Will May concede to Labour on the Customs Union?

“Theresa May is preparing to cave in to Labour demands on Brexit, Eurosceptic ministers fear, after they were told an “unpalatable” outcome would be better than a “disastrous” one. The Prime Minister has made it clear that she wants cross-party talks wrapped up by the middle of next week, adding to suspicions that she is waiting until after tomorrow’s local elections before announcing a climbdown… Brexiteers still believe Mrs May can win round Tory rebels by making changes to the Northern Irish backstop, but the Prime Minister appears increasingly convinced that support from Labour is the only way to get the stable majority she needs for a divorce deal and the trade talks to come.” – Daily Telegraph

  • She won’t bring forward the Withdrawal Agreement Bill – Daily Express
  • Smith says it’s a deal with Labour or a new referendum – Daily Mail


  • May and Corbyn face Commons clash amidst ‘major pressure’ – Daily Telegraph
  • Seven-day limit on talks – The Sun
  • Allies accept her premiership is drawing to a close – FT
  • May is most evasive Tory prime minister in four decades – The Sun


  • This craven Cabinet must block a betrayal of Brexit – Stewart Jackson, Daily Telegraph
  • How a new Prime Minister could harness Downing Street – Nikki da Costa, Times Red Box
  • Why Johnson looms large over the Brexit endgame – George Parker, FT
  • Westminster is retreating back into fantasy – Rafael Behr, The Guardian
  • Tories must wake up to the existential calamity about to engulf them – Philip Johnston, Daily Telegraph

>Today: Daniel Hannan MEP’s column: May must stand down as Party leader before the European elections

>Yesterday: Henry Newman’s column: Most Conservatives don’t like it – but talks with Corbyn offer a way of breaking the Brexit stalemate

Labour leader sees off second referendum push on Labour’s NEC

“Labour’s European election manifesto will include a pledge of support for a second referendum on Brexit, but only if the party cannot secure a general election or force the government to change its deal with the EU. A meeting of Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee on Tuesday agreed that the manifesto should follow the party’s existing official policy of pursuing a public vote on Brexit only as a last resort. Several leading figures in the party, including Deputy Leader Tom Watson and Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry have voiced support for a referendum on any kind of Brexit deal.” – Politico


  • What’s really behind his scheming obsession with another vote? – Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph
  • Another vote would just add to the mess – Andrew Duff, The Times
  • Gamble could destroy Corbyn’s one shot at power – Richard Johnson, Daily Telegraph


>Yesterday: Left Watch: In the final, decisive, ultimate meeting about Labour’s Brexit policy, Corbyn has successfully fudged it again

Daniel Finkelstein: Corbyn’s warm words for a century-old antisemitic conspiracy theory

“Then, Hobson continues, “the direct influence exercised by great financial houses in ‘high politics’ is supported by the control which they exercise over the body of public opinion through the press”. In other words Mr Corbyn is praising as “correct and prescient” a directly antisemitic analysis. Did Mr Corbyn not read the book before he praised it? Did he read it but, as with the Mear One mural, not notice that it was antisemitic? Did he realise it but decide it didn’t matter because there were other more important things about it? One thing is clear. The problem of left-wing antisemitism isn’t really about Israel. It’s much more deeply embedded than that.” – The Times

Ministers 1) Brokenshire admits ‘mistakes were made’ in sacking Scruton

“A Cabinet Minister last night admitted mistakes in the sacking of housing tsar Sir Roger Scruton. Communities Secretary James Brokenshire said: “We could have done things differently – that is something I do acknowledge. “I’m very saddened by the whole situation as to his this occurred.” Sir Roger was booted out as a housing adviser on the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission after an incendiary report claimed he had been anti-Semitic and racist. Supporters last week claimed he had been wrongly dismissed when a full transcript of the interview with New Statesman emerged. Mr Brokenshire – who never contacted Sir Roger before the sacking earlier this month – told LBC he had a “huge amount of respect” for him.” – The Sun

>Yesterday: Local Government: Boys Smith takes over from Scruton, chairing the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission

Ministers 2) Hancock says people should not have to sell their homes to pay for social care

People should not be forced to sell their homes to pay for social care costs, Matt Hancock has said. The Health Secretary has previously indicated his support for a form of social care tax to help the Government cover the cost of the care funding crisis. But Mr Hancock told a House of Lords committee on Tuesday that a family home should not be included in calculations “under all circumstances”. He said: “The threat to people that they might lose their home from something that they can’t do anything about and can’t insure against is one of the injustices of the system.”… It came as Caroline Dinenage, the Care Minister, expressed her “frustration” that the Brexit process had stopped the Government from rolling out its long-awaited care plans.” – Daily Telegraph

  • But that means taxes will rise, he warns – The Sun

More leadership:

  • Javid to ‘rally the troops’ before the locals – Twitter
  • Raab outlines his ‘vision for the future’ – Shropshire Star
  • Gove delivers ban on ‘wild’ animals in circuses –
  • Hunt announces new UK projects in Nigeria – Twitter

>Yesterday: MPs Etc.: “The Conservative Party should stand up for all those who feel powerless in Britain today”- Gibb’s reformist speech

Ministers 3) Fury at Truss after she reveals private dinner with donor on Instagram

“Theresa May and six female Cabinet members had a night out with the wife of a former Vladimir Putin ally who had donated £135,000 at a Tory fundraiser. Lubov Chernukhin was entertained by the Prime Minister at the five-star Goring Hotel in Belgravia on Monday evening. It is understood the banker won the dinner as an auction prize at the Conservative Party’s Black and White ball earlier this year. The £135,000 bid takes Mrs Chernukhin’s donations to the Tories over the past seven years past the £1million mark… Liz Truss, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, revealed news of Monday night’s dinner by posting a photograph on Instagram of Mrs May, several of her female ministers and a group of mystery women at the Goring, which is near Buckingham Palace.” – Daily Mail

  • Meanwhile, she defends Abbott for drinking on TfL services – The Sun

CCHQ uses May meeting with Trump to delay reckoning with grassroots

“Tory party chiefs are to delay Theresa May’s showdown reckoning with furious members to allow her to host Donald Trump. An unprecedented Emergency General Meeting is due to be called in early June amid a grassroots activists’ revolt over Brexit. As The Sun revealed yesterday, the PM is to be hauled in front of the 800 constituency chairmen after a petition from 70 of them demanded her resignation for failing to take Britain out of the EU. But the humiliating confrontation won’t now be until at least the second week of June, The Sun has also learned. Voluntary party bosses from National Conservative Convention have agreed to pleas from the PM’s allies not to embarrass her ahead of the US President’s first state visit to commemorate D-Day ‘s 75th anniversary, from June 3-5.” – The Sun

  • Queen’s blushes spared over prospect of President addressing Parliament – The Times

>Today: ToryDiary: In Dudley, I watch local Tories trying to run on their record, not the Prime Minister’s

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Don’t be spun before Thursday’s results

Deben calls for ban on sale of petrol cars by 2030

“Britain should ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars earlier than the existing target of 2040, the government’s advisers are expected to say tomorrow. The Committee on Climate Change believes the cost of electric cars will be similar to that of petrol or diesel vehicles by 2024-25, according to a leak to the BBC. However, the speed of installing charging points, something overseen by central and local government, will have to vastly improve to cope with the demand, they are likely to say. The committee, chaired by the former environment secretary Lord Deben, will recommend that the government ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030, which the AA said was not possible.” – The Times

  • Britain will have to do more, Gove tells activists… – Daily Telegraph
  • …but he tells them to judge politicians on actions, not words – Daily Mail
  • Corbyn tells MPs to declare a climate emergency – The Guardian
  • Government is grinding to a halt – FT

>Today: Rory Stewart in Comment: Of course there’s a climate emergency. Here’s a wide-ranging Conservative programme to tackle it.


Khan blasted for slashing funds to tackle knife crime

“Sadiq Khan was under fire last night after his flagship plan to tackle soaring bloodshed in the capital was dramatically scaled back. The London Mayor had promised that the £6.8million Violence Reduction Unit would make the city safer by treating violence as a “public health problem” rather than just a law and order issue. But documents seen by The Sun reveal that it is now just going to focus on the most dangerous areas and will “not cover all of London”. Susan Hall, who sits on City Hall’s Police and Crime Committee, said: “Sadiq Khan’s violent crime epidemic is reaching into every corner of our city, with even outer London boroughs becoming increasingly unsafe.” – The Sun

  • Momentum candidate closes in on mayoralty – FT


  • Opposition cancel plans for second ‘Labour Live’ – The Sun

MSP ‘barred’ from giving evidence to Labour racism inquiry

“Labour MSP Anas Sarwar says he was “barred” from giving evidence to a formal probe into his claims of racist comments made by a  party colleague and branded the process “not fit for purpose.” Mr Sarwar claimed that Labour councillor Davie McLachlan told him he could not support his leadership bid because “Scotland wouldn’t vote for a brown Muslim P**i”. Mr McLachlan has insisted the allegations are “false” and an internal Labour disciplinary process found there was no case to answer this week. But the Glasgow MSP revealed in a statement today that he was given just four days notice of the National Constitutional Committee (NCC) hearing into his case on Monday. When he arrived to give evidence he was told he could not appear as he had not provided two weeks notice of his intention to provide testimony.” – The Scotsman

  • Party’s disciplinary process under scrutiny – The Guardian

MPs refer the Home Office to the equalities watchdog

“A group of more than 80 MPs has referred the Home Office to the equalities watchdog, requesting an investigation into whether its “deeply discriminatory” hostile environment immigration policies represent institutional racism. The MPs argue that the Home Office is acting unlawfully by routinely discriminating against British citizens on the basis of their race, and have called on the Equality and Human Rights Commission to investigate. In a letter to the head of the EHRC, the group says the introduction and operation of the hostile environment shows “beyond all doubt” that the government “does not take its stated commitment to race equality seriously”.” – The Guardian

Recall petition closes in Peterborough

“Fiona Onasanya, the MP facing a recall petition after lying about a speeding ticket, is expected to learn by Thursday morning whether her electorate has kicked her out of parliament. Ten “signing places” across her seat of Peterborough in Cambridgeshire will close at 5pm on Wednesday and a count of signatures on the petition will begin immediately. If it has attracted the support of 10% of eligible voters – 6,967 people – the former Labour whip will be forced out of office and a byelection will be called. A byelection would make history as the first under new laws that give voters the chance to recall their MP. If one does take place, then Nigel Farage’s Brexit party is expected to stand its first parliamentary candidate, but a spokesman said no decision had yet been made on whether Farage might stand himself.” – The Guardian

Farage could win ‘a majority’ of Tory voters

Less than a third of Conservative voters see the party as being pro-Brexit, according to new polling ahead of the local and European elections next month. Just 29 per cent of those who voted for Theresa May’s party in 2017 feel the Conservatives are pro-Brexit with 31 per cent seeing them as anti-Brexit, according to polling from YouGov conducted at the end of April. These figures will strike fear into the hearts of Tory strategists with the party looking likely to face two damaging elections in the space of four weeks in May. Local council elections will take place this week with the Tories braced to lose up to a fifth of their councillors, while Nigel Farage’s newly minted Brexit Party look set to win the European Parliament elections on 23 May.” – Daily Telegraph

  • UKIP release a video trying to discredit him – The Times

Coup attempt in Venezuela stalls

“The dramatic call to arms by two of Venezuela’s most important opposition figures for the military to oust the regime of Nicolás Maduro started at dawn outside the Carlota military air base in Caracas. By mid-afternoon, the putsch appeared to have failed. One of the leaders, Leopoldo López, took refuge in the Spanish embassy with his family. The other, Juan Guaidó, was blocked by security forces from marching on the presidential palace. Nor were there concrete signs of defections by the army’s top leadership. The unrest was the latest manifestation of a three-month bid for the presidency by Mr Guaidó, who is backed by the US and more than 50 other countries. John Bolton, US national security adviser, told reporters that the US’s “primary objective was a peaceful transfer of power”. But he added: “All options remain on the table.”” – FT

News in Brief:

  • Wanted: a leader for Britain’s shale gas revolution – Harry Phibbs, CapX
  • Customs union risks killing the dream of Free Ports – Simon Clarke MP, Brexit Central
  • Looks like a new Tory leader will need an immediate general election – Iain Martin, Reaction
  • Sarwar and the case that shames Labour – Stephen Daisley, The Spectator
  • Does Britain need a post-liberal party? – Peter Franklin, UnHerd