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“Theresa May will be told this week that she must step down as prime minister by the end of June or her MPs will change the Tory party leadership rules to force her out. Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the back-bench 1922 committee, is set to visit May to tell her that 70% of her MPs now want her to resign for botching Brexit and presiding over a collapse in Tory support. MPs on the executive of the committee will meet on Tuesday to decide whether to tear up the rules to allow a new vote of no confidence in May before December. Insiders say “swing voters” are leaning towards changing the rules unless she agrees to go by June 30.” – Sunday Times
“The exclusive Mail on Sunday survey shows that an astonishing 40 per cent of Conservative councillors are planning to vote for Nigel Farage’s new Brexit Party in May’s European elections, in protest at the Prime Minister’s failure to conclude the UK’s exit from the EU. Three-quarters of her own councillors want Mrs May to resign – and an overwhelming 96 per cent believe that the Tory Party has been damaged by the impasse. Conservative MPs preparing to return to the Commons after the Easter break have been shaken by the strength of feeling in their local associations over Mrs May’s leadership, after she agreed to delay Brexit until the end of October if she cannot strike a deal.” – Mail on Sunday
> Today: ToryDiary: Our survey. Three out of five Party members will vote for the Brexit Party in European elections.
“His main focus in these elections, he says, will be a “northern attack” on Labour’s leave-voting heartlands. “My view, which I came to today, having been out for lunch for the first time this week, is that Conservative voters that are going to switch to the Brexit Party will effectively make up their own minds on this. “My real challenge here is not the Conservatives. It’s that there are about 5m people who voted [Jeremy] Corbyn in 2017 and voted Brexit the year before, and I think that’s where I need to be.” – Sunday Times
“Many – mostly but not entirely Leavers – say they will never vote again. But it is not just voters who are fleeing the established parties. Especially among Tories, once-loyal foot-soldiers in the constituencies are deserting the party. Activists who tramp the streets pushing fliers through doors are decamping – chiefly to Farage. A General Election could find the Conservatives without much of a constituency infrastructure left. The clear risk is that people will turn to extremes to vent their anger and disgust against those who pretend to govern them.” – Mail on Sunday
“In an extraordinary intervention that exposes the tensions at the top of the party over Brexit strategy, Tom Watson warns that Labour will lose to Farage’s new “far right” Brexit party in May’s European elections if it continues to give the impression that “we half agree with him”. Writing in today’s Observer, Jeremy Corbyn’s deputy argues that Labour needs to give much clearer and more enthusiastic backing to another referendum and also spell out a positive, radical vision of how a Labour government could advance socialist values by working with other centre-left parties inside the European Union.” – Observer
> Yesterday: ToryDiary – Opposition to May’s talks with Corbyn is as emphatic as ever. Our survey.
“The party’s interim leader, the former Tory MP Heidi Allen, who yesterday challenged other leaders to a TV debate, claimed that the exodus from established parties showed Change UK was now the “natural home of the ‘Remain Alliance’” and of people who wanted a second referendum. The party said that, of 3,700 people who had applied to stand under the Change UK banner in the 23 May poll, 895 were former Labour activists, 105 were ex-Liberal Democrats and 92 ex-Greens. Dozens of other applicants had been active in the Tory party, including former MPs. Of the Labour defectors, 32 were either former MPs, or had previously been parliamentary or council candidates.” – Observer
“But we also need immediate action to bring rising violence under control. I’ve listened to police about the tools, powers and resources they need to fight this menace. That’s why we’re increasing police funding by over a billion pounds this year, including from council tax and our new serious violence fund. The £100 million for serious violence will help tackle crime in hot spot areas that are worst affected. Police asked for increased stop and search powers – we gave it to them. And our Offensive Weapons Bill will arm police with more powers to stop knife crime. I have no doubt these measures will help rid our streets of even more weapons and save lives.” – Sunday Express
> Today: Victoria Borwick on Comment – We must invest in the next generation to cut knife crime
“In his article, Mr Hunt warns that many Christians around the world will today worship in fear of persecution. He says: ‘The world was rightly shocked by the flames destroying Notre-Dame in Paris… in too many parts of the world, however, it is the congregations themselves who perish.’ It follows the high-profile cases of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who faced death threats after being acquitted of blasphemy in Pakistan.” – Mail on Sunday
“The head of the Metropolitan police, Cressida Dick, has urged Extinction Rebellion activists to protest lawfully as officers continued a large-scale operation to clear environmental campaigners from sites at Oxford Circus and Waterloo Bridge in central London. With more than 1,500 officers now on duty at the protests, Dick has asked demonstrators to move to an officially designated site in Marble Arch or go home. Later on Saturday, hundreds of police officers were clearing activists from a blockade on Waterloo Bridge, where protesters have been since the Extinction Rebellion disruption campaign started five days ago.” – Observer
“As worshippers gathered last night for the Easter Vigil at nearby St Sulpice, standing in for the stricken cathedral, elsewhere in the city protesters clad in yellow vests set fire to cars, motorbikes and litter bins and threw stones at riot police, who responded with baton charges, water cannon and tear gas. Police said 6,700 people in the capital joined the protest, held for the 23rd consecutive Saturday since the gilets jaunes movement was launched last November to oppose planned rises in the tax on fuel. By early evening, 227 people had been arrested, 163 of them detained.” – Sunday Times
“We, separated from the sanguinary rites of our ancestors by long centuries of Christian ethics, can barely imagine the impact that must have been made when our remote fathers first heard the Easter message. Here was the utterly revolutionary idea that there was no more need for sacrifices, because a single sacrifice had already taken place, so colossal and so total that it ransomed humanity forever and made further physical offerings redundant…You don’t need to be a believer to recognise the significance of the Easter message. The paschal story defines the values of modern societies, almost regardless of whether the people in those societies consider themselves Christians. In the last analysis, the events we commemorate today mark the replacement of a magical universe with a moral one.” – Sunday Telegraph