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Patel denounces BBC for “xenophobia” for attacking Rwanda refugee deal

“Priti Patel has accused the BBC of exhibiting an “undercurrent” of xenophobia when reporting the Government’s new immigration deal with Rwanda. Reigniting a war with the broadcaster, the Home Secretary said she was “taken aback” by the tone of BBC journalists’ references to the African country when she announced the agreement 10 days ago. In an interview with The Telegraph, Ms Patel said she had identified “undercurrents” from the corporation that were also visible in criticism from MPs in the Commons last week.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • Interview with Priti Patel – Sunday Telegraph
  • Home Secretary accused of misleading parliament over refugee pushbacks – The Observer
  • The Archbishop was far softer on Putin than he’s been on the Rwanda plan – Dan Hodges, Mail on Sunday
  •  The biggest hurdle is the civil service – Karren Brady, The Sun on Sunday
  • Labour’s Outrage Industry delivers hysterical words as Tories are delivering things that matter – Oliver Dowden, The Sun on Sunday
  • Here’s a secret: the PM is relaxed about migration – Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times

Fallon criticises failure to provide arms for Ukraine earlier

“In the years after the Russian army rolled into Ukraine in 2014, the British minister in charge of fielding requests from Kyiv for military assistance was the defence secretary, Michael Fallon. He was the man who reluctantly kept having to say “no”. Fallon now looks back on that time with bitter regret. “I and the ministry wanted to do more,” he recalls. “We were stymied and we were blocked in cabinet from sending the Ukrainians the arms they needed.” In public David Cameron, the prime minister, insisted that the Ukraine crisis could be solved only by diplomacy — and therefore it was unnecessary to provide arms to the country.” – Sunday Times

  • UK to send more military equipment, Johnson tells Zelensky – BBC
  • Is your town as generous as Chichester to Ukrainian refugees? – Sunday Times
  • Asleep on the job for years – Leader, Sunday Times

Rees-Mogg 1) Civil servants who refuse to return to the office could lose their jobs

“Civil servants who refuse to return to Whitehall risk losing their plum London jobs, the Minister in charge of reversing the ‘work from home’ culture declares today. Jacob Rees-Mogg says ‘if people are not back in their office, it will be fair to assume the job does not need to be in London’ – an implied threat to swap their jobs for lower-paid positions elsewhere in the country or axe them altogether. Public sector workers in the capital can claim extra pay in the form of a ‘London weighting allowance’.” – Mail on Sunday

  • The only place to fine-tune Whitehall’s Rolls-Royce is in the office – Jacob Rees-Mogg, Mail on Sunday
  • Empty desk note to civil servants insulting, says union – BBC

Rees-Mogg 2) Demand for Cabinet to produce lists of Quangos to be culled

“Quangos such as the DVLA could be shut down or merged under a cost-cutting overhaul of public bodies ordered by Jacob Rees-Mogg…He has asked each secretary of state to provide a list of government bodies that could be merged or closed, including cases in which their functions “could be provided by organisations other than the state”. His intervention came ahead of a public bodies “review programme”, which will be launched this week to identify cost savings at individual quangos. The Treasury had previously told public bodies to slash their costs by five per cent, but The Telegraph understands ministers involved in the review now want to increase that to between 10 and 20 per cent…So-called “arms length bodies” such as the DVLA now spend more than £220 billion per year and employ in excess of 300,000 people, according to government figures.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • The return of quango-slaying is a welcome development – Leader, Sunday Telegraph

Hannan: Johnson was telling the truth about parties

“The rules against meeting people outside our bubbles were intended to slow the spread of a virus, not to dictate the behaviour of people who were already under the same roof. Small wonder the PM told the Commons that, to the best of his knowledge, there had been no parties. A party is a festive congregation of invited guests, not a break in the office day. The only Downing Street event we know of that looks remotely like a party in the customary sense of the word took place while Johnson was 60 miles away.” – Daniel Hannan, Sunday Telegraph

  • PM has not received any further fines – BBC
  • Johnson tells Tories Downing Street ‘Abba party’ was work event – Sunday Telegraph
  • Johnson should go sooner rather than later, “say top Tory MPs” – The Observer
  • Why did Peston put the PM ‘behind bars’? – Mail on Sunday
  • It would be farcical if a piece of cake destroys Johnson’s ambitious vision for Britain – Leader, The Sun on Sunday

>Our survey. Over a third of Tory members think that Johnson should resign. And over half don’t.

Council elections in Wandsworth “on a knife edge”

“Amid anger over Partygate and as the cost of living crisis bites, this leading Tory council – one of a handful in London still under Conservative control – is on a knife edge. And on 5 May it could turn red for the first time since 1978 – potentially spelling disaster for the Tories and making it a key target for Labour. Robert Hayward, the Tory peer and pollster, said that Wandsworth was home to many of the kinds of traditional Tory voters that were now turning against Boris Johnson – namely, pro-remain women aged between 40 and 55. He also said the Conservatives were trying to make the campaign in the capital about their historic commitment to keep council tax down – and to blame Khan for increases. He says the race remains a close and unpredictable one.” – The Observer

  • Johnson’s fate is on the line at the local elections – Sunday Times
  • Tory scandals and the cost of living have relegated Brexit at the local elections – Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher, Sunday Times
  • Wakefield by-election defeat in June “would be the trigger for confidence vote” – Mail on Sunday
  • Is Starmer ever going to win back the love Labour’s lost? – Sunday Times
  • Feminists turning to the Tories, says Duffield – Sunday Telegraph
  • Labour leader calls for emergency budget – Sunday Telegraph
  • The ace up Starmer’s sleeve is something the Tories can’t match: boring predictability – Robert Colvile, Sunday Times

Javid reviews gender treatment services for children

“Health Secretary Sajid Javid is to review what immediate changes can be made to gender treatment services for children in England. This could include changing the law to let the independent Cass review have access to an NHS database of young people who already received treatment. It comes ahead of the review’s report, due later this year. This week Mr Javid told MPs services in this area were too affirmative and narrow, and “bordering on ideological”. He is now thought to be planning an overhaul of the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS), which is run by the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, with clinics in London and Leeds.” – BBC

56 MPs face complaints of sexual misconduct

“Three cabinet ministers and two shadow cabinet ministers are facing allegations of sexual misconduct after being reported to the parliamentary watchdog set up in the wake of the #MeToo scandal. They are among 56 MPs who have been referred to the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS) over about 70 separate complaints. The allegations involving the 56 include making sexually inappropriate comments and more serious wrongdoing. At least one complaint is believed to involve criminality and concerns an allegation than an MP bribed a member of staff in return for sexual favours.” – Sunday Times

Shapps scraps EU rule that forces ride-on mower owners to be covered by car insurance

“An ‘insane’ EU law forcing ride-on mowers to be covered by owners’ car insurance will be blocked by Parliament tomorrow. Motorists would have had around £50 added to their annual insurance premiums as a result of the law, which would have also affected golf buggies and mobility scooters. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps hailed Parliament’s move as a Brexit dividend. British drivers will be protected from the rules as legislation blocking the expansion of the number of vehicles that have to be insured is due to pass its final hurdle in Parliament tomorrow.” – Mail on Sunday

Builder “caves in” to Gove’s demand for cladding funding

“The most high-profile property developer holding out against Michael Gove’s demands for cash to fix the cladding crisis has caved in — but accused the housing secretary of acting like “Al Capone” and “the mafia”. Galliard Homes, run by Stephen Conway, had refused to sign a pledge promising to repair fire-safety problems with flats built over the past 30 years on the basis that it could amount to an open-ended legal liability. Gove tore up government policy in January when he scrapped a previous loan scheme for leaseholders and said the property industry should bear the full cost of fixing cladding and other defects in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy. He threatened to shut out developers that refused to contribute to a new £4 billion fund from the planning system and the taxpayer-backed Help to Buy scheme, leading to complaints from some that he was trampling over their legal rights.” – Sunday Times

France heads to the polls

“French voters are heading to the polls to decide whether to give centrist Emmanuel Macron five more years as president or replace him with far-right candidate Marine Le Pen. After a divisive election campaign, Ms Le Pen faces an uphill battle with her 44-year-old opponent polling ahead…Mr Macron’s detractors call him arrogant and a president of the rich, while the far-right leader has been accused of having ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.” – BBC

  • He promised a revolution but how much did Macron change France? – Sunday Times
  • Why the EU’s future hinges on the French election result – Sunday Telegraph

Howe: Overriding the Northern Ireland Protocol would be entirely legitimate

“It is heartening to hear reports that the government is preparing a Bill which would give ministers wide powers to disapply provisions of the Protocol under UK law. Such a Bill is a long overdue and very necessary step to tackle the grave problems created by the Protocol, and replace it with arrangements which control the movement of goods across the open Irish land border, while leaving Northern Ireland free to follow UK laws about goods, and the Republic free to follow EU laws…Publishing the Bill would change the dynamics of negotiating with the EU. At present, the EU can simply reject any changes to the Protocol knowing that it is embedded into UK law and ministers do not have the power to change it.” – Martin Howe, Sunday Telegraph

News in brief

  • The Bank of England is not independent – John Redwood
  • Could Russia lose the war in Donbas? – Phillips O’Brien, The Spectator
  • Why India matters to the UK and the fate of the West – Shanker Singham, CapX
  • Starmer hits out at Met over Partygate silence – Independent
  • Florida fights back against Biden’s trans agenda – Leor Sapir, Unherd