Brexit bill

The ‘divorce bill’ demanded by the EU is legally unenforceable, says the Telegraph.

A massive €100bn Brexit bill is ‘legally impossible’ to enforce, the European Commission’s own lawyers have admitted.
The Telegraph has seen minutes of internal deliberations circulated by Brussels’ own Brexit negotiating team which had warned against pursuing the UK for extra payments.
But member states appear to have ignored the Commission’s own advice by demanding €100bn from the Government – a sharp hike in the original demand of €60bn.
The inflated bill deepened the rift between Brussels and Downing Street. A leaked report of a Downing Street dinner with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker accused Theresa May of living in “another galaxy”, prompting the Prime Minister in turn to accuse EU politicians and officials of seeking to disrupt the general election.

Westmonster reports what the Telegraph has discovered.

The European Union’s ransom demand for €100 billion from Britain has no legal standing.
That’s the reality set out by the EU’s own legal team in private negotiation documents seen by The Telegraph.
It represents a hammer blow to the credibility of such a cash demand, which has steadily inflated from around £50 billion to £90 billion as some in the EU have increasingly lost the plot.
This is backed up by a House of Lords committee who advised that there is no legal obligation to hand over chunks of cash to Brussels no matter how much they stomp their feet.
Is this a Brussels bluff or are they serious about such ridiculous cash demands? If so, no deal looks increasingly likely.

But the Prime Minister is being urged to challenge the demand, says the Express.

THERESA May has been urged to “call the bluff” of European Union leaders and demand an independent tribunal examine the legality of their demands for the UK to pay a €100bn Brexit divorce bill.
Leading Tory barrister Martin Howe QC has advised the Prime Minister to throw down the gauntlet to her European counterparts and ask them to convene an international tribunal to examine their claim.
“One thing we could say is let’s agree to refer this to an international tribunal as to whether or not there is a legal claim and then it will be decided,” he said.
“It will put paid to any argument that the UK is trying to run away from or dodge its legal obligations.”
“That’s one way that the EU’s bluff could be called.”

And the EU is demanding further guarantees for its people in the UK, reports the Independent.

The EU has toughened its stance on the fate of three million EU citizens in the UK, demanding even for those with no proof of residency are allowed to stay after Brexit.
The lead negotiator for Brussels insisted “red tape” must not be allowed to stand in the way of EU nationals remaining with full rights.
“Individuals legally residing in the UK today must remain residents after withdrawal, including in those cases when people have no documents to prove residency,” Michel Barnier said.

The Sun claims the government has enlisted the help of a ‘war negotiator’.

AN expert in hostile negotiations has been brought in to advise British civil servants on how to handle Brexit talks.
William Ury was asked to help after playing a crucial role in ending the seemingly intractable 52-year war in Colombia, South America.
The American specialises in hostile and emotional conflicts and advises on turning the other side’s anger against them.
A source told The Sun on Sunday last night: “It’s astonishing given the negotiations haven’t even started yet. Already the Government seem to have pressed the nuclear button by bringing in a war negotiator.”
It comes in the week the row over Brexit exploded between PM Theresa May and her EU counterparts.

General election

The Tories are still leading in the polls for next month’s General Election, says the Mail.

Theresa May maintained her strong lead in opinion polls ahead of next month’s national election.
Almost one third of Britons said they will vote tactically ‘to prevent a hard Brexit‘ – while an analyst predicted she was on course for the kind of huge success Margaret Thatcher enjoyed over 30 years ago.
May is asking voters to strengthen her hand as she seeks a mandate for her plan to implement the result of last year’s Brexit referendum by quitting the European Union’s single market.
The Conservative party made big gains in local elections last Thursday at the expense of Labour and polls published at the weekend – conducted beforehand – showed her with a commanding lead of up to 19 percentage points.
May has a working majority of less than 20 seats in the 650-seat parliament but polling analysts have predicted she could increase that number by as many as 100 at the June 8 election.

But it seems that some people are prepared to vote tactically in order to stop the PM, says the Independent.

One third of people are prepared to vote tactically at next month’s general election in order to prevent a hard Brexit, according to an exclusive poll for The Independent.
Supporters of such a strategy said the findings showed that tactical voting could deny Theresa May a landslide on 8 June despite the Conservatives’ triumph in last Thursday’s local elections.
The survey by ORB found that 46 per cent of people who backed Remain in last year’s EU referendum would consider voting for someone who was not their first choice in order to stop a hard Brexit. This high figure suggests that the country has not united behind Ms May’s version of Brexit outside the single market and customs union.

UKIP

Our former leader was in fine form on the BBC last evening. Westmonster reports his comments.

Nigel Farage has pointed out how the party has “transformed the landscape” of British politics and insisted that a UKIP voice involved in the national debate moving forward remains important.
Speaking last night on BBC’s Any Questions, Nigel said: “Well, hasn’t British politics changed in the last couple of years?
“All of the things that I’ve been accused of banging on about have now been adopted wholesale by the Prime Minister.”
Farage pointed out how UKIP had “transformed the landscape of British politics in a way no party in living memory has ever done” and insisted that the country was now having “the right debate”.
Asked what the point of UKIP now was, Nigel pointed out how in the past as Home Secretary Theresa May had failed to deliver on promises and pledges, whilst being good at big set piece speeches.
He said that it was “very important the UKIP voice is still there” if May fails to deliver the Brexit that so many now expect.

And the Express quotes the sour grapes of a former MP.

FORMER Ukip MP Douglas Carswell has turned on his former boss, saying that Nigel Farage only has himself to blame for the party’s collapse as a political force.
Mr Carswell, who left the anti-European Union party before announcing he would stand down as an MP at the June 8 election, said the party’s former leader put voters off with “angry outbursts” over immigrants.
His is comments came after a disastrous set of local elections for the eurosceptic party, which lost more than 100 councillors and won only a single seat on Thursday.
Leader Paul Nuttall acknowledged the party had lost large numbers of supporters to Conservatives, but insisted it had a “great future” so long as it could “stay on the pitch and hold its ground”.

Social care

On the policy front, the Tories are planning a social care revolution, says the Express.

THERESA May is set to fast-track plans that will prevent millions of older people from having to sell their homes to pay for social care.
Sources involved in drawing up the Conservative Party’s manifesto claim the Prime Minister is giving “serious consideration” to bringing in the lifetime cap on care costs, first promised by David Cameron.
The cap, set at £72,000 for people above state pension age, was due to come into effect in 2020.
However, Mrs May is expected to bring it forward to 2019. Earlier this year, the Government appeared to be dropping the pledge made by Mr Cameron in the Conservative Party’s 2015 election manifesto that the elderly should not have to sell up to pay for care.

Mental health

And they are also looking at the laws surrounding mental health, reports BBC News.

The 1983 Mental Health Act would be scrapped and replaced with new laws governing treatment, under Conservative plans for England and Wales.
The Equalities Act would also be reformed to tackle discrimination against people with mental health problems, the party has pledged.
The party is also promising 10,000 more staff working in NHS mental health treatment by 2020.
Labour said the Tories appeared to be offering no extra funding.
The Conservatives say the plans are motivated by the concern that “vulnerable people are being subject to detention, including in police cells, unnecessarily” as numbers of people detained or “sectioned” under the Mental Health Act have risen.

The story is also covered by ITV News.

Theresa May has announced a Conservative plan to overhaul Britain’s mental health policies as part of the biggest planned reforms to mental health care made in 30 years.
Mrs May has pledged to make “ripping up” the current Mental Health Act – in place since 1983 – and replacing it with a new Mental Health Treatment Bill an early priority following the June 8 general election in a bid to ensure the issue is “taken far more seriously”.
The reforms are also motivated by concerns that “vulnerable people are being subject to detention, including in police cells, unnecessarily” amid rising numbers of people being detained or “sectioned” under the Mental Health Act, according to the Tory leader.

Labour

Corbyn is still claiming he will will next month’s election, says Sky News.

Jeremy Corbyn says he is “fighting to win” the General Election, refusing to address questions about what would happen if he was defeated on 8 June on the scale of the recent local elections.
In an exclusive interview with Sky News, Mr Corbyn was asked whether he would stand down as Labour leader in those circumstances.
He said: “I’ve been elected to lead this party and I’m very proud to do so. I’m very proud of the increased membership and the increase in our party activity.
“Obviously I am disappointed in the election results on Thursday.
“We’re going all out to elect Labour MPs on 8 June. After that, we’ll see what the result is.”

But it seems that a major union donor is deserting him, says the Express.

JEREMY CORBYN’S most powerful union backer is giving money to more moderate MPs, sparking claims he has turned his back on the beleaguered leader.
Unite’s Len McCluskey is attempting to make inroads after “backing the wrong horse” it has been claimed.
Mr McClusky has been one of Corbyn’s most vocal supporters, and has put the weight of the largest trade union in the UK behind him.
But cracks began to show in his support when he suggested in March that Corbyn be given just 15 months to prove himself, and that he should stand down if he fails.
Now, insiders say he is “hedging his bets” by looking at other options for Labour’s future.
A well-placed source in the Labour Party said: “He seems to be trying to make friends with moderates in the party again. None of us think he will stand by and let Corbyn stay at the helm if the party is annihilated at the polls.

Lib Dems

They’re trying – very trying. Farron’s people have promised to support the state pension, says ITV News.

The Liberal Democrat’s have vowed to protect state pension’s by including a commitment to the ‘triple lock’ system in their manifesto.
Under the triple lock system a guarantee is made that state pensions will rise in line either with inflation, average earnings, or 2.5%, depending on which is of the three is of the highest value.
Former Lib Dem business secretary Sir Vince Cable said the lock was important because how we treat the elderly is “an important test of a civilised society”.
He said: “The guiding principle of the pensions system must be to ensure that none are left unable to meet their basic needs for survival and participation in society, and that everyone is treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.”

Blair

The Independent has discovered that Corbyn is not the least popular politician.

Tony Blair is more unpopular with voters than Jeremy Corbyn, according to an opinion poll for The Independent.
While one in three people (33 per cent) has a favourable opinion of Mr Corbyn, and 60 per cent an unfavourable one, Mr Blair’s ratings are even more bleak, at 21 per cent and 72 per cent respectively.
The survey of 2,006 adults by ORB found that 60 per cent of people who voted Labour at the 2015 election have a favourable view of Mr Corbyn, and 35 per cent an unfavourable one. Mr Blair is much less popular among them; only 37 per cent have a favourable opinion of him, while 56 per cent do not.
Three in 10 people (29 per cent) believe Labour would be in a better position going into next month’s election with Mr Blair as leader, but almost twice as many (56 per cent) disagree with this statement.

French elections

Across the Channel, the French are voting for a president today, and Breitbart reports that Macron is not a shoe-in for the job.

The British-based betting firm Ladbrokes says Marine Le Pen is attracting 90 percent of the bets on the eve of the French presidential election, as people gamble that France is in line for an upset.
The betting firm said Saturday despite the polls favoring her centrist rival, Emmanuel Macron, gamblers are putting money on the idea that France may be in line for a political shock similar to Britain’s decision to leave the European Union or Donald Trump’s victory in the U.S. presidential election.
Le Pen’s odds are 6-1. Macron is at 1-10 odds.
Nicola McGeady of Ladbrokes says with “so many political upsets in recent times, we are not surprised to see punters ignoring the polls. Le Pen is attracting the weight of money.”

The Telegraph reports on the hundreds of e-mails that have been hacked.

The huge trove of hacked emails from Emmanuel Macron’s campaign had barely been released online when the spotlight immediately fell on Russia hackers.
With as much as 9 gigabytes of data from the campaign having been dumped online, instant comparisons were made with the cyber attack on the Democratic National Committee and the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s Democratic campaign.
US intelligence agencies said in January that Vladimir Putin, Russian President, had ordered those hacks to influence the election on behalf of Donald Trump, her Republican rival who went on to win the US presidency.
The Russian president has repeatedly denied the accusations and this week said “it has never occurred to us to interfere in other countries internal affairs”.
While it was not known who was behind the attack on Mr Macron’s campaign, which came two days before election day, suspicion immediately fell on Moscow.

Breitbart also carries the story, pointing out that false documents are included in the cache.

A large cache of documents hacked from French Presidential Candidate Emmanuel Macron’s campaigning team have been dumped on the internet, with just hours to go until polling opens in the final round of voting.
The information includes genuine staffers’ personal and professional emails as well as campaign finance material and contracts, all of which were taken by anonymous hackers some weeks ago, Macron’s En Marche movement confirmed in a statement.
However, they added that false documents had been mixed in to the file dump to “seed doubt and disinformation.” Staffers said they would “take all measures” to uncover what happened.
The incident is embarrassing for the campaign, which had previously denied reports that staff emails had been hacked. They were also unable to point out which documents were false.

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