Brexit talks ‘will stall unless May shifts on customs union’: Brexit News for Monday 15 April

Brexit talks ‘will stall unless May shifts on customs union’: Brexit News for Monday 15 April
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Brexit talks ‘will stall unless May shifts on customs union’…

Talks between Labour and the government are unlikely to advance much further in the coming week unless Theresa May moves on her red lines over a future customs union, sources close to the talks have suggested. David Lidington, who is leading the government’s talks with Labour, said a compromise would have to be reached but played down suggestions that a government shift was imminent and added that Labour would also have to move. Labour has suggested the ball is in the government’s court and, while the opposition will engage on other topics including workers’ rights and security, the key question on customs arrangements remains unresolved. “She needs to take a political decision to move off her red lines – or not,” one source said. Lidington said both sides had common ground on future customs arrangements but refused to say whether the government was prepared to agree to Jeremy Corbyn’s central demand for a common external tariff policy with the EU. – Guardian

…as David Lidington says the cross-party talks are ‘testing ideas’…

The government and Labour are “testing out” each other’s ideas as they try to resolve the Brexit deadlock, cabinet minister David Lidington has said. He told the BBC they had a “fair bit in common” over future customs objectives but further compromise was needed. While there was no deadline, he said the sides would “take stock” in 10 days and the process could not drag out. But former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith said the process was a “recipe for disaster” for his party. He called for Prime Minister Theresa May to make way for a new Conservative leader next month – but Mr Lidington insisted replacing the prime minister would “not change the arithmetic in Parliament”. Talks between the government and Labour are set to continue over the Easter parliamentary recess in the hope of finding a Brexit agreement that will be acceptable to MPs. A series of working groups in key areas, such as environmental standards, security and workers’ rights, have been set up to try and find common ground. The EU has insisted the terms of the UK’s withdrawal, rejected three times by MPs, cannot be renegotiated – but there is scope to strengthen the political declaration, a document setting out the parameters of the UK’s future relations with the EU, ahead of the new Brexit deadline of 31 October. Mr Lidington, who is regarded as Mrs May’s de facto deputy, said he had not set a deadline for the talks to produce a result but the public wanted Parliament to resolve their differences quickly. “I don’t think the question can be allowed to drag out for much longer,” he said. Asked whether the government could drop its opposition to a customs union with the EU, as demanded by Labour, Mr Lidington said both sides had well-known “public positions”. – BBC News

  • Lidington says ‘movement’ needed to end Brexit impasse – FT(£)

…and insists the next PM won’t be able to tear up any Brexit deal and start again

The next Prime Minister won’t be able to rip up Theresa May’s Brexit deal, her deputy warned today. David Lidington shot down hopes that a Brexiteer in No10 would be able to junk the withdrawal agreement and leave with No Deal. He warned the likes of Boris Johnson that Remainer MPs in the Commons would step in and stop the Government from pursuing a hard Brexit. Mr Lidington, the Cabinet Office Minister, is leading talks with Labour designed to thrash out a compromise deal. In the coming days the two parties will hold a series of meetings on environmental standards, workers’ rights and security after Brexit. Mr Lidington insisted the two parties would be able to agree on the key issue of customs – even though Labour wants Britain to stay in the customs union while the Tories are adamant we must leave. He said they were aiming to come up with an agreement when MPs return to the Commons after Easter. But the de facto deputy PM hit back at calls from Brexiteers for the next Tory leader to take Britain out of the EU without a deal. Mr Lidington told the BBC: “In the current Parliament, whether or not you have a new leader, the numbers in the House of Commons aren’t going to change.” – The Sun

> WATCH: Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington on The Andrew Marr Show

Jeremy Corbyn says ‘It is a challenge to negotiate with a Government that’s collapsing’

Jeremy Corbyn has attacked Theresa May for coming to Labour too late in the Brexit process. He said it was now sometimes difficult to believe the Prime Minister as she is making promises as her government collapses. Speaking to the Welsh Labour conference, he said it was “scandalous” the Prime Minister did not seek dialogue with Labour on Brexit earlier. “It’s scandalous that it came so late in the Brexit process, not at the 11th hour, not even at five to midnight, but at five past midnight after she missed her own deadline of the 29th of March. “Nevertheless, we’re engaging in the talks in a serious and constructive way. “But we must see those red lines moving and we must see real compromise. “And I have to say, it is a challenge to negotiate with a Government that’s collapsing – when you can’t be sure if commitments made by the Prime Minister will survive the week and when Cabinet collective responsibility has given way to collective irresponsibility, with ministers contradicting each other on the airwaves. “Nearly everyone now agrees that the Prime Minister could and should have tried to build a consensus much earlier.” He told supporters that Mrs May should not try to put her Brexit deal through Parliament again. “Just three weeks ago she said she wasn’t prepared to delay Brexit beyond the 30th of June. “But now we’re holding European elections, not knowing whether MEPs will take their seats or for how long. It’s extraordinary. – iNews

Sajid Javid’s plan for digital border to do away with the Irish backstop was blocked by the Treasury

Sajid Javid has drawn up a detailed technological plan to do away with the Irish backstop but it has been suspended by the Treasury to the fury of Brexiteers. The Home Secretary commissioned Border Force officials to work up a plan using Swiss-style technology to manage trade and tariffs and so avoid a hard border in Ireland. The work was submitted to HMRC but allies of Mr Javid claimed officials were “incredibly dismissive of it and were not interested”. – Telegraph (£)

  • For the sake of Brexit, the Government must make one last push to fix the backstop – Lord Howard of Lympne for the Telegraph (£)

EU leaders pin hopes on British europhile election candidates trying to cancel Brexit…

EU leaders are pinning their hopes on a surge in support for British europhile parties in May’s European elections to convince the government to cancel Brexit. Senior sources in Brussels have revealed that a number of the heads of state and government of the EU-27 said as much in Wednesday’s summit talks over the Brexit extension. Such hopes were dismissed as “starry-eyed dreaming” by David Campbell-Bannerman, the Tory MEP for the East of England and former deputy leader of Ukip. “Having reversed every one of the 48 referendums that went against further EU integration, the EU thinks they can do it again to Britain but they have met their match,” said Mr Campbell-Bannerman, who has been in the European Parliament since 2011 but will not stand in the upcoming elections. “Alongside a third of non British MEPs who will be Eurosceptic after this election, there will be some very angry British Brexiteers winning seats and seeking to gum up the EU’s workings,” he said. “Expect fireworks”. During a seven hour meeting in Brussels, the EU-27 leaders argued over the risks and opportunities of forcing Britain to run May’s elections. The EU-27 has insisted that if the House of Commons did not ratify the withdrawal agreement before May 22, the UK must hold elections to prevent legal challenges against the new European Parliament. A senior EU official said: “Some of the heads were saying this may be one of the most pro-European demonstrations Europe-wide in the elections.” – Telegraph (£)

…with pro-EU parties set to use European elections as ‘soft referendum’…

Pro-EU parties, including the Liberal Democrats, the Greens and the Independent Group, will not form pacts or alliances at the forthcoming EU elections, hoping to use the poll as a “soft referendum” to show a surge in support for remain. If no Brexit deal is passed by parliament, the UK will be required to hold the poll on 23 May. The Lib Dems, the mainstream party hoping to capitalise most on anti-Brexit discontent, has almost finalised its manifesto and plans a huge operation of ground campaigning targeting remain voters. “We want to use the momentum from the locals, which very few other parties will have, as a springboard for European elections,” a party source said. “Voters across all of Great Britain want to vote for a pro-remain party. We’re going to give them all the chance to vote Lib Dem.” The TIG MP Chuka Umunna claimed his new party – Change UK – would be “the leading option on the ballot paper” arguing for a second referendum. – Observer

…while Boris Johnson will snub the ‘preposterous’ EU poll…

Boris Johnson’s allies have said that he will not campaign in the European elections, amid growing Tory gloom over participation in the poll. The former foreign secretary becomes the first probable leadership contender to indicate that he will not campaign. Dominic Raab, a fellow Brexiteer and another likely to stand to succeed Theresa May would not be drawn, while others said they would support Tory candidates who stood. A source close to Mr Johnson said: “Boris won’t campaign in European elections. He believes the prospect of the UK fielding candidates is utterly preposterous. – The Times (£)

  • Tory MP suggests the party should boycott the European elections amid predictions of a bloodbath at the polls – The Sun

…and Labour’s leader in Brussels warns the party it will “haemorrhage” votes unless it backs second referendum

Jeremy Corbyn has been warned Labour will “haemorrhage” votes in the EU election unless the party explicitly backs a further referendum. MEP Richard Corbett, leader of the party in the EU Parliament, told the ObserverLabour risked losing out to parties committed to a public vote. If Labour offered “clarity” on a public vote, it would do “very well”, he said. Labour’s current policy is to keep all options on the table – including pressing for a further EU referendum. It has said it would support a public vote to avoid a “hard Tory Brexit” but several senior figures have expressed concern that a referendum demand would be dropped if the party agreed a Brexit compromise with Tory ministers. Yorkshire and the Humber MEP Mr Corbett told the paper: “If Labour does not re-confirm its support for a confirmatory public vote on any Brexit deal in its manifesto, then it will haemorrhage votes to parties who do have a clear message. “If on the other hand we do offer clarity and a confirmatory ballot we could do very well.” – BBC News

  • Corbyn told to back new EU referendum or lose millions of supporters – Observer
  • Jeremy Corbyn under pressure to make bold referendum offer in European elections – Independent

Theresa May faces calls to resign from grassroots Conservatives amidst fury over Brexit…

Theresa May is facing mounting calls from grassroots activists to resign, as dozens of local Conservative chairmen also now join a strike against campaigning in European elections. A series of association chairmen told The Sunday Telegraph that Mrs May should stand aside by the time of the party’s annual conference in September, when they say her successor could be unveiled. Meanwhile, 30 leaders of local parties are writing to the Prime Minister declaring that they will refuse to campaign for the Conservatives in elections to the European Parliament if they are held in May as a result of the UK’s delayed departure from the EU. The interventions come amid mounting warnings that pro-Leave Tories were abandoning the party in favour of new groups such as The Brexit Party, led by Nigel Farage, believing that Mrs May has “betrayed” them over Brexit. In a letter to Mrs May, seen by this newspaper, they state: “The British public have no appetite for European Elections and simply want politicians to keep their promises and respect the result of the referendum.

  • “If European Elections go ahead and the Conservative Government carries on regardless, we will not participate.”  – Telegraph (£)

…while Iain Duncan Smith urges her to quit next month…

The former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith has called on Theresa May to resign as prime minister next month, saying the timetable for her departure should still stand despite her failure to pass a withdrawal agreement. “I know that the prime minister has already said she’s going. She said she would go as and when the agreement was ratified, which was looking at around about May, June. I think those dates still stand,” he told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday. “I think that what the PM has to do is aim everything now towards departure before the Euros [elections] which would then allow her to step away having done what she said she would do, getting the UK out of the European Union one way or the other and then we can have another leadership election and pick a new leader, which is the way it has to be.” – Guardian

  • Theresa May should stand down as early as next month, says Iain Duncan Smith – Independent

> WATCH: Iain Duncan Smith MP’s interview on Sky News’ Ridge on Sunday

…yet Tory leadership rivals urge her to stay for months…

Cabinet rivals to succeed Theresa May are backing the prime minister to stay in office into the autumn if she fails to get her Brexit deal through parliament. A leading Brexiteer demanded yesterday that Mrs May step down by the end of June and raised the prospect of another move to unseat her within months. Supporters of cabinet contenders to succeed her have made clear privately, though, that they do not want a contest before the first stage of Brexit is resolved, even if talks with Labour break down. They fear that a summer leadership challenge, before the agreement with the EU had been approved by parliament, would hand the initiative to Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab, who have pledged to re-open the deal with Brussels. Mrs May’s agreement with the EU to extend the Article 50 process until October 31 and to open talks with Jeremy Corbyn has put renewed pressure on her. The prime minister had promised to step down once this stage of negotiations was complete. One source backing a cabinet rival said that their candidate would be “perfectly happy” for Mrs May to remain until December when, under the Tory leadership rules, she can next face a confidence vote. “We want a contest after the first stage of Brexit has been sorted so we can talk about other things,” the source said. “Most leading contenders do not want an early challenge, even if that means waiting and supporting the prime minister until December.” A supporter of another candidate said that their campaign could be damaged if the election were held against a background of continued Brexit uncertainty when they wanted to talk about the future. “No one is going to be able to offer a purer form of Brexit from inside the cabinet,” the supporter said. – The Times (£)

…and Philip Hammond ridicules Brexiteer leadership candidates for forming ‘suicide pacts’ during the last contest

Philip Hammond has ridiculed three Brexiteer Tory leadership candidates for engaging in “suicide pacts” when they each failed in their bid to be Prime Minister instead of Theresa May. In a speech in Washington, the Chancellor said Michael Gove and Boris Johnson had formed an “unintended suicide pact” during the last leadership contest while Andrea Leadsom effectively “knifed herself” in a “private suicide pact”. The Chancellor said there was likely to be a far “wider field” this time and joked that he may be “the only member of the 320-strong Parliamentary Conservative Party” who isn’t standing in the forthcoming contest. His comments come as a succession of leading Tories begin to set out their pitches for the leadership amid mounting pressure on Theresa May to resign. Boris Johnson, the former foreign secretary, writes in The Telegraph that once Britain has left the European Union there will be a “pent-up tide of Tory ideas” that will “flood the country”. – Telegraph (£)

  • Philip Hammond mocks leadership hopefuls for an ‘unintended suicide pact’ in failed bids to become PM – The Sun

Nigel Farage launches the Brexit Party…

Ex-UKIP leader Nigel Farage has launched his new Brexit Party, saying he wants a “democratic revolution” in UK politics. Speaking in Coventry, he said May’s expected European elections were the party’s “first step” but its “first task” was to “change politics”. “I said that if I did come back into the political fray it would be no more Mr Nice Guy and I mean it,” he said. But UKIP dismissed the Brexit Party as a “vehicle” for Mr Farage. The launch comes after Prime Minister Theresa May agreed a Brexit delay to 31 October with the EU, with the option of leaving earlier if her withdrawal agreement is approved by Parliament. This means the UK is likely to have to hold European Parliament elections on 23 May. Mr Farage said the Brexit Party had an “impressive list” of 70 candidates for the elections.   – BBC News

  • Nigel Farage: ‘No more Mr. Nice Guy’ – Politico
  • Watch out parliament, Farage warns at launch of new Brexit Party – Reuters
  • A short visit to Euroland HQ is enough to turn anyone a bit Nigel – Matt Chorley for The Times (£)
  • The Brexit Party and Ukip’s rivalry could blunt the power of a pro-Brexit protest vote – Asa Bennett for the Telegraph (£)

…and unveils Annunziata Rees-Mogg as a candidate…

Nigel Farage has promised to bring about a “democratic revolution” as he launched his new Brexit Party this morning, unveiling Jacob Rees-Mogg’s sister as a surprise candidate… Launching the party’s European election campaign in Coventry, Mr Farage said it marked the start of the fightback against a career political class that had betrayed the Brexit referendum. He also unveiled a series of candidates to contest the elections next month, including Annunziata Rees-Mogg, Jacob Rees-Mogg’s sister, who told the audience she could “not stand by” whilst “our democracy has been so betrayed”. She is one of 70 Brexit Party candidates who will fighting the May 23 elections, should they go ahead. – Telegraph (£)

…with the Tories braced for a mass exodus of supporters to Farage’s new party

Jittery Tories are braced for mass exodus of supporters to Nigel Farage’s new Brexit Party. The former Ukip boss says he has a few surprises up his sleeve when he announces the candidates he will field in the Euro elections next month. Up to 40 Conservative candidates are believed to have applied for membership – and 26 MPs have privately told him they will vote for his party. Sources say possible high-profile joiners include a TV star, well-known charity figures and politicians from the mainstream parties. Mr Farage, who has bet £1,000 on his party winning most seats in the European Parliament, said: “After the last three years, many Conservative MPs, councillors and, indeed members, are asking what is the point of their party.” – The Sun

David Lammy says comparing the ERG to Nazis was ‘not strong enough’…

David Lammy has said comparing the hard-Brexit European Research Group of Tory MPs to Nazis and proponents of South African apartheid was “not strong enough”, and suggested that the Brexit debate had allowed proponents of hard right views to flourish. The Labour MP, who is a vocal campaigner for a second EU referendum, was asked on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show whether a comparison he previously made to the election of Adolf Hitler’s party in Germany and to South African white supremacists was appropriate. “I would say that that wasn’t strong enough. In 1938 there were allies who hatched a plan for Hitler to annex part of Czechoslovakia, and Churchill said no, and he stood alone,” he said. Asked if it was fair to make such a comment about elected politicians, he said: “I don’t care how elected they were: so was the far right in Germany.” Lammy pointed to the contact between the former foreign secretary Boris Johnson and Donald Trump’s former senior adviser Steve Bannon, as well as a tweet from the ERG chair, Jacob Rees-Mogg, quoting the far-right German party Alternative für Deutschland. “We must not appease. Let me just be clear, I’m an ethnic minority. We have, in the ERG, in Jacob Rees-Mogg, someone who is happy to put on to his web pages the horrible, racist AfD party, a party that’s Islamophobic and on the far right,” he said. – Guardian

> WATCH: David Lammy MP on The Andrew Marr Show

…prompting Jacob Rees-Mogg to launch a blistering attack on ‘foolish’ Lammy

Jacob Rees-Mogg has lashed out at David Lammy after the Labour MP compared the Brexit-backing European Research Group to Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Party. The prominent Brexiteer and chair of ERG said he felt sorry for the Labour MP following his controversial comments which made him “look foolish”. In a blistering attack, Mr Rees-Mogg said Mr Lammy’s comments were “unbalanced” and would “damage his reputation”. Jacob Rees-Mogg’s furious rant comes after Mr Lammy, who has campaigned for a second referendum, was confronted about his comparison on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show.  – Express

Boris Johnson: Only a proper Brexit can spare us from this toxic polarisation

I know it may not feel much like it at the moment, but some day soon we are going to get out. Unless we MPs have taken leave of our senses, we will honour the wishes of the people. Unless the PM has some secret plan to stifle Brexit with a series of ever more ludicrous delays, it seems to me all but inevitable that we will eventually respect the result of the 2016 referendum and leave the European Union. So don’t despair. Don’t give up. It is going to happen, and at that wonderful moment it will be as though the lights have come on at some raucous party; or as if a turbulent sea has withdrawn to expose the creatures of the shore. We will suddenly see things differently, and in that moment of clarity – when we finally get this thing done – I hope and believe that one of the distortions of Brexit will come to an end. The argument in the past few years has become so all-consuming that it has introduced a ridiculous polarity into political discussion. By dividing the country into Leavers and Remainers, the debate has tended towards stereotype. It is assumed that your view on Brexit is a likely guide to your views on almost everything else. So, by a lazy process of association, a composite picture has been built up of the “average Leaver” or the “average Remainer” – when that picture may have little or nothing to do with reality. Leavers are now assumed to be anti‑immigrant, reactionary, of advancing years, and they are regularly described as “extreme” or “Right‑wing”. Remainers are assumed to be metropolitan, liberal and probably in favour of high and progressive taxation. Soon, if we can get Brexit over the line, we will finally be able to begin the positive narrative about Brexit Britain – the world leader in so many fields, set to overtake Germany, by 2050, as the largest and most prosperous economy in Europe. That is the opportunity. We cannot afford to fail. If my fellow Tories want to understand the political risk we run by refusing to deliver a real Brexit then they should look at the reception accorded the new Brexit Party this weekend in Birmingham. There is a sense of disillusion out there, and we must disprove it now. I believe that we can and we will. But the only way to cure our Brexchosis is to do what we promised the people – to leave the EU, and do it properly. – Boris Johnson MP for the Telegraph (£)

Daniel Hannan: Why I’m standing in the Euro elections that no one wanted – and urge you to vote Tory

Another European election? Seriously? Three years after we voted to leave the EU? Two years after a general election in which (let’s remind ourselves) fully 85 per cent of the winning MPs were elected on manifestos that promised to implement the referendum result? We’re supposed to be an advanced democracy, for heaven’s sake. Our fathers crossed the seven seas to plant the seed of representative government – that is, the idea that an elected assembly should be the guardian of the people. Yet we have lately watched our MPs siding with overseas interests against their own voters. Lots of people, not just those who voted Leave, see new elections as absurd, grotesque, insulting. They are right. Yet one more Euro-poll now looks inevitable. True, it could in theory be circumvented if Brexit terms are agreed this month. In practice, though, the EU’s insistence on the Irish backstop makes an accord impossible. Not that we can exactly blame Eurocrats for being intransigent. Ever since the 2017 election, our MPs have been signalling to them that, if they offer tough enough terms, Parliament will find a way of dropping Brexit altogether. The past three years have shown quite how defunct our state machine is, how rusted its pistons, how clogged its tubes. In the time that has elapsed since the vote, an earlier generation managed to get three quarters of the way through the First World War. Yet we seem unable to enact the simple changes needed to join the 170 states that somehow get by outside the EU. Britain has already voted to leave the EU. That decision has been made and won’t be unmade. What we need now is the strength to turn it into policy. Please give us the numbers we need. – Daniel Hannan MEP for the Telegraph (£)

Bill Cash: Theresa May’s Article 50 extension is illegal, and will be challenged in the courts

After hours of discussions with QCs and former judges, I believe the British Government’s extension of Article 50 is unlawful. It is a fundamental principle of UK constitutional law that the Government may not use its powers, including its powers to make international agreements, to frustrate the intention of Parliament. Parliament’s intention is to be found, and is only to be found, in the laws it makes. Resolutions of the House of Commons may sometimes be politically important, but they are of no legal effect unless an Act of Parliament expressly gives them legal effect. The intention of Parliament is, and remains still, that the UK must leave the EU. This is clear from the legislation to trigger Article 50 (the EU Notification of Withdrawal Act 2017), in which Parliament referred to and declared “the United Kingdom’s intention to withdraw from the EU”. The EU Withdrawal Act 2018 gives effect to the decision to withdraw by repeatedly referring to “exit day”. The Withdrawal Act expressly states: “The European Communities Act 1972 is repealed on exit day”. Parliament originally set that day precisely at March 29 2019, but the Government has purported to extend this by statutory instruments. These can be challenged in the courts. It is essential to note that Parliament’s legal intention for the UK to leave the EU is not conditional upon a withdrawal agreement. While many MPs have said that they do not want the UK to leave without a withdrawal agreement, and the House of Commons has passed a resolution stating this, the law of the United Kingdom is not affected by their protestations. Our law is simply that the UK must leave the EU. – Sir Bill Cash MP for the Telegraph (£)

Iain Duncan Smith: Theresa May should leave a legacy as PM by leaving the EU with a No Deal Brexit

There was in the Royal Navy, in days gone by, a fierce punishment where a man was tied to a small boat’s mast then sailed round the fleet, receiving a flogging at every ship. This punishment was given for attempting to escape. Over the past few weeks the EU has done just that to Theresa May. Only the difference is, we keep being flogged not because we tried to escape the EU but we failed to even try to escape. After all, we could have escaped with no deal on March 29, then again on April 12 and now we will have to put up with more floggings as we delay our departure until October. In the midst of this humiliating and embarrassing national failure, just when you think it can’t get worse, up pops the Chancellor glibly saying there will be a vote on holding another Brexit referendum and that the Government agree on a lot with Labour. This flies in the face of the fact that, in marginal seats around the country, Conservatives are aghast the Government wants to do a deal with Labour. Remember, this is Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour, which wants a Customs Union, alignment with the EU single market and a second referendum. It’s BRINO — Brexit In Name Only. – Iain Duncan Smith MP for The Sun

John Longworth: Why I’m standing for the Brexit Party

A Trojan group of MPs are fighting stoically to deliver the will of the British people. Unfortunately the vast majority of our Parliamentarians have done everything possible to frustrate, delay and undermine the democratic process. They are playing a dangerous game, which strikes at the heart of the social contract. These same individuals voted to have a referendum, pledged to abide by its result, triggered Article 50 and set in law the date of leaving. MPs from the two main parties committed to leave the EU, the jurisdiction of the ECJ, the single market and the customs union, in the manifestos on which they were elected. They have obfuscated and dissembled ever since. Arrogant Remainer MPs like Hammond, Rudd, Letwin, supported by multinationals in the business groups and institutions like the IMF and the BBC, have tried to convince the people of Britain that they were stupid and wrong to have voted for liberty and a brighter economic future, a future which would see those same established groups lose their advantage. Some members of the establishment have even colluded with foreign powers in the hope of maintaining the status quo. During the March to Leave, which I helped organise, I met patriotic people from all backgrounds and walks of life, who were beside themselves with fury. And no wonder. It is time for a revolution in politics, a revolution which has historical precedent and is as much a part of the culture of Britain’s body politic as Parliament itself. – John Longworth for the Telegraph (£)

Nigel Farage: The arrogant elite stuck two fingers up at the people

This is not a bad dream, I’m afraid. It is a pitiful reality. On May 23, Britain will once again be asked to go to the polls to return 73 MEPs to the European Parliament in Brussels. After 25 years of campaigning to get the UK out of the EU, I am the last person who wanted our country to be in this position. Frankly, I think it is an unforgivable state of affairs. But the refusal of the political class in Westminster to honour the referendum result of 2016 means that this unwanted election is upon us. We must make the best of it. Having said all of that, I wouldn’t want anybody to think I am despondent. Far from it. And none of the 17.4 million men and women who voted for Brexit should be either. Before us all is a brilliant opportunity to bring about a revolution in Britain’s political system. To that end, I want to emphasise with every fibre of my being how important it is that as many people as possible turn out next month and vote for The Brexit Party. I know that many reading this will be sceptical, thinking their vote won’t make a difference. But without the people of our nation doing their democratic duty three years ago, we would not have won the EU referendum. On that occasion, we beat the Remain side by more than 1.3 million votes. That is why you can count on The Brexit Party to field a wide range of candidates who are committed to openness, honesty, integrity, and promoting the public good. After three terrible years in which the people of the UK have been deliberately misled by a group of conceited politicians who are hell-bent on pleasing themselves, we all deserve so much better. – Nigel Farage MEP for the Express

The Sun: The Tories are mad to carry on talks with Labour and to consider contesting European elections

Have the Tory leadership lost their minds? Are they hell-bent on self-destruction? Hopeless Chancellor Philip Hammond is “optimistic” of a Brexit deal with ­Labour after talks with sinister Marxist John McDonnell. What deal? One with a permanent customs union certain to split the Tories in two? One with the second referendum Labour MPs are demanding, which would also tear the Tory Party apart? Thousands more voters dump them each day — disgusted by their incompetence and now by them co-opting the most toxic political figures of our ­lifetimes into their Brexit strategy team. The Tories will be flayed alive in the council elections and the European ones soon after. They would be ­better off ­sitting the latter out. Why stand in them? If they are still serious that we are leaving the EU, why waste money fielding candidates as Tory MEPs? – The Sun says

Fraser Nelson: If anything, this horror show has strengthened my support for Brexit

Of the many strange things we are seeing during this debacle, one of the strangest is how few have changed their mind – in spite of seeing the Brexit process turn into a top-to-bottom horror show. The mayhem has not put them off.And why? Because mayhem was expected. The leader of every political party in Parliament, business groups, trade unions, scientists, actors, spy chiefs – all urged the country to vote Remain. Those who declined to do so knew that they were capsizing the boat and expected to see important people splashing around for quite a while. The language and tactics used by Donald Tusk and others has also reminded people like me how I was naïve to think the EU would ever reform. I thought they would have to, given how many European voters were unhappy. But the EU has prided itself on its intransigence, seeing refusal to compromise as a strength. – Fraser Nelson for the Telegraph (£)

Brexit in Brief

  • Brexit need not tear the Tories apart. Here’s why – Anthony Browne for The Spectator
  • Overturning the Referendum? – Graham Gudgin for Briefings for Brexit
  • Jeremy Corbyn must decide on a Brexit deal with PM or a second referendum — our future rests in his hands – James Forsyth for The Sun
  • EU Supernanny puts Britain on the naughty step once again – Victoria Baillon for ConservativeWoman
  • What would Rumpole make of the Brexit murderers if we put them on trial at the Old Bailey? – Richard Littlejohn for the Daily Mail
  • The IMF’s latest no-deal warnings are sloppy and overblown – Harry Western for Briefings for Brexit
  • May must resign in the name of Brexit, and do so now – Alasdair Dow of Get Britain Out for The Commentator
  • Will the betrayed Leaver heartlands ever forgive the Tories over Brexit? – Andrew Kennedy for the Telegraph (£)
  • Nicola Sturgeon under pressure as Brexit fails to hasten Scottish independence – Alan Cochrane for the Telegraph (£)
  • The Brexit Party should not be written off in Scotland – Brian Monteith for The Scotsman
  • The IMF’s No Deal forecast should come with a health warning – Ruth Lea for Conservative Woman
  • Tories would face 60-seat loss in a general election amidst Brexit backlash and send Corbyn to No. 10 – Telegraph (£)
  • Welsh resorts to ‘benefit” from EU exit uncertainty – BBC News