The Papers: May ‘defiant’ in face of Tory ‘meltdown’

Image caption Several of the front pages focus on Brexit, after the government confirmed that the UK would have to hold European elections this month – despite hopes a deal would be agreed in time to avoid taking part. “What a waste of time and £150m!” declares the Daily Express. The paper says “fury erupted” on Tuesday evening, as Cabinet Office minister David Lidington admitted that the government had run out of time to break the Brexit deadlock before the deadline. It adds that the cost to the taxpayer of holding the elections will be more than £150m.
Image caption Meanwhile, the i leads on warnings from grassroots Tories that the Conservative party is “in meltdown”, as pressure grows on Theresa May to resign. The National Conservative Convention – which represents party activists – has announced it will hold an “unprecedented” no-confidence vote in the prime minister in June, the paper reports.
Image caption The Times, however, says Mrs May is “poised to remain in office” until the autumn, after setting a new summer deadline to complete Brexit talks. But even those who don’t want her to leave immediately admit that pressure is growing, the paper claims. It adds that there also are signs previously loyal MPs may switch their position.
Image caption Hopes of an early cross-party Brexit deal with Labour also faded after Downing Street set its new target exit date, according to the Financial Times. However, the paper says that given the “successive missed deadlines” since the UK was supposed to leave the EU on 29 March, the possibility that Brexit will remain unresolved into the autumn remains.
Image caption The Metro leads on reports that police have launched an investigation into a UKIP election candidate after he made comments about raping a Labour MP. Carl Benjamin, who is standing in the European elections, tweeted back in 2016 that he “wouldn’t even rape” Jess Phillips. He later released a YouTube video making light of his previous message, saying, “I suppose with enough pressure I might cave, but let’s be honest, nobody’s got that much beer”.
Image caption The Guardian says the news comes amid fears that “toxic” rows over Brexit during European parliamentary election campaigning will “further coarsen public debate”. The paper adds that Ms Phillips said she broke down in tears in the centre of Birmingham after watching Mr Benjamin’s video.
Image caption A decade after the original MPs’ expenses scandal, the Daily Telegraph says that Parliament’s spending watchdog has tried to prevent the public being told that 377 MPs have had their official credit cards suspended for breaking the rules on expenses. The paper says that the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority tried to stop the disclosure on the grounds that it would have a “chilling effect” on its relationship with MPs and reduce public confidence in the regulatory system. However, it reports that a former High Court judge reversed the decision, saying the risk of “embarrassing” MPs was no reason to keep the information secret.
Image caption “3 minutes of murder” is the headline for the Daily Mirror – which leads on the inquests into the deaths of the eight victims of the 2017 London Bridge attacks. Among those killed were a young woman who had kissed her fiance just seconds earlier and a nurse who was stabbed as she tried to save another person’s life, the paper reports.
Image caption Following Monday’s royal birth, The Daily Mail speculates over whether The Duke and Duchess of Sussex could apply for their newborn son to have both British and US passports. Royal insiders have said Prince Harry and Meghan want their child to grow up a “global citizen”, the paper reports. It adds that the baby would be entitled to a US passport because his mother was born in Los Angeles and is still an American citizen.
Image caption On its front page, the Sun quotes the Duke of Cambridge – who has welcomed his brother to the “no sleep club” of parenting. For its lead story, it reports on a study which suggests young Brits are having less sex than a decade ago. Researchers said digital distractions like Netflix, smartphones and Facebook could be preventing intimacy, according to the paper.
Image caption The Daily Star says police investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann are still hunting 13 suspects. All were reported as acting suspiciously around the Portuguese resort where she vanished, the paper claims.

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