Web Only: the best of the blogs

The five must-read blogs from today, on Zac Goldsmith, Liam Fox and our broken electoral system.

1. TV debates: How could they change the election?

Over at the BBC, James Landale blogs on the impact that the televised debates could have -- providing delightful uncertainty in a three-week grid of controlled political performance.

2. Zac Goldsmith threatens to quit

Paul Waugh discusses the millionaire and Tory PPC Zac Goldsmith, who is living up to his maverick reputation by threatening to trigger a by-election before he has even been voted in.

3. Liam Fox's Atlantic Bridge referred to US tax authorities by Charity Commission

An Atlanticist group set up by Liam Fox and linked to a string of other Conservative frontbenchers is under investigation for tax avoidance, reveals Political Scrapbook.

4. A graphical demonstration of just how broken our electoral system is

Mark Pack of Liberal Democrat Voice publishes a map showing that 40 per cent of seats in Westminster have been held by the same party since 1950.

5. Cameron's MEPs vote with Ukip and BNP against gender equality

Ninety per cent of Tory MEPs have joined Ukip and the BNP in voting against European Parliament resolution on gender equality, reports Left Foot Forward's Shamik Das.

Join us for the first TV leaders' debate tonight.

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PMQs review: Theresa May shows again that Brexit means hard Brexit

The Prime Minister's promise of "an end to free movement" is incompatible with single market membership. 

Theresa May, it is commonly said, has told us nothing about Brexit. At today's PMQs, Jeremy Corbyn ran with this line, demanding that May offer "some clarity". In response, as she has before, May stated what has become her defining aim: "an end to free movement". This vow makes a "hard Brexit" (or "chaotic Brexit" as Corbyn called it) all but inevitable. The EU regards the "four freedoms" (goods, capital, services and people) as indivisible and will not grant the UK an exemption. The risk of empowering eurosceptics elsewhere is too great. Only at the cost of leaving the single market will the UK regain control of immigration.

May sought to open up a dividing line by declaring that "the Labour Party wants to continue with free movement" (it has refused to rule out its continuation). "I want to deliver on the will of the British people, he is trying to frustrate the British people," she said. The problem is determining what the people's will is. Though polls show voters want control of free movement, they also show they want to maintain single market membership. It is not only Boris Johnson who is pro-having cake and pro-eating it. 

Corbyn later revealed that he had been "consulting the great philosophers" as to the meaning of Brexit (a possible explanation for the non-mention of Heathrow, Zac Goldsmith's resignation and May's Goldman Sachs speech). "All I can come up with is Baldrick, who says our cunning plan is to have no plan," he quipped. Without missing a beat, May replied: "I'm interested that [he] chose Baldrick, of course the actor playing Baldrick was a member of the Labour Party, as I recall." (Tony Robinson, a Corbyn critic ("crap leader"), later tweeted that he still is one). "We're going to deliver the best possible deal in goods and services and we're going to deliver an end to free movement," May continued. The problem for her is that the latter aim means that the "best possible deal" may be a long way from the best. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.