Published:

May’s deal faces ‘moment of truth’ next month…

“Theresa May will put her Brexit deal to the Commons next month in a vote that will determine her remaining time as prime minister. She told Jeremy Corbyn last night that in the week commencing June 3 she will bring in legislation implementing the divorce agreement with or without Labour’s support. “We are approaching the moment of truth,” a cabinet minister said of the prime minister’s decision, which effectively puts her premiership on the line. Mrs May has so far held back from introducing the Withdrawal Agreement Bill as she sought agreement from Labour that it would not vote it down.” – The Times

  • Prime Minister to face PMQs after vowing to put Withdrawal Agreement to MPs… – Daily Telegraph
  • …under pressure from a ‘deeply frustrated’ Cabinet… – The Sun
  • …to whom she delivered a plea/rant against ‘absolutism’ – Twitter
  • ‘Up to two dozen’ Labour MPs may switch sides – Daily Mirror
  • Gove tells plotters to back off – The Sun

>Today: ToryDiary: Brexit. May kicks the can towards the edge of the cliff.

…as Robbins jets to Brussels to negotiate ‘temporary’ customs union

“Theresa May’s top Brexit negotiator jetted into Brussels last night to start thrashing out the possibility of a Customs Union compromise with the EU. Olly Robbins met with officials close to Council chief Donald Tusk to discuss the likely terms of a temporary customs deal lasting until the next election. He will hold more negotiations with Michel Barnier’s deputy, Sabine Weyand, today in a bid to break the stalemate as cross-party talks near collapse. The pair will explore updating the trade blueprint to add a temporary Customs Union, which could be made permanent if Labour wins power in May 2022.” – The Sun

  • UK too divided to exploit splits in Brussels – Politico

More:

  • Leadership contenders threaten to ‘tear up’ soft-Brexit deal… – The Sun
  • …which McDonnell says has ‘not helped’ talks – Daily Mail

Editorial:

  • May should realise the customs union erodes our sovereignty – The Sun

>Yesterday: Henry Newman’s column: The Tory poll collapse is nothing to do with May’s Withdrawal Agreement. MPs should vote for it – and deliver Brexit

Leadership 1) Poll suggests change of leader will not stave off electoral disaster

“Ousting Theresa May and replacing her with a Brexiteer will not save the Tories from electoral annihilation, according to a new poll that shows the Conservatives 12 percentage points down. The ComRes survey on voting intention found Labour leading on 27 per cent, with the Tories neck-and-neck with the Brexit Party on 20 per cent, and the Lib Dems trailing on 13 per cent. That represents a five percentage point fall for Labour since last month while the Lib Dems vote share rose by six percentage points If the parties were to achieve these vote shares at a general election it would result in Labour being the largest party but 13 seats short of a majority – and Nigel Farage’s party emerging with 36 seats, according to Electoral Calculus (Con 199, Lab 313, SNP 55, Brex 36, LD 24, Grn 1, PC 4, CHUK 0).” – Daily Telegraph

  • Tories try to avoid crisis as European election looms – FT
  • Blunt urges Brexit Party pact – The Sun
  • Expert says result will make Farage a ‘political force’ – Daily Express
  • The cost of Labour’s Brexit muddle – FT
  • Farage says he might even prop up Corbyn – The Sun

More:

  • Johnson faces more lawfare over £350 million referendum claim – FT
  • Lords suddenly press for MEPs to lose parliamentary passes – Daily Mail
  • Is the party over for the centre-right? – FT

Comment:

  • May is doing irreparable damage, so why won’t MPs oust her? – Katy Balls, Daily Telegraph
  • Pro-EU Tories lack the courage to stand and fight – Max Hastings, The Times
  • The Prime Minister could have neutralised Farage – Philip Johnston, Daily Telegraph

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

>Yesterday: Andrea Gee in Comment: I’m standing in this Euro-election in Scotland to help deliver Brexit – and defy Sturgeon

Leadership 2) Truss warns against anti-wealth sentiment

“Wealth is turning into a dirty word among suspicious Brits, a Tory leadership contender will say today. Treasury Chief Secretary Liz Truss will warn of “an insidious notion being allowed to infect Britain” that people’s riches are never deservedly earned. The Cabinet minister will claim: “Whatever the risk someone has taken, whatever the hard work they have put in, it is subject to suspicion. I think this anti-success attitude is hugely damaging”. The ambitious minister’s intervention will be seen as a thinly veiled attack on PM Theresa May’s hostility to boardrooms through out her premiership with her bids to introduce fat cat pay limits and more say for workers.” – The Sun

  • Local businesses criticise ‘clueless’ opposition to online sales tax – Daily Mirror

Comment:

>Yesterday: Hilton Brown in Comment: I’m as loyal as they come, but enough is enough. May must go.

Leadership 3) Rudd rails against ‘politics of grievance and outrage’

“Amber Rudd railed against the ‘politics of grievance and outrage’ last night, urging the Tories not to leave the centre ground – in an apparent attempt to shape the Tory leadership contest… In a speech to a Tory think tank, Miss Rudd said the language of ‘betrayal’ and treachery fuelled violence against MPs. And she also warned that Conservatives were facing the ‘fight of our lives’ against Jeremy Corbyn. The Work and Pensions Secretary made the remarks in a speech to the centrist think tank Onward in which she backed the Tories to be a ‘pragmatic, compassionate centre-Right government’.” – Daily Mail

  • May tells Cabinet she’ll ‘punish disloyalty’ – The Times

Editorial:

  • Hunt is right on defence – The Sun

>Yesterday: James Frayne’s column: These Tory leadership candidates haven’t grasped the scale of the collapse of confidence in their party

The Times: A new definition of Islamophobia may cause more problems than it solves

“Globally speaking, Britain is a fine country in which to be a member of any minority, yet no one could deny that anti-Muslim prejudice exists. Accusations of rampant Islamophobia in the Tory party, particularly, are long-running, with Mohammed Amin, chairman of the Conservative Muslim Forum, warning only yesterday in an article for the ConservativeHome website that the party’s coping strategy was not working. Yet, even as a word, “Islamophobia” is un- comfortably broad… The division is not always clear, but there are grave free-speech implications in allowing the scholarly or even casual critique of a religion to be defined as bigotry.” – The Times

  • May demands tech companies take down ‘sickening’ terror content – The Sun
  • Terror police warn against new rules on Muslim hate – The Times

Comment:

  • Complex problem of defining prejudice – Dominic Kennedy, The Times

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

>Yesterday: Mohammed Amin in Comment: How the Conservative Party should fix its Muslim problem

Mordaunt announces new protections for troops… except Ulster veterans

“Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt will today announce plans for new laws to protect brave veterans from legal witch hunts. She wants new legislation to prevent serving and ex-troops being charged after a time limit of 10 years unless overwhelming new evidence comes to light. But the MoD admitted it would not apply to Northern Ireland veterans – only those who served on operations overseas. Mordaunt will announce a short consultation today on the idea in a written statement to parliament. It is expected to begin within weeks. If passed the new law would protect ex-troops by giving them a “statuary presumption against prosecution” after 10 years.” – The Sun

  • Northern Irish exception risks angering Tory right – The Guardian
  • ‘We owe a huge debt of gratitude’ – Daily Express

Minister compares social media trolls to drunk drivers

“Social media trolls are as bad as drink drivers, the Government’s Suicide Prevention Minister has suggested as she called for society to treat them with the same level of revulsion. Jackie Doyle-Price said some online behaviour would never be “tolerated in the streets” and people needed to make clear “we don’t find that acceptable”. She compared online trolling to someone 30 years ago driving after drinking four pints – something that was “socially acceptable” at the time but which now most people would take a “very dim view of”. Meanwhile, she said social media platforms needed to clamp down on internet trolls and harmful content to stop the “Wild West” nature of the internet.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Time to put the brakes on HS2 – David Davis MP, Times Red Box

Leaked Labour plan to nationalise energy…

“Britain’s power and gas networks would be nationalised under a Labour government and replaced with a complex system of national, regional and municipal energy agencies. Streets, villages and housing estates could be handed responsibility for operating and maintaining the electricity cables and meters that supply their homes, a leaked document showed. The plans, expected to be announced within days, suggest that shareholders in companies that own the networks would be unlikely to be paid the market value for their assets, estimated to be worth £64 billion. The document says that the compensation would be decided by parliament, which could make deductions for factors such as “the state of repair of assets and state subsidies given to the energy companies”.” – The Times

  • Corporate leaders urged to ‘speak out’ against Corbyn – FT

…as former minister quits over antisemitism

“A former Labour minister has quit the party after 45 years in a furious protest at Jeremy Corbyn’s record on Brexit and tackling anti-Semitism. Bridget Prentice, who was MP for Lewisham East from 1992 to 2010, claimed the party had been ‘destroyed’ under Mr Corbyn’s leadership. In a fiercely-worded attack she said that ‘in all the major issues of the day, you have called it wrong’. Ms Prentice, who served as a whip and junior justice minister under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, said ‘enough is enough’. She said she was resigning with ‘deepest sadness and some anger’ after 45 years of party membership.” – Daily Mail

Change UK attacks ‘farce’ of second referendum campaign

“Change UK has accused the leading second referendum campaign group of taking orders from Labour after an effort to select a single Remainer candidate for the Peterborough by-election collapsed. Anna Soubry, who quit the Tories to help to form Change UK this year, said that the attitude of People’s Vote to Labour was a farce and that the cross-party group was in dangerous territory. An attempt by pro-Remain parties to unite behind an independent candidate for the June 6 by-election collapsed last week. Change UK, the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party were ready to endorse Femi Oluwole, an activist for a second referendum. He withdrew after what Change UK said was pressure from Labour within People’s Vote.” – The Times

Police call for reform of ‘cumbersome’ protest laws

“Britain’s “slow and cumbersome” laws on policing protests need to be updated after the Extinction Rebellion demonstrations that cost £7.5 million in extra police costs, the country’s most senior officer has said. Cressida Dick, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, said the “ancient” public order laws needed to be “looked at” because they prevented the police from acting “swiftly and purposefully” to tackle the protests which brought parts of London to a standstill. She said the offences for which protestors could be charged were minor, carrying fines in most cases of just £200 and a maximum of £1,000, which failed to act as a deterrent.” – Daily Telegraph

  • MI5 probed over potential data compliance breaches – FT

News in Brief:

  • Dear Change UK… – David Waywell, Reaction
  • How a million new homes could make the green belt greener – Eamonn Ives, CapX
  • Do our Supreme Court judges have too much power? – Richard Ekins, The Spectator
  • Labour’s dissembling on Brexit has driven me to quit the party – Tom Bewick, Brexit Central
  • The EU’s war on harm reduction is in full swing – Bill Wirtz, 1828

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