“Theresa May could face a new confidence vote in the wake of the European elections under plans that will be considered by senior Tory MPs this week, The Telegraph can disclose. On Tuesday the 1922 committee of backbench Tory MPs will meet to discuss whether the rules should be changed to allow a new bid to remove the Prime Minister. Alan Mabbutt, a senior Conservative Party official, has confirmed that the rules surrounding leadership challenges are not determined by the party’s constitution but by backbench MPs themselves. It comes as a string of senior Tory called for Theresa May to name a date for her departure amid concerns that the European elections will be a “disaster” for the party.” – Daily Telegraph
>Today: ToryDiary: Our survey. A record total of nearly eight out of ten Party members say that May should announce now that she will resign.
“Prominent Leavers including former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith face losing their seats at the next general election as Brexiteers prepare to punish the Conservatives at the ballot box with voters threatening to boycott the local and European elections over the UK’s delayed departure from the EU. New analysis by ComRes suggests the Tories stand to lose 41 seats, with 29 Leave MPs set to be ousted as voters switch to Labour, the Liberal Democrats and SNP following a public backlash against Theresa May in Conservative heartlands. MPs canvassing for the forthcoming elections described enduring the Easter ‘recess from hell’ as irate supporters bad-mouthed Mrs May on the doorstep, threatened to spoil ballot papers and sent their polling cards back to their local councils in protest.” – Daily Telegraph
“Grassroots Tories have said they will effectively go on strike during the European elections next month amid a mounting backlash against Theresa May. Derbyshire Conservatives have “overwhelmingly” backed a motion that means they will not support the Conservatives during the European elections next month. Councillor Barry Lewis, the leader of the group, has written to Brandon Lewis, the chairman of the Conservative Party, voicing the group’s frustration at the fact Britain has not left the European Union.” – Daily Telegraph
>Today: MPsETC: Exclusive. The full list of Conservative MEP candidates.
>Yesterday: Barry Lewis on Comment: We Derbyshire Conservatives will take no part in European elections that should not be taking place
“Jeremy Corbyn is to be urged by a group of Labour MPs not to “torpedo” the prospect of a Brexit deal with Theresa May by insisting on a second referendum. The MPs, including Stephen Kinnock and Gloria De Piero, are set to send the Labour leader a letter early next week setting out their “deep-seated reservations about a second referendum”, which they believe would be “divisive but … not decisive”. They also express a worry that insisting on a second referendum would cause talks with the government to collapse, arguing that Conservative MPs would never back such an idea.” – The Guardian
“If any government needed a reboot, it is this one. But the problem for Theresa May is that doing that requires a Queen’s Speech, and that could bring down her government. Ministers worry that any Queen’s Speech would have to include within it the Brexit deal. After all, that would be the biggest piece of legislation going through Parliament in the coming session. But if it did, the Queen’s Speech may well be voted down. Labour and Tory Brexit rebels could get together to defeat the Government. As one source at the heart of government points out: “If you haven’t got the votes for the deal, why would you have the votes to pass the Queen’s Speech?” – James Forsyth, The Sun
“Jean-Claude Juncker has said the UK has no prospect of staying in the EU single market as part of any cross-party compromise between the Conservatives and Labour parties unless MPs first pass a Brexit divorce deal The European Commission president did not expect the UK to cancel the Brexit process but added that he did not see a “single-market-based solution” with the EU unless the House of Commons ratified an EU-UK divorce deal that MPs have already rejected three times. “As far as I am concerned, the British side bears 100 per cent of the responsibility for this,” Mr Juncker told Germany’s Funke Media Group.” – Financial Times
“John Bercow must allow President Donald Trump to address Parliament this summer or risk damaging Britain’s special relationship with the US, ministers have suggested. Preparations are underway for President Trump to make a full State visit to the UK in June to coincide with D-Day 75th anniversary commemorations. But the Speaker is refusing to extend the traditional courtesy of asking the visiting President to address both Houses of Parliament. US officials have made it clear that they are angered by Mr Bercow’s snub, which has become an embarrassment to the Government as it tries to make the State visit happen three years after it was first offered by Theresa May. Writing in The Telegraph, Tobias Ellwood, the veterans’ minister, says the UK should “leverage” Mr Trump’s state visit and give him the opportunity to formally address Parliament.” – Daily Telegraph
“Jeremy Hunt, a front-runner for the Tory leadership, has defended the Conservative’s austerity programme during a clash with Jeremy Corbyn and said it is the Labour leader’s “Marxist regime” that will put Britain’s economy at risk. The Foreign Secretary said in an interview this week that he admired the “genius” of David Cameron for convincing people to accept austerity. He said their success in delivering cuts “without poll tax-style riots” had helped “put the economy on its feet to the extent we’re now creating 1,000 jobs every single day since we’ve been in office”. Mr Corbyn, the Labour leader, highlighted Mr Hunt’s comments in the interview on Twitter. “Austerity isn’t a political game,” he said. “It has serious consequences.” Mr Hunt responded directly on Twitter. He replied: “‘Serious consequences’ doesn’t come close to describing the devastation your hard left policies would wreak on our economy.” – Daily Telegraph
“Labour was mocked yesterday for posting a Passover message on social media that included a loaf of bread. The party’s official Twitter account wrote: “As Jewish people prepare for Passover, we’re wishing everyone in the Jewish community chag sameach [happy holiday]”, accompanied by an image with a Star of David, a goblet and a loaf of bread. Leavened bread is not eaten by observant Jews during Passover, a commemoration of the exodus of Israelites from Egypt. Labour later reposted the message without the images of the bread or the goblet.” – The Times
“The Government quango that oversees workplace equality pays white staff £1,000 more than ethnic minority workers. The Equalities and Human Rights Commission is tasked with helping companies tackle salary gaps between different groups.But its own payroll figures show white employees earn £43,141 on average while black and ethnic minorities (BME) get £42,017. It also pays women less than men. Male BME employees typically earn £43,273 to female BME staff’s £40,510.” – The Sun
“Nearly 10,000 fines for breaches of “petty” council orders were issued in England and Wales in 2018, with a quarter of those in Peterborough alone. Campaign group the Manifesto Club has called for the Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPO) to be scrapped. Councils can bring in PSPOs to ban activities such as begging, nuisance drinking and even unauthorised cycling. The Local Government Association said PSPOs were one way to “tackle anti-social behaviour”. About 60% of the 9,930 fines were issued by just four councils – Peterborough (2,430), Bedford (1,489), Hillingdon (1,125) and Waltham Forest (966) – which all use private companies to issue the fines. People who do not comply with the orders can be required to pay a £100 fixed penalty. Rosie Brighouse, a lawyer for human rights charity Liberty, said she was concerned some wardens were “acting with incentives to issue as many fines as possible”.” – BBC
“A young journalist murdered by dissident republicans in Londonderry has been praised for her courage and integrity as police and politicians sought to dampen the fresh wave of unrest that led to her death. Lyra McKee, 29, an investigative writer and activist described as a “shining light”, was shot while covering a riot in the Creggan area on Thursday night. She was killed on the 21st anniversary of the Good Friday agreement and it is believed those responsible belonged to the New IRA, a terrorist group that opposes the peace process.” – The Times
“London’s police have made their most concerted effort to clear climate protesters from one of the four thoroughfares in the heart of the UK capital that they have occupied since Monday. The operation involving hundreds of officers at Oxford Circus in the West End came hours after supporters of Extinction Rebellion, the group organising the protests, failed in their attempt to disrupt road traffic at Heathrow airport. On Thursday Sajid Javid, the home secretary, had urged the police to use “the full force of the law” against demonstrators committing crimes. On Friday afternoon the Metropolitan Police said they had arrested 682 people in connection with the protests since Monday, describing the “serious disruption” as “unacceptable”.” – Financial Times
“Too many neo-conservative interventions over the past two decades have proceeded under the banner of an idea: “freedom”, “democracy”, “justice”, or “human rights”. Militarily successful in the short-term, they have killed the offending despot, but then foundered for want of any popular local leadership to carry the baton. This is not just true of western intervention. Revolutionary Islamic fundamentalism, too, has typically met its greatest success in destabilising the political structures it attacks, but fizzled out in the attempt to establish a new structure. The cart needs a horse: charismatic leaders who embody the ideal and make it flesh.” – Matthew Parris, The Times
>Today: Book Reviews: For a really serious British foreign policy failure, look at Chamberlain’s attempt to appease Hitler
“Fully to understand the Easter story it helps to be hounded by the mob, to know that nothing that you say or do can deflect the hostility, and that in any case the distinctions between true and false, just and unjust, good and evil have all been suspended. Some can undergo this experience in a spirit of charity, and one in particular rose above his suffering to forgive those who inflicted it. The Easter story tells us of the redemption that comes into the world, when such torment is willingly undergone for others’ sake. But it also tells us of the time of utter darkness, the time of nothingness, when the light of creation has gone out. St John of the Cross called this the dark night of the soul. The world lay in such a darkness on the first Easter Saturday; and at the end of this most terrible week a similar darkness fell on me.” – Roger Scruton, Daily Telegraph
>Today: Richard Ritchie on Comment: Christianity and politics at Easter. Do the Gospels present a manifesto?