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Ukraine 1) Biden says Putin must go. But demand “is not official US policy”

“Joe Biden appeared to call for regime change in Russia, as he said that Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power” in a highly charged speech in Warsaw. “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power,” the US president said, as he urged democracies around the world to unite against the Russian president in a speech in Poland’s capital littered with historical references to war in Europe. The Kremlin issued a furious response, as critics accused Mr Biden of playing into Putin’s hands. The White House immediately sought to clarify Mr Biden’s comments, insisting his statement should not be taken as official policy.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • Farce as White House issues clarification – Sunday Times
  • Explosions hit western city of Lviv – BBC
  • Sadiq Khan won’t take in refugees – Sunday Express
  • Why are so many Russian troops being killed? – Sunday Times

Ukraine 2) Truss insists that sanctions can only lifted after Russia withdraws completely

“In an interview with The Telegraph, the Foreign Secretary set out a blueprint for the so-called “off ramp” that the Russian president could be offered to halt his assault on Ukraine. Ms Truss – who revealed that she has established a “negotiations unit” in the Foreign Office to aid future peace talks – said sanctions on Russian banks, firms and oligarchs could be lifted in the event of “a full ceasefire and withdrawal”. Putin would also have to agree to refrain from future military aggression, with the threat of “snapback sanctions” which could instantly be slapped back onto Russia.” – Sunday Telegraph

Ukraine 3) Lawson: We should not be saving Putin’s face

“The most sensible approach for the West, whether through financial sanctions or lethal aid, is to do everything short of becoming active combatants to bring about a Ukrainian victory. That is not just a morally clear policy. It also embodies the hard-headed “realism” that those advocating “face-saving” deals for Russia claim as their justification. For, if the Ukrainian people are themselves prepared to endure this terrible war for months longer, it will also continue the savage depletion of Putin’s military — to the great benefit of other nations threatened by Russia’s imperial aspirations. It is horrible, but necessary.” – Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times

  • The death of the peace dividend will turn the West upside down – Janet Daley, Sunday Telegraph

Braverman calls for Article16 to be triggered “without delay”

“The Attorney General has been among senior Tories privately pushing for the Government to trigger Article 16 without delay, The Telegraph can disclose, as a Conservative election expert said Sinn Fein was on course to win control of the Northern Ireland executive within weeks. Suella Braverman and Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Brexit opportunities minister, are understood to have been privately pressing for Liz Truss, the Foreign Secretary, to trigger the mechanism that would allow ministers to override parts of the post-Brexit agreement with the EU. Mrs Braverman is said to have provided formal legal advice stating that Article 16 can and should be triggered by the UK.” – Sunday Telegraph

Sunak “plans further Council Tax rebate”

“The chancellor is considering proposals for a new council tax rebate after his spring statement failed to allay panic in No 10 over the spiralling cost-of-living crisis. Rishi Sunak is already weighing up another multibillion-pound package to help shield households from a further surge in fuel bills this autumn. The energy price cap will jump from about £1,300 to nearly £2,000 on Friday and could rise again to £3,000 in October. It is only days since Sunak announced a package of tax and duty cuts that was widely dismissed as too limited and underestimating the scale of the problem facing households. No 10 is becoming increasingly alarmed about the effects of inflation, particularly with the May local elections looming.” – Sunday Times

  • I know people are deeply ­anxious about making ends meet – Rishi Sunak, The Sun on Sunday
  • How the Chancellor lost his shine – Tim Shipman, Sunday Times
  • He has missed a chance to alleviate Britain’s energy crisis – Leader, Sunday Telegraph
  • Sunak is a fiscal magician. Shame it’s more Tommy Cooper than Houdini. – Dan Hodges, Mail on Sunday
  • This punitive money-grab is so very unTory – Jeff Prestridge, Mail on Sunday
  • Don’t whinge now. You should have stopped the Chancellor two years ago – Peter Hitchens, Mail on Sunday
  • Curtis concludes that Sunak’s leadership chances have taken a hit – Sunday Express

Government “to take 20 per cent stake in new nuclear power plant”

“The government plans to take a 20% stake in a £20bn large-scale nuclear plant at Sizewell, the BBC has learned. French developer EDF will also take a 20% stake in the Suffolk power station. Ministers hope the confirmation of two cornerstone investors will encourage infrastructure investors and pension funds to take up the remaining 60%. Sizewell C is a key part of the new UK energy strategy, anticipated this week. However, no decision is expected yet on the future of Wylfa, in north Wales.” – BBC

Zahawi will ensure schools deliver a minimum of 32.5 hours a week

“Schools in England will have to offer a minimum school week of 32.5 hours as part of a package of reforms aimed at raising standards, which Labour and unions have condemned as insufficient to support schools that have been left “battered and bruised” by the pandemic. Most schools already deliver a 32.5 hour school week, which is equivalent to 8.45am to 3.15pm from Monday to Friday. However, the government believes there are discrepancies across the country, since 20 minutes less teaching time a day equates to a loss of two weeks of schooling a year.” – The Observer

  • Schools in Wales still face chaos from Covid, teachers warn – BBC
  • All children, especially ones with special needs, deserve good education – Will Quince, Sunday Express
  • Closing the schools during the pandemic was a “mistake” – Interview with Nadhim Zahawi, Mail on Sunday

Labour wooing “high value” donors to ease cash crisis

“Sir Keir Starmer is attempting to secure new funds from the daughter of Tony Blair’s biggest donor as he seeks to turn around Labour’s finances before the next election. The Labour leader is in “tentative discussions” with Fran Perrin about a substantial donation that he hopes will build the party’s “war chest” and help it level the playing field with the Conservatives. Perrin, 43, is the daughter of Lord Sainsbury of Turville, a member of the supermarket chain dynasty who donated £10.6 million to Labour over a decade before cutting ties under Jeremy Corbyn.” – Sunday Times

  • Margaret Beckett will retire at next election after 40 years as MP for Derby South – The Observer

Hancock: We don’t need another lockdown

“While we’ve all been enjoying the start of spring without restrictions for the first time in three years, these last few weeks Covid-19 infections have started rising across the UK. People see this and ask me: are we going to need another lockdown? My answer is an emphatic ‘no’. As we look back on two years since the first lockdown, I’m confident we have done all we can to protect people.” – Matt Hancock, Mail on Sunday

  • New Omicron wave ‘has already peaked’ – Mail on Sunday
  • Goodbye, Coronavirus Act. We won’t miss you – Steve Baker, Sunday Express

Other political news

  • Charlie Elphicke: “the predator MP and his protection racket” – Sunday Times

Hannan: The Bank of England is to blame for inflation

“British ministers can do very little about higher food and fuel prices. Nor can they do anything about the Bank of England’s frenetic money printing. Monetary policy was taken out of the hands of politicians in 1997; and, in any case, the damage has already been done. The Bank of England has doubled the scope of quantitative easing since March 2020, buying £875 billion of government bonds while blandly assuring us that there would be no inflationary consequences. It is too late to complain about any of that now – though this column complained vocally at the time. Still, if politicians can do little about rising commodity prices or the quantity of money in circulation, they can at least mitigate the damage.” – Daniel Hannan, Sunday Telegraph

News in brief

  • Why Russian tactics won’t win the war – Justin Brink, The Spectator
  • Imposing the ideals of the woke left on businesses is bad for Britain, and the world – Shanker Singham, CapX
  • I see no clause in the Protocol which says the UK Parliament cannot change taxes in Northern Ireland if it wishes – John Redwood
  • A bad week at BBC News – The Article
  • Sunak vs Truss: the leadership contest goes on despite the war – John Rentoul, Independent