the royal couple on Twitter. Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, who married the couple in May last year, said: “May God bless the new family with love, health and happiness.” – BBC

  • Michelle Obama joins the tributes – The Times
  • Why the first ever mixed race royal can make us all proud – Trevor Phillips, Daily Mail

Khan attacked for green hypocrisy

“Sadiq Khan has been branded a hypocrite for campaigning on green issues while he and his team have racked up enough air miles to reach the Moon since he became Mayor of London. Mr Khan and his senior staff have travelled 280,000 miles around the world despite his warnings of a ‘climate emergency’ threatening the planet. Their globetrotting has produced 180 tons of carbon dioxide – so much that it would reportedly take two-and-a-half acres of trees 34 years to cleanse it from the atmosphere.” – Daily Mail

  • Sturgeon told to scrap air tax cut to tackle climate emergency – The Scotsman

Fewer people giving to charity due to scandals

“Fewer people are giving to charity, in what researchers say is a worrying trend at a time when trust in charities appears to be falling. The proportion of the UK public who gave money direct to charity in 2018 dropped to 57%, compared with 60% the previous year and 61% in 2016. Numbers giving money or sponsoring someone fell to 65%, compared with 67% in 2017 and 69% the year before. The Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), which produces the estimates based on online surveys, said there had been a clear downward trend over the three years, a period during which the charity sector was rocked by scandals.” – The Guardian

Trump escalates trade war with China

“Senior US officials accused China of backtracking on its pledges in talks to end the trade war between the world’s largest economies, raising the risk of a collapse in the negotiations between Washington and Beijing. In a briefing on Monday, Robert Lighthizer, the US trade representative, and Steven Mnuchin, the US Treasury secretary, said the Trump administration was prepared to move ahead with higher tariffs on $200bn of Chinese imports as early as Friday morning, in response to the impasse in the talks..Last week, Mr Lighthizer and Mr Mnuchin left Beijing touting “productive” conversations with Liu He, China’s vice-premier, that were widely expected to set the stage for a final session and possibly an agreement by the end of this week.  On Sunday, however, Donald Trump, the US president, fired off a pair of tweets denouncing the slow pace of the negotiations and vowing to impose higher tariffs on a wide range of Chinese goods to put pressure on Beijing.” – Financial Times

  • Is the deal over? – BBC
  • Global markets in tailspin – City AM
  • Allowing Huawei to build 5G in UK will be unforgivable if it damages our relationship with allies – Dominic Grieve, Daily Telegraph

Le Pen edges ahead of Macron

“President Macron has warned his ministers that they are at risk of losing their jobs if his centrist party does not win this month’s European elections. The threat was designed to push members of his government on to the campaign trail after his La République En Marche (LREM) movement fell behind Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally in an opinion poll. Defeat by Ms Le Pen, 50, would represent a setback to Mr Macron’s plan to lead what he calls the renaissance of the EU. The vote this month is his first national test since he became president two years ago with a promise to revolutionise French and European politics.” – The Times

Saatchi: Thatcher would agree we need to share America’s self-confidence

“To disarm its enemies and defeat its rivals, it only has to focus its intellectual energy and vast economic resources on policies that would help the world follow its lead; to find the language to protect its founding ideology beyond its own shores, and to remind the world of its ultimate belief in self-determination, individuality, independence – and democracy as a means to that great end. American intellectual self-confidence has been the heartbeat of Western civilisation. As Mrs Thatcher knew, Britain is a better country when it shares in that self-confidence; when it rejects conformity and complacency, and works with its greatest ally to build a better and more prosperous world for all – with a shared idea of liberty as its founding stone.” – Maurice Saatchi, Daily Telegraph

News in brief

  • It’s capitalism, not socialism, that will beat climate change – Benedict McAleenan, The Spectator
  • What Thatcher got right – Oliver Wiseman, Cap X
  • Why Change UK/TIG is failing to make an impact – Dominique Samuels, Brexit Central
  • Whatever happened to tolerance? – Will Jones, The Conservative Woman
  • The future of Mrs May – John Redwood