Good Tuesday morning.
DRIVING THE DAY
HART IN YOUR MOUTH: A bombshell ballot has dropped in the previous couple of minutes showing to place the Conservatives on track for what could be a genuinely exceptional victory in the Hartlepool by-election on Thursday. According to Survation for ITV’s Good Morning Britain, the Tories have a thumping 17-point lead over Labour in the seat. There are simply 48 hours to go till polling day and these numbers will go some technique to detonate fastidiously crafted Tory makes an attempt at expectation administration — though Boris Johnson and different senior Tories had been final night time nonetheless downplaying their celebration’s probabilities of pulling off a win, with the prime minister insisting it might be “extraordinary” for the city to show blue.
The numbers: Jill Mortimer, Conservative: 50 % … Paul Williams, Labour: 33 % … Thelma Walker, Independent: 6 % … Sam Lee, Independent: 6 % … Rachel Featherstone, Greens: 3 % … Andrew Hagon, Liberal Democrats: 1 % … John Prescott, Reform U.Okay.: 1 %.
Favorability scores: Among the Hartlepool voters polled, 51 % considered Boris Johnson favorably and 28 % unfavorably, giving him a internet favorability ranking of +23. Labour chief Keir Starmer had a internet ranking of -18. Johnson was backed as the very best prime minister by 56 % of Hartlepool voters, 37 factors forward of Starmer on 19 %.
If it’s true … These are clearly extraordinarily punchy numbers and in the event that they had been replicated on Thursday you’d think about it might have a significant affect on the Westminster narrative and pile strain on Starmer’s management. Survation has gone all-in because the pollster prepared to boldly name Hartlepool as an enormous win for the Tories, so it’s kinda make or break for them too.
**A message from Liberty Global: Gigabit broadband is essential in serving to the UK’s small companies thrive — so we’re investing to carry it to our complete community (greater than 15 million premises) this yr. This will energy hundreds of small companies — and assist the Government meet practically two-thirds of their gigabit goal 4 years early.**
Kerching: Someone on the betting markets was actually having fun with themselves final night time as hypothesis concerning the ballot pinged round WhatsApp, with a load of cash piled on bets towards a Labour win. (H/t Matt Singh.)
Bucket of salt: It’s inevitable that these figures will wind up Twitter and set the agenda for the by-election any longer, but it surely’s price treating this all with a wholesome dose of warning. Senior Tories final night time closely downplayed the ballot and privately insisted it’s inaccurate. They pointed to Survation’s pattern measurement of simply 301 for these headline numbers, which leaves a major margin of error. Expect different pollsters to return out and tweet their skepticism this morning. It’s additionally most likely price stressing that by-elections are notoriously tough to ballot — and fairly probably much more so in COVID instances.
Going comfortable: A Cabinet minister who has campaigned in the seat informed Playbook final night time they didn’t acknowledge that stage of Tory lead, claiming their view from the bottom is that the seat is “in the balance.” A second Cabinet minister nonetheless mentioned he thought the Labour vote was “very soft,” its candidate was “disliked,” and the Tory machine was “good and well targeted.”
Worth noting: The fieldwork for Survation’s ballot passed off between April 23-29, so principally earlier than Wallpapergate correctly blew up, which means it might not keep in mind any narrowing of the Tory lead that we’ve got seen with different pollsters since. The Times’ Steve Swinford quotes a Cabinet minister saying the “cash for curtains” row is a “concern” forward of Thursday’s elections. Redfield and Wilton Strategies had a Westminster voting intention ballot out on Monday night exhibiting the Tory lead nationally at simply 2 factors, down 8. But POLITICO’s Poll of Polls, which aggregates information from a number of sources to present a extra correct image, has the Tories on 41, whereas Labour is on 36.
Spin when you’re winning: Johnson himself was decided to set expectations manner decrease final night time. The PM and Home Secretary Priti Patel held a name with Tory activists in which Johnson pleaded: “I want to stress that a lot of people are talking about Hartlepool — I have just been there. I think it’s important for people to understand this is not a seat that Conservatives have ever held. This is the stamping ground of Peter Mandelson. It’s very important for everybody to be aware of the deep psephological reality, it’s a massive, massive challenge, it would be a quite extraordinary thing in my view if that were to happen — but that doesn’t mean that we’re not fighting for every single vote.”
Why it might be extraordinary: This is perhaps spin however he additionally has a degree — Hartlepool has all the time been Labour because the seat was shaped in 1974, and the celebration has historically held it fairly comfortably with a median majority of seven,205. For it to flip in a mid-term election after what has been a really bumpy few weeks for Johnson could be, for need of a greater phrase, extraordinary.
But not that extraordinary: It must be mentioned that Johnson has visited Hartlepool 3 times throughout this by-election marketing campaign, so it’s clearly the case that for all of the above, the Tories imagine a win is doable.
Teeing it up: The FT’s Seb Payne — who’s writing the e-book on the pink wall so is aware of extra about it than most others in SW1 — was in Hartlepool yesterday with the PM. He has a bit out on how Tory Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen will “easily win” his reelection race, in response to native Tories — and the way that will assist the celebration take Hartlepool. Payne explains: “The biggest danger for Labour is what one red wall Tory MP described as the ‘Houchen factor’: voters will double tick to re-elect the mayor and Jill Mortimer to be Hartlepool’s first Conservative MP. One of Labour’s shadow cabinet ministers who has visited the seat cautioned that ‘it’s not looking good.’” Payne additionally revealed Johnson has appointed Tory backbencher and former Treasury brainbox Neil O’Brien as his new adviser on “leveling up,” amid confusion in Whitehall about what the slogan really means.
Starmer’s day: By Playbook’s rely Starmer has additionally been as much as Hartlepool 3 times, and also you’d think about he’ll be requested about this ballot and extra on his broadcast spherical this morning — which kicks off with GMB and LBC’s Nick Ferrari. After that he’s visiting three battleground seats in Wales.
Clean-up operation: The Labour chief has written an “open letter to the country” this morning in which he doubles down on assaults on Tory sleaze. “If I were prime minister,” Starmer writes, “I would stop the abuse of taxpayers’ money, stop the wasteful approach to outsourcing contracts and clean up our politics. When I was director of public prosecutions, I was not afraid to prosecute MPs who had broken the rules over MPs’ expenses. As prime minister, I would not be afraid to overhaul a system that still allows power to be abused.” Labour sources tell the Guardian’s Jess Elgot that Starmer will “link the row over Johnson’s lavish refurbishments to the early days of the pandemic and question whether the prime minister was distracted as he apparently sought donors to sponsor the decorations.”
What Labour’s saying: You’ve had your Hartlepool expectation administration from the Tories, now over to a senior Labour official for his or her flip. “It’s going to be really tight,” they informed Playbook final night time, arguing that “with a Conservative mayor, and a strong vote for Brexit, it was always going to be tough.” However the official additionally talked up Labour’s marketing campaign, insisting Starmer has been “warmly welcomed” and “our ground campaign has been exceptional” — one thing Playbook hears is true from others on the bottom, with Labour turning out double the variety of activists managed by the Tories. “Keir, and the wider party, are under no illusions about the challenge we face in areas like Hartlepool, we have to earn back every vote and that will continue beyond next Thursday,” the official mentioned.
Get your takes in now … It’s not arduous to see the place the narrative in SW1 will go if this morning’s ballot comes true: A Tory win in Hartlepool and a robust exhibiting throughout the nation means No. 10 will argue the general public doesn’t care in the slightest about something Dominic Cummings has to say and is listening as a substitute to the Tory supply on jobs and funding — whereas Labour asks inevitable questions on what’s going unsuitable for Keir Starmer. But if Labour proves Survation unsuitable in Hartlepool and outperforms expectations throughout the nation, the opposition will see its Tory sleaze narrative as a game-changer and strain will ratchet up on the PM.
TODAY IN WESTMINSTER
PARLIAMENT: In recess.
EASYJAB: Most of immediately’s papers lead with the information from the European Commission yesterday that the EU will welcome totally vaccinated Brits to vacation locations throughout the Continent from early June. The Commission mentioned that it needs to ease restrictions on non-essential journey to the EU, with the caveat of together with a mechanism permitting nations to behave to counter the unfold of any new coronavirus variants, my POLITICO colleagues in Brussels report. (Solidarity with Westminster under-40s who nonetheless haven’t even had their first jab — you’ll have to attend for information on the EU’s proposed “green certificate” system permitting entry to these with destructive assessments.)
Wait 2 weeks longer … Strong line from the Telegraph’s Charles Hymas, who hears the U.Okay. authorities — whereas sticking to a brief listing of “green list” nations like Portugal and Malta from May 17 — might add France, Spain and Greece to the quarantine-free journey listing from the start of June. The Times splash hails this as a “big bang” reopening. We’re anticipating to listen to extra on the federal government’s plans for summer time holidays later this week.
Soon: Hugo Gye in the i is equally optimistic, reporting that the nation is on track to enter the following section of the roadmap out of lockdown in two weeks. The Mail entrance web page goes the opposite manner and asks why the federal government is taking so lengthy to raise restrictions, noting there was only one COVID dying in the most recent day by day figures.
YESTERDAY’S COVID STATS: 1,649 new instances, ⬇️ 22 on Sunday. In the previous seven days the U.Okay. has recorded a complete 14,904 new instances, ⬇️ 1,260 on the earlier week … 1 new reported dying inside 28 days of a optimistic take a look at, ⬇️ 13 on Sunday. In the previous seven days the U.Okay. has recorded a complete 105 deaths inside 28 days of a optimistic take a look at, ⬇️ 57 on the earlier week.
VAX STATS: A complete 34,588,600 folks have acquired the primary dose, ⬆️ 83,220. A complete 15,500,949 folks have acquired the second dose, ⬆️ 171,332.
MEETING 1: Boris Johnson immediately holds a digital assembly with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he proclaims £1 billion of recent U.Okay.-India commerce. According to No. 10: “The package contains over £533m of new Indian investment into the U.K., which is expected to create more than 6,000 jobs in vital and growing sectors such as health and technology.” Expect information on how Britain helps additional with India’s battle towards coronavirus. More from my POLITICO colleague Graham Lanktree.
MEETING 2: Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab continues to host G7 overseas ministers in London, immediately assembly to debate democratic threats. On the agenda: Russia, China, Iran, the disaster in Myanmar, violence in Ethiopia and the warfare in Syria.
DOUBLE-JOBBING LATEST: The PM’s former senior aide Eddie Lister was concerned in authorities discussions on reforming planning legal guidelines whereas he was employed by two main property corporations, the Mirror’s Pippa Crerar studies. Lister tells Crerar: “I used to be in varied conferences the place the topic got here up. I used to be by no means a part of the detailed work on this. It was primarily completed by the No. 10 coverage crew and MHCLG. My arms are nicely away from this one.”
Curse of Dave: David Cameron has ditched plans to launch a $1 billion U.Okay.-China funding fund following the breakdown in relations between the nations, the FT’s Jim Pickard studies. Surely it might have all been sorted out with Xi on a tenting journey someplace?
WONK WATCH: The Social Market Foundation suppose tank has a report out immediately discovering that low-income staff given the possibility to personal shares in the businesses they work for are £10,000 higher off than different staff on the same wage. The Guardian has a write-up right here. SMF boss James Kirkup says it’s “a policy to boost household finances, raise productivity and restore faith in capitalism.”
ONE TO WATCH: Decent Chatham House occasion later immediately — they’ve received former Tory chief William Hague and former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in dialog on the way forward for liberal democracies at 4 p.m. Register right here to look at.
ALWAYS A VOTE-WINNER: London Mayor Sadiq Khan says he’ll attempt to carry the Olympics again to the capital in the following 20 years if he wins on Thursday. Khan says immediately: “Exploring a bid for the 2036 or 2040 Olympic and Paralympic Games is the ultimate demonstration of my plan to build a brighter future for London after the pandemic.” The Guardian’s Matthew Weaver has the story.
WHO’D BE PM? Former Tory management contender Jeremy Hunt tells Francis Elliott in the i that he wouldn’t have gained as massive a majority as Johnson and that dealing with COVID with a hung parliament would have been a “nightmare.” Hunt additionally appeared to substantiate he would ask Dominic Cummings if he heard the alleged “bodies piled high” remark when he seems at his choose committee later this month.
**Mathias Cormann, incoming secretary common of the OECD, will converse at POLITICO’s Competitive Europe Summit on June 29-30 for an unique interview. Shape the way forward for Europe’s competitiveness with high-level audio system and our knowledgeable reporters throughout two days of compelling debates. Register immediately.**
STATE OF THE UNION
TODAY IN WALES: Keir Starmer is heading off to key battlegrounds in Thursday’s Senedd election to attempt to assist First Minister Mark Drakeford recover from the road. The three Senedd seats Starmer will go to have been Labour since devolution started, however all turned blue at Westminster in 2019 — with the Welsh Tories eyeing up the same outcome in just a few days. Starmer will hail Drakeford’s dealing with of the pandemic, a key energy of the Welsh chief amongst voters. More right here from BBC Wales.
Pandemic politics: The Senedd has struggled for legitimacy, however the pandemic has demonstrated the depth of powers granted by devolution. On Thursday, voters will ship their verdict. My colleague Esther Webber tees it up.
ONE LAST DEBATE: For what’s one way or the other solely the fourth time in this marketing campaign — it feels just like the a centesimal — Scotland’s fundamental celebration leaders will face off tonight on the talk stage, stay on BBC Scotland from 7.50 p.m. The Beeb’s Philip Sim has evaluation of what to anticipate from the battle-hardened debaters.
Not attending: Alba chief Alex Salmond, whom the BBC declined to ask. In response he projected his celebration’s brand onto the broadcaster’s Glasgow headquarters, presumably to supply some useful free promoting for his or her Gaelic-language channel.
**Where subsequent for the EU’s industrial technique? Brussels is having a tough time asserting its imaginative and prescient for constructing its key industries, regardless of the most recent up to date EU industrial technique touchdown May 5. Join Competition and Industrial coverage POLITICO Pro Briefing name on May 10 to know extra. Not a Pro but, however attention-grabbing in attending? Email [email protected]**
BLINKEN AND HE’S THERE: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken hailed the U.Okay. as his nation’s closest ally whereas gently urging a extra measured method towards Northern Ireland, forward of Joe Biden’s go to to Europe subsequent month. He made the feedback at a joint press convention with Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab yesterday, as G7 overseas ministers collect for conferences in London. More from POLITICO colleague Esther Webber.
HASTA LA VISTA: Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his spouse Melinda are getting divorced, they introduced final night time. The mega-rich pair’s separation leaves an unbelievable fortune in their philanthropic basis hanging in the steadiness. The New York Times’ David Gelles and Andrew Ross Sorkin have the complete story.
STEELE II: Former MI6 spy Christopher Steele produced a second explosive file for the FBI on Donald Trump, the Telegraph’s Robert Mendick and Lucy Fisher report. Steele’s first file detailed allegations of conspiracy and cooperation between Trump’s marketing campaign and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
ICYMI: Make certain you learn this absolute stonker of a narrative from POLITICO’s Garrett M. Graff on the planning, execution and speedy aftermath of the U.S. operation that killed Osama bin Laden, as informed by everybody in the room.
**A message from Liberty Global: Investment in the gigabit revolution goes to be essential for the UK’s financial future. At Liberty Global, we’re investing over £1 billion a yr in the UK’s digital infrastructure — and can be delivering gigabit broadband to our complete community, over 15 million premises, by the tip of this yr. This will assist energy important connections for households and companies throughout the UK, whereas serving to the Government meet practically two-thirds of their gigabit goal 4 years forward of schedule.**
International Trade Secretary Liz Truss broadcast spherical: Sky News (7.05 a.m.) … Times Radio (7.20 a.m.) … BBC Breakfast (7.30 a.m.) … LBC (7.50 a.m.) … ITV GMB (8.10 a.m.) … Today program (8.30 a.m.) … talkRADIO (8.50 a.m.).
Labour chief Keir Starmer broadcast spherical: LBC (7.05 a.m.) … ITV GMB (7.15 a.m.) … Sky News (7.35 a.m.) … BBC 5 stay breakfast (7.50 a.m.) … Today program (8.10 a.m.) … BBC Breakfast (8.30 a.m.).
Also on the Today program: Professor Neil Ferguson of Imperial College London (7.30 a.m.).
Also on Sky News breakfast: Former U.Okay. Ambassador to the U.N. Jeremy Greenstock (8.05 a.m.).
Also on Times Radio breakfast: CBI President Karan Bilimoria (7 a.m.) … Former Tory chief William Hague and former Scottish Labour chief Kezia Dugdale (9 a.m.).
Also on Julia Hartley-Brewer breakfast present (talkRADIO): Former WHO official Karol Sikora (7.05 a.m.) … Becca Ratcliffe, sister of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe (7.33 a.m.) … Tory MP Desmond Swayne (8.05 a.m.) … Commons work and pensions committee Chairman Stephen Timms (9.20 a.m.).
Politics Live (BBC Two 12.15 p.m.): Commons protection committee Chairman Tobias Ellwood … Welsh Health Minister Vaughan Gething … SNP MP Drew Hendry … Former Tory SpAd Poppy Trowbridge.
Iain Dale in the Evening (LBC): Scottish Greens co-leader Lorna Slater (7.45 p.m.).
Reviewing the papers tonight: Times Radio (10.30 p.m.): Former Justice Secretary David Gauke and former Green Party MEP Molly Scott Cato.
TODAY’S FRONT PAGES
(Click on the publication’s title to see its entrance web page.)
Daily Express: 50M vaccines milestone … and one life misplaced.
Daily Mail: Why wait seven extra weeks?
Daily Mirror: Wish EU had been right here — Euro chiefs invite vacationers however Johnson warns about journeys overseas too quickly.
Daily Star: Jeremy Kyle bombshell.
Financial Times: Germany to raise restrictions for folks vaccinated towards COVID.
i: Green gentle for England to unlock on 17 May.
Metro: Wish EU’d come right here.
POLITICO UK: Coronavirus ups the stakes in Wales’ election.
The Daily Telegraph: Europe to welcome vacationers for summer time.
The Guardian: EU to confide in vaccinated Britons as U.Okay. urges warning.
The Independent: EU paves manner for summer time holidays on the continent.
The Times: Reopening of vacation hotspots weeks away.
WESTMINSTER WEATHER: 💨🌥💨 Windy. Some occasional solar too — highs of 13C.
JAB WATCH: Treasury Minister John Glen and Sky’s Niall Paterson received their first jab yesterday. Let us know when you’ve received or are getting yours.
SPOTTED: Commons chief Jacob Rees-Mogg had his son Sixtus delivering leaflets in Midsomer Norton.
BIRTHDAYS: Former Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman … Sky News presenter Anna Botting … ITV Good Morning Britain presenter Kate Garraway … Former South East Cornwall MP Colin Breed.
PLAYBOOK COULDN’T HAPPEN WITHOUT: My editor Zoya Sheftalovich, reporter Andrew McDonald and producer Miriam Webber.
primarily based on website supplies www.politico.eu