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UK “to send armoured vehicles to Ukraine”

“British military chiefs are drawing up plans to send armoured vehicles to Ukraine, The Times has learnt. The UK is adding to its offer of lethal weapons in the belief that the next three weeks will be critical in determining the outcome of the war. Options under consideration in the Ministry of Defence include sending a protected patrol vehicle, such as the Mastiff, or a vehicle like the Jackal, which can be used as a reconnaissance or long-range patrol vehicle. These could enable Ukrainian forces to push further forward towards Russian lines.” – The Times

  • I haven’t seen UK government feuding over refugees, says Harrington – BBC
  • Britain “will ban Russian coal by the end of the year” – The Sun
  • EU sanctions on Putin are meaningless while bloc simultaneously bankrolls his genocide – Leader, The Sun
  • Ukraine can ‘break’ Russians if West supplies enough weapons – The Times
  • George Galloway’s Twitter account marked as ‘Russia state-affiliated media’ – Daily Telegraph
  • Killers should not rest easy in their beds – Suella Braverman, The Times
  • The West should provide more lethal aid – Leader, The Times
  • Why are we making it so difficult for refugees to find safety in this country? – Stephen Glover, Daily Mail
  • Even his enemies must admit that the Prime Minister is playing a blinder on Ukraine – Daniel Johnson, Daily Mail
  • Wealth of Abramovich’s business partners revealed – The Guardian

>Today:

Truss: The West must show Putin its collective strength

“We need to rally our friends around the world to isolate the Putin regime further. As the evidence piles up of war crimes in Ukraine, Russia’s membership of the UN Human Rights Council is unconscionable. Of course, the world won’t simply follow the West, so we must show them that free democracies offer a better alternative as honest and reliable partners – from trade and investment to technology and defence…Putin is not just imperilling Ukraine but the security of Europe and the wider world. We need to be decisive, determined and dogged to end his brutal war.” – Liz Truss, Daily Telegraph

Boost for nuclear power in new energy strategy

“Up to eight more nuclear reactors could be built on existing sites as part of the UK’s new energy strategy. The plan, which aims to boost UK energy independence and tackle rising prices, also includes plans to increase wind, hydrogen and solar production. But experts have called for a bigger focus on energy efficiency and improving home insulation. Consumers are facing soaring energy bills after the Russian invasion of Ukraine pushed gas prices even higher. Under the government’s new plans, up to 95% of the UK’s electricity could come from low-carbon sources by 2030.” – BBC

Chancellor’s wife has “non-dom” tax status

“Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s wife, Akshata Murty, has revealed she has non-domiciled status for UK tax purposes. The status means Ms Murty legally does not have to pay UK tax on income she earns outside Britain. But Ms Murty’s spokeswoman told the BBC she pays all the tax that is legally required in the UK.” – BBC

Johnson declares that biological males should not be allowed to compete in female-only sports events

“Boris Johnson was praised by sports stars today as he dived headfirst into the row over transgender athletes, saying biological males should not be allowed to compete in female-only sports events. Former Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies was among those who backed the Prime Minister after he made his most prominent intervention yet in the divisive squabble. He made a wide-ranging intervention when asked about a row over trans conversion therapy with has caused a deep rift in Conservative ranks. The PM backs making the ‘abhorrent’ practice of trying to force gay people to become heterosexual illegal. But he has refused to extend the proposed ban on the practice to trans people – despite opposition from backbench MPs and the Scottish Tories.” – Daily Mail

  • Prime Minister’s blast of common sense – Leader, Daily Mail
  • By cancelling its LGBT conference, the government shows its lack of concern for our rights – Nancy Kelley, The Guardian

>Yesterday: Ben Roback on International: Gender, sexuality, trans – and where Florida and 10 Downing Street meet

Hospital admissions are back near January high

“NHS leaders in several parts of England have temporarily scaled back services except for patients whose lives are in danger, as the number of people in hospital with coronavirus nears that of the first Omicron peak. The South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS), which operates across six counties surrounding London, announced early on Wednesday that it had declared a critical incident “due to extreme pressures across our services”. The latest evidence of the strain on health services threatens to overshadow ministers’ attempts to trumpet the government’s new health and social care levy, which is intended to pump billions of pounds into the NHS in the next three years.” – Financial Times

  • It’s time to realise the NHS is not a ‘religion’ – our hospitals are not the envy of the world and they need treatment – Trevor Kavanagh, The Sun
  • Third of patients find they have cancer only at A&E – The Times
  • National Insurance tax rise won’t clear NHS backlog, warn health chiefs – Daily Telegraph
  • Too often, extra funding gets swallowed up by the health bureaucracy. There is little evidence to suggest this won’t happen again – Leader, Daily Telegraph

Davis backs complaints over FOI obstruction

“More than 100 journalists, politicians and campaigners have signed an open letter warning that the UK’s freedom of information (FoI) laws are being undermined by a lack of resources and government departments obstructing lawful requests. The signatories include the editor-in-chief of the Guardian, Katharine Viner, the editor of the Observer, Paul Webster, as well as the shadow solicitor general, Andy Slaughter, the former Brexit secretary David Davis, and the former Green party leader Caroline Lucas.” – The Guardian

Developer “linked to Tories broke rules with high fees”

“A property developer with close links to the Conservative party put administration fees of tens of thousands of pounds into the leases of affordable housing for older people. Platinum Skies, which is chaired by Lord Fink, the former Tory treasurer, broke Ministry of Housing rules over a three-year period by inserting clauses into shared ownership contracts that made it harder and more expensive for older residents to purchase more of their retirement flats. The company, which has received more than £15 million of taxpayer grants since 2017, has also been charging ground rents so high that residents risk difficulties selling their homes in future.” – The Times

  • Gove has compelled developers to fix the cladding scandal – Leader, The Times

Welsh Conservatives launch campaign for the local elections

“The Welsh Conservatives will promise to build “stronger, safer communities”, when they launch their local election campaign on Thursday. At an event in Llandudno, party Senedd leader Andrew RT Davies will announce the Tories are fielding their highest number of candidates – 669 – on 5 May. They were the biggest gainers in the previous Welsh local elections, in 2017, and have more to defend now. Five years ago the Conservatives took majority control of Monmouthshire. They have cabinet members in ruling coalitions in Powys, Wrexham and Conwy as well as Denbighshire, where they became the largest group in 2017.” – BBC

  • Liberal Democrats call for tax cut in local elections launch – BBC

>Today: Local government: The Government defends free speech for councillors

Frost: Ultra-Remainers are mobilising to prepare the ground for rejoining the EU

“Of course there is little chance of a serious “rejoin” campaign developing in the short term. Remainer Jacobitism in support of Ursula von der Leyen as the queen over the water is just too unpopular. The leaders of the pro-EU cause recognise that themselves. Instead, their aim is to keep us aligned with the EU, often using the Northern Ireland Protocol as a weapon. They know that if the UK doesn’t diverge much from EU law, it will be much easier to take us back in later if events work in their favour.” – David Frost, Daily Telegraph

  • Global Britain must embrace freer trade with the rest of the world, as well as smarter regulation at home. – Julian Jessop, Daily Telegraph

>Today: Profile: George Eustice, negotiating agriculture’s future between farmers, free traders, protectionionists and rewilders

News in brief

  • Does Rwanda offer the answer to Britain’s Channel migrant crisis? – Patrick O’Flynn, The Spectator
  • Tsar Wars: why Russian support for Putin isn’t just about media manipulation – Ian Mitchell, CapX
  • “No-fault” divorce undermines marriage – Jamie Gillies, The Critic
  • The week the trans spell was broken – Hadley Freeman, Unherd
  • The latest tax rise marks the suspension of Sunak’s leadership campaign – John Rentoul, Independent