Ukraine 1) Johnson pledges money and weapons to ‘iron people’ of Ukraine

“Boris Johnson has praised the “iron people” of Ukraine’s railways, as it emerged the Prime Minister travelled via train from Poland to Kyiv to meet President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday… The Prime Minister was in Kyiv on Saturday for talks with Mr Zelensky, during which he pledged more military aid for the country, in a trip that has proved popular among Ukrainians… Illia Ponomarenko, a journalist at The Kyiv Independent, added that Mr Johnson’s surprise visit was a “strong and symbolic move”. “But it will become practical and historic if it results in Ukraine finally getting scores of heavy weaponry and air defense – as soon as possible,” he said.” – The Daily Telegraph

  • More than 1,200 bodies found in mass graves around Kyiv, claim Ukrainian officials – The Daily Mail
  • Russia preparing for an assault in the East – The Times 
  • Finland and Sweden could join NATO as early as the summer – The Daily Mail
  • Johnson and Zelensky are brothers in arms – Editorial, Daily Express
  • The situation remains very perilous – Editorial, The Daily Telegraph
  • Putin is isolated. Biden must step in – Trevor Kavanagh, The Sun
  • Putin has aged into a classic oil state autocrat – Ruchir Sharma, The Financial Times
  • Global Britain is taking shape – Brian Monteith, The Scotsman

Ukraine 2) Malthouse claims refugee visa process ‘motoring’, after slow start

“Britain’s Ukrainian refugee scheme is now “motoring”, the Home Office has insisted, after mounting criticism of delays in offering help to those fleeing the Russian invasion. Kit Malthouse, the policing minister, acknowledged public “frustration” with the length of time it was taking to process applications, but insisted that officials were now getting through 1,000 visas a day. However, Labour said the system was “shameful” and urged ministers to relax checks on those applying for asylum in Britain.” – The Times

  • MPs who have sponsored refugees are struggling to get them to the UK – The Daily Mail

Sunak refers himself to ethics tsar over his wife’s non-dom tax status

“Rishi Sunak was today bracing himself for the toughest week of his political life as the row over his wife’s tax affairs deepened. The Chancellor has been panned by backbenchers over her non-dom tax ­status and his secretly holding a US green card. Yesterday Mr Sunak referred himself to the independent ministerial watchdog in a bid to clear his name. He said: “I have always followed the rules and I hope such a review will provide further clarity.” He also ordered a probe to find out who leaked her tax affairs. A source said it would “be carried out with a view to potential criminal prosecutions”.” – The Sun

  • The Chancellor tells allies he does not plan on quitting politics… – The Daily Mail
  • …but Santa Monica ‘may beckon’ if Sunak loses his job – The Daily Telegraph
  • Professor John Curtice: Sunak a busted flush in leadership terms – The I
  • The Liberal Democrats call for a law to declare ministers’ tax status– The Daily Mail
  • Johnson ‘reassured Sunak of his support’ in private phone call – The Sun
  • Sunak’s personal ratings continue to fall, as he is branded ‘petulant and naïve’ by Tory MPs – The Daily Mail
  • The betting markets suggest his chances of becoming Prime Minister are shrinking – The Scotsman
  • The Chancellor’s woes are a gift for Labour – Editorial, The Daily Mail
  • Voters need to see that the government is on their side – Editorial, The Sun
  • To be wealthy should not be shameful – Editorial, The Daily Telegraph
  • Tarnished golden boy can still recover his sheen – Leo McKinstry, Daily Express
  • If the Chancellor can’t handle scrutiny at Number 11, he will never make it next door – Chloe Chaplain, The I
  • Recent weeks have shown Johnson to be far shrewder than Sunak – Stephen Glover, The Daily Mail

Nick Timothy: The Conservative Party is in peril

“If the Labour Party had written a script for the Tories to follow, they would not have dared to come up with anything as outlandish or destructive as recent events have been for the Government…Tired governments, made complacent by years in office, come to believe that their position of power will last forever. They lose sight of the bigger picture, drift into technocratic decision-making, and their fights with one another grow more important than those with opposing parties and vested interests. Unfortunately, this government now suffers all these ills.” – The Daily Telegraph

France faces run-off vote between Macron and Le Pen…

“France faces a brutal two-week campaign over the country’s future, as the centrist incumbent, Emmanuel Macron, faces the far-right Marine Le Pen for the presidency, positioning himself as a pro-European “progressive” against what he calls her anti-Muslim, nationalist programme and “complacency” about Vladimir Putin. Macron topped Sunday’s first round of the French presidential election with 27.6% of the vote, ahead of Le Pen’s 23.4%, according to initial projected results by Ipsos for France Télévisions. He scored higher than his result in the first round five years ago, and clearly gained support in the final hours of the campaign after his harsh warnings to voters to hold back the far right and protect France’s place on the international diplomatic stage amid the war in Ukraine.” – The Guardian

Ministers 1) Gove claims victory over the cladding crisis

“The UK housing secretary is set to claim an important victory in his battle to resolve England’s building safety crisis this week, having pressed developers into setting aside more than £2bn to fund critical repairs. Michael Gove’s hardball approach towards builders has paid off, with all publicly listed developers committed to a government pledge to fund necessary repairs of risky blocks they have built. But questions linger over the safety of mid- and high-rise blocks. Residents are in effect trapped in properties they cannot sell, many of them fearful for their safety.” – The Financial Times

Ministers 2) Patel hits out at ‘selfish’ and disruptive environmental protestors

“Priti Patel last night condemned ‘selfish’ eco-zealots inflicting fuel shortages on motorists. On the tenth day of the hugely disruptive protests, the Home Secretary branded the activists ‘fanatical, and frankly dangerous’. They have been holding up fuel supplies by targeting three crucial depots in Warwickshire, Hertfordshire and Essex. And yesterday protesters also blocked two central London bridges in a series of ‘exceptionally dangerous’ stunts. The mayhem comes ahead of a record 21.5million motorists preparing to take to the roads this coming Easter weekend.” – The Daily Mail

  • Extinction Rebellion causing ongoing disruption across London – Daily Express

Johnson’s LGBT advisor ‘dismayed’ at failure to ban trans conversion practices

“The prime minister’s LGBT adviser has said he is “dismayed” by the decision not to include transgender people in a ban on conversion practices, while describing the cancellation of the government’s equality conference as an “act of self-harm by the LGBT lobby”. Nick Herbert also called for a royal commission to detoxify and take the politics out of the trans debate. It comes after the government has faced fierce criticism after a series of U-turns last week on promised legislation to outlaw conversion practices, and its backtracking on commitments to include transgender people in the ban. At least 100 LGBTQ+ and HIV organisations pulled out of the UK’s first international conference on LGBTQ+ rights, Safe To Be Me, in protest, leading to its cancellation.” – The Guardian

  • Stonewall accused of ‘holding Number 1O to ransom’ by boycotting the Safe to Be Me summit – The Daily Mail

Backlogs mean record numbers of rape trials are being delayed

“Soaring numbers of rape trials are being delayed as courts struggle to tackle a backlog caused by the pandemic, shock figures reveal. Victims often face the added trauma of being told their case has been postponed with just a few hours’ notice. Alarming new stats show the number of Crown Court rape trials halted at a day’s notice has risen by nearly four times in the last three years. There was also a three-fold increase in cases that have been delayed more than once – with 11 cases delayed at least three times in 2019 alone. Ministers blame the hold-ups on many defendants or witnesses being infected with Covid and being forced to self-isolate.” – The Sun

The NHS Confederation accuses the government of ‘abandoning interest’ in Covid

“Health leaders have called on the UK government to “revamp” its plan for living with Covid in England, accusing Number 10 of having “abandoned any interest” in managing the disease. The strongly worded intervention from the NHS Confederation, which represents organisations across the healthcare sector, comes as clinicians struggle to clear waiting lists that stand at more than 6mn, against a backdrop of record numbers of coronavirus infections. The body suggested targets for reducing waiting times, set before the latest Omicron variant surge, may no longer be achievable this year.” – The Financial Times

  • Half of NHS maternity services do not reach basic safety standards – The Times

Scottish government minister compares women’s rights activists to racists and anti-Semites…

“Lorna Slater, who was handed a ministerial post last year under the SNP’s coalition pact with the Greens, was accused of making “grossly offensive” remarks as she appeared to demand that media organisations censor critics of the Scottish Government plans. In remarks about the trans rights debate published on Sunday, she said the BBC had “only recently stopped putting on climate deniers because they required balance”. She added: “We wouldn’t put balance on the question of racism or anti-Semitism, but we allow this fictional notion of balance when it comes to anti-trans [views]. The whole thing is disgusting.”” – The Daily Telegraph

  • …whilst a Labour council candidate brands Zelensky a ‘fascist’ – The Daily Mail

News in Brief:

  • Like him or loathe him, Macron is Europe’s driving force – Freddy Gray, The Spectator 
  • Gary Neville won’t save Labour – Will Lloyd, UnHerd 
  • Is banning conversion therapy legal? – Roger Kiska, The Critic 
  • Jack Straw: The Iraq War split the West and aided Putin – Freddie Hayward, The New Statesman 
  • Boris Johnson the unlikely feminist is right to back women in Trans row – Jenny Hjul, Reaction