Published:

Johnson wants the first Rwanda migrant flight ‘within two months’…

“Britain plans to start removing asylum seekers to Rwanda in about six weeks’ time in an unprecedented attempt to tackle the global migration crisis. The Times understands that Boris Johnson wants the first flight taking Channel migrants to the central African state to leave late next month. The government wants tens of thousands of people moved within the next few years. Each migrant sent to Rwanda is expected to cost British taxpayers between £20,000 and £30,000. This will cover accommodation before departure, a seat on a chartered plane and their first three months of accommodation in Rwanda.” – The Times

  • The migrant deal is a boost for Rwanda’s Kagame – The Financial Times
  • Patel warns 65,000 migrants are coming to our shores this year – The Times
  • Air and sea patrols on the way as the military takes charge of slashing channel crossings – The Daily Mail
  • Johnson’s plan could be challenged in the courts – The Guardian
  • The Prime Minister vows to take on ‘politically motivated lawyers’ opposing his approach – The Daily Telegraph
  • Why the scheme may not work, following versions in Australia, Israel, and Denmark deemed failures – The I
  • Sturgeon brands plan “despicable” and “shameful” – The Scotsman 

Editorial:

  • The Prime Minister is right to balance our compassion with our capacity to help – Editorial, Daily Express
  • Migrant crackdown is humane, not heartless – Editorial, The Daily Mail
  • The Government is right to tackle illegal immigration, but the Rwanda approach is fraught with hurdles – Editorial, The Times
  • The Home Office is an incompetent mess – Editorial, The Sun
  • The Government’s radical strategy is better than Labour’s dodging of the issue – Editorial, The Daily Telegraph

Comment:

  • Johnson’s plan to send migrants to Rwanda is a stroke of genius – Mercy Muroki, The Sun
  • The chorus of condemnation over this measure is misplaced and predictable – Dr Rakib Ehsan, The Daily Mail
  • Rejecting Rwanda deal only aids evil people smugglers – Ross Clark, Daily Express
  • Hotel Rwanda is the insane result of Johnson’s random country generator – Madeline Grant, The Daily Telegraph

>Today:

>Yesterday:

…as he vows to ‘set the record straight’ over Partygate to Parliament

“Boris Johnson has pledged to “set the record straight” over the Partygate scandal when he appears before MPs next week. The PM has been accused of misleading Parliament after he was fined for attending his own 56th birthday bash in No 10. He had previously told the Commons that he was unaware of any rule-breaking gatherings held in Downing St during lockdown. Met police detectives issued Boris, his wife Carrie, and Chancellor Rishi Sunak with fixed penalty notices on Tuesday. Today the PM said he will give an update to MPs on the row when Parliament returns from the Easter recess.” – The Sun

  • Wolfson quits as a justice minister – The Daily Telegraph
  • More Tories call for Johnson to go – Ellwood, Karen Bradley, and Hudson – The Times
  • Hart compares the Prime Minister’s comments on the scandal to Blair’s infamous comment on Weapons of Mass Destruction – The Daily Mail
  • The Prime Minister tells Sunak his job is safe – The I
  • The majority believe there are more important topics currently than parties, according to poll– The Daily Mail
  • Parties are passé now there’s a pact to ponder – Quentin Letts, The Times

>Today:

Forsyth: Johnson’s survival is now out of his hands

“The danger for Johnson’s government is that the cost-of-living crisis could lead to expenses-style anger. Voters will rage about the fact that ministers seem insulated from the squeeze they are going through. It could become the most potent expression yet of the idea that there is one rule for them and one rule for the bulk of the population. Johnson can throw red meat to his base on issues such as small boats but the precondition for any Tory recovery is an economic turnaround. The government needs inflation to start coming down and people to stop feeling their pay packets get them less and less each month.” – The Times

  • The looming cost of living crisis spells political doom for the Prime Minister – Jeremy Warner, The Daily Telegraph

Russia says flagship Moskva vessel has sunk in the Black Sea…

“Russia’s defence ministry has said the Moskva naval missile cruiser, its flagship vessel in the Black Sea, has sunk, dealing a significant blow to Moscow’s offensive in southern Ukraine. Ukrainian officials said on Thursday that the Russian vessel had been hit by one of their anti-ship missiles, causing an explosion on board. The Pentagon assessed that the ship had “experienced significant damage” and was battling a fire, a senior US defence official said. “We can’t say definitively what caused this explosion and the subsequent fire,” the person added. “It could have been the result of a missile strike and it could have been something else. We just don’t know.”” – The Financial Times

  • …as Zelensky slams Germany and Hungary for making “money out of blood” – The Daily Mail
  • British troops in Estonia are ready for a fight, says commanding officer – The Times
  • Heappey warns Britain could go it alone if Russia uses chemical weapons – The Daily Mail
  • Scholz ‘damaging Germany’ over Ukraine weapons row – The Times
  • Biden says he is ready to go to Ukraine – The Daily Mail
  • Thousands of Ukrainians have still yet to reach Britain – The Sun
  • Scholz must choose between an energy embargo on Russia, or a moral embargo on Germany – The Daily Telegraph

Khan resigns his seat, sparking a by-election in Wakefield

“Disgraced MP Imran Ahmad Khan will resign from the House of Commons after being convicted of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy. The Wakefield MP, who was this week expelled from the Conservative Party following his guilty verdict, said he would be ‘withdrawing from political life’. His decision will lead to a hotly-contested by-election in his ‘Red Wall’ constituency, in West Yorkshire, which switched to the Tories at the 2019 general election after being held by Labour since the 1930s. Khan today confirmed he would appeal his guilty verdict but said the likely length of the legal process would make it ‘intolerable’ for his constituents to ‘go years without an MP’.” – The Daily Mail

>Yesterday:

Coronavirus infections start to fall in England

“Coronavirus infections have begun to fall in England, according to official data published on Thursday, suggesting the latest wave unleashed by the highly infectious Omicron BA.2 offshoot may be in retreat. The Office for National Statistics estimated that one in every 14 people in England had Covid-19 in the week to April 9, down from one in 13 in the seven days to April 2. Meanwhile, NHS England data covering February showed a record 6.2mn people were waiting for non-urgent hospital care, up 80,000 from January, as the health service was busy with patients admitted with Covid.” – The Financial Times

Shared Prosperity Fund will not match EU grants until 2025

“A government fund designed to replace EU grants lost due to Brexit has been criticised as “nothing more than an outrage” that will leave English regions tens of millions of pounds worse off than when Britain was in the EU. The Conservative’s 2019 manifesto promised “at a minimum” to match the average EU subsidy of about £1.5bn a year to help the most deprived parts of the UK. But details of the government’s Shared Prosperity Fund show that it will hand out only £2.6bn over the next three years and will not match the previous EU funding level of £1.5bn a year until 2025.” – The Guardian

Mason to be new BBC Political Editor

“After months of speculation about who would replace Laura Kuenssberg, Chris Mason’s promotion from a host on Radio 4 to BBC political editor seems to have taken many people by surprise – and the public outpouring of praise appears to have touched the born-and-raised Northerner.  Indeed, who could expect anything more from Mason, the straight-talking grammar school-educated ‘proud Yorkshireman’ from a working class background whose Cambridge friends humorously called him ‘basically a 50-year-old man since he was a student’? ‘Cripes, thank you for the lovely messages. The news popped out while I was in a pub in Halifax, with no signal,’ Mason told his Twitter followers just earlier today…” – The Daily Mail

Musk: Civilisation will be safe if I own Twitter

“Billionaires used to buy a newspaper or television station to boost their influence on the world stage. Now they have moved on to something more ambitious: a social media takeover. Elon Musk, the richest person in the world, appears to have set his sights on transforming the medium with an attempt to buy Twitter for $43 billion — a substantial part of his estimated $265 billion fortune. Last night Musk said he wanted to make sure that the Silicon Valley tech giant allowed for freedom of expression as he believed it was “important to the future of civilisation”.” – The Times

  • The world’s richest man slams Zuckerberg for his control over Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram – The Daily Mail

News in Brief:

  • What are the Tories for? – Sam Ashworth-Hayes, The Spectator 
  • Was Jesus a revolutionary? – Terry Eagleton, UnHerd 
  • Ukraine’s passion – Laudable Practice, The Critic 
  • The Rwanda plan is an expensive, ineffectual way to deal with public concerns about the asylum system – Emily Fielder, Cap X
  • Boris Johnson may survive – but the Tories’ credibility will not – David Gauke, The New Statesman