“Ministers are to scrap only a fraction of the nearly 4,000 EU laws still in effect in the UK in a dramatic scaling back of Rishi Sunak’s bonfire of Brussels rules and regulations. In a significant U-turn on his Tory leadership election pledge, the government would no longer “sunset” all EU laws by the end of the year, Kemi Badenoch, the business and trade secretary, announced. Instead ministers intend to publish a list of about 550 laws that will be revoked by December, allowing about 3,000 to remain indefinitely… The move has infuriated right-wing backbenchers for whom the Retained EU Law Bill was critical to showcasing what they see as the benefits of Brexit in cutting bureaucracy.” – The Times
“When I was handed responsibility for this Bill I saw that, confronted with the default position of retained EU law sunsetting at the end of this year, Whitehall departments had focused on which laws should be preserved ahead of the deadline, rather than pursuing the meaningful reform Government and businesses want to see. I decided a new approach was needed; one that will ensure ministers and officials are freed up to focus on more reform of REUL, and to do it faster. This week, we are publishing a list of the retained EU laws that will be scrapped by the end of 2023.” – Daily Telegraph
“The Archbishop of Canterbury faced a Tory backlash last night after claiming the Government’s plan to tackle illegal migration is ‘morally unacceptable’. In an extraordinary attack on the Illegal Migration Bill, the Most Rev Justin Welby used a rare speech in the Lords to warn the legislation would do ‘great damage’ to the UK’s reputation. Mr Welby acknowledged the need to ‘stop the boats’ – but said the proposed law ‘fails to live up to our history, our moral responsibility and our political and international interests’. Meanwhile, the Bishop of Durham quoted Jesus as he voiced concerns that the Bill would see migrant children kept in detention for long periods.” – Daily Mail
>Today: ToryDiary: Prison works – but not for free. Ministers must accept the expense of overhauling our jails.
“Ministers are drawing up plans to stop family members from joining overseas master’s students at British universities, as Rishi Sunak braces himself for figures showing record net migration to the UK. The Conservatives promised at the 2019 general election that “overall numbers will come down” but official data due this month is expected to instead show that in 2022 net migration hit record levels. “Numbers will be high,” admitted one government insider, referring to the planned release of data by the Office for National Statistics on May 25. Between June 2021 and June 2022, net migration to the UK hit a record 504,000, according to ONS data, but the Centre for Policy Studies think-tank has estimated the total for last year could top 700,000.” – FT
“Red Wall MPs have warned Rishi Sunak that the Tories face losing the next election unless he fast-tracks his levelling up plans this summer. A group of senior Conservatives has written to the Prime Minister urging him to speed up the handing out of extra cash and power to England’s regions. The plea from 10 influential backbenchers comes after the party suffered a dire result in last week’s local elections, losing more than 1,000 council seats. In a letter to Mr Sunak the MPs, who represent constituencies across the East Midlands, say doubling down on levelling up is key to the Tories’ electoral fortunes.” – Daily Telegraph
“A Tory manifesto pledge to hire 6,000 extra GPs has been scrapped. Rishi Sunak refused to repeat the vow when challenged during an NHS visit yesterday, instead saying: “Right now, there are almost 2,000 more doctors working in general practice than in 2019.” Labour branded it “yet another broken promise”. Shadow health minister Andrew Gwynne said: “The Conservatives have a plan for managed decline of the NHS.” Meanwhile, it was revealed that tens of thousands of future docs will be trained by apprenticeship on the job, rather than via university.” – The Sun
>Yesterday: Emily Carver’s column: Sunak’s NHS reforms are a step in the right direction, but he needs a bigger vision
“The Conservative chair of the foreign affairs select committee has launched a blistering attack on Liz Truss over the former prime minister’s planned trip to Taiwan, calling it “the worst kind of Instagram diplomacy”. Alicia Kearns said she thought Truss’s trip planned for next week was little more than a vanity project aimed at keeping her profile high after her brief spell as prime minister last year. Truss is planning to travel to show “solidarity” with the Taiwanese people amid aggression from Beijing. Taiwan is a self-governing democracy, but Beijing regards it as a renegade province which must be reunited with the mainland.” – The Guardian
>Today: Garvan Walshe’s column: Turkey votes. Will Erodgan be toppled at last?
“Ex-Tory MP Andrew Bridgen today filed a defamation claim against Matt Hancock, after the I’m A Celeb MP accused him of being an antisemite. Mr Bridgen was booted out of the Tory party in April after he compared Covid vaccines to the Holocaust. He’s now joined the right-wing Reclaim Party, which was founded by the vaccine sceptic former actor Laurence Fox. After Mr Bridgen made the gross comparison, Mr Hancock accused his old colleague of antisemitism. But the North West Leicestershire hit back at the claim, insisting he is not racist towards Jewish people.” – The Sun
“Rishi Sunak today slammed “Sir Softie Keir Starmer” as “flakey” too, after the Labour leader kept flip flopping on pledges to the public. At a feisty PMQs, Mr Sunak hit out at his opposite number for constantly u-turning on promises, such as abolishing tuition fees and backing a second Brexit referendum. And he pointed out that Sir Keir has even flip-flopped on a previously stated desire to get rid of the monarchy… Hitting back, a fiery Sir Keir pointed out the Tories lost a dismal 1,000 seats at last week’s local elections.” – The Sun
“Sir Keir Starmer and Sir Ed Davey will hold “serious but deniable” talks to plot a path to No10, a leading Lib Dem let slip yesterday. Party grandee and fellow knight of the realm Sir Vince Cable said scrapping first-past-the-post elections and replacing them with a European-style PR system would be the Lib Dems’ price in a hung parliament. In an incendiary admission, former Cabinet Minister Sir Vince boasted that a “confidence and supply” arrangement with Labour “is very plausible . . . subject to agreement on reform of the voting system”.” – The Sun
“Adam Price has told Plaid Cymru members he is quitting as leader days after a review found a culture of harassment, bullying and misogyny in the party. His decision came following a lengthy meeting of Plaid’s national executive committee to discuss “next steps” following the Prosiect Pawb report. Mr Price, in a letter to Plaid Cymru chair Marc Jones, said: “We have driven the agenda for change in a way that no previous opposition party has dreamt of doing… The report, published on May 3, found party had “failed to implement a zero-tolerance approach to sexual harassment” and that women had been “especially” let down.” – Daily Telegraph
“Nicola Sturgeon’s husband kept secret the purchase of a £110,000 campervan with SNP cash from the officials tasked with managing its accounts, it can be revealed. The Times has learnt that Douglas Chapman, the former party treasurer, was kept in the dark about the six-figure luxury vehicle expense while he was in post. Colin Beattie, the other official to hold the position, has also said that he only became aware of the vehicle being bought through the SNP’s 2021 accounts. It means officials meant to scrutinise how the party spends money were unaware of a significant high-value purchase purportedly to be used as an election battle-bus.” – The Times
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