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The right-wing press are in Theresa May loyalty mode - for now

Away from the frontpages there are signs that May's new agenda might not have as easy a time after the election.

Talk about walking on water. Today's papers are in and they will have the Conservatives grinning from ear-to-ear.

"Blue Labour" roars The Sun. Whether that's a commentary on Theresa May's roaming into Labour territory or how the Opposition will be feeling, I'm not sure. (Works both ways, I guess.) And that paper is first out of the traps with their election endorsement, too. (Spoiler alert: the Conservatives.)

"Mainstream May reaches out to Labour heartlands" is the Times' splash, while "May breaks with Thatcherite faith in centrist pitch to Labour voters" is the FT's. "May's manifesto for the mainstream" is the Telegraph's take, while the Mail opts for "At last, a PM not afraid to be honest with you". The i goes for the Ronseal approach: "May's vision for Britain" is their splash.

But away from the frontpages there are signs that May's new agenda might not have as easy a time after the election. In the Telegraph, Judith Woods accuses May of forcing her daughters to become her carers to keep the family home. (I suppose "accuses" isn't quite right as that is 100 per cent what May's care plans do.)

Over at the Spectator, Will Heaven has coined a phrase that might stick: the "dementia tax".

That Jeremy Corbyn is seen as a surefire loser means that the plans are getting an easier time now than they might otherwise, and that it's an election season means the right-wing press is also firmly in loyalty mode. But the difficulty with introducing an inheritance tax by lottery is that the right dislikes inheritance tax and the left dislikes lotteries, and that isn't going to go away on 8 June.

The Conservatives think that Corbyn is an asset because he locks in a big majority on 8 June. But there's a problem there, too: it means that when those grumbles about the social care changes move from the middle of the frontpage things could get messy. Fairly or unfairly, people will say that far from getting a mandate to take away "the family home", May won because of Jeremy Corbyn. It feels a lot like George Osborne's £12bn of welfare cuts - he could win an election that, but he couldn't govern on it.

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics.

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After a year of chaos, MPs from all parties are trying to stop an extreme Brexit

The Greens are calling for a cross-party commission on Brexit.

One year ago today, I stood on Westminster Bridge as the sun rose over a changed country. By a narrow margin, on an unexpectedly high turnout, a majority of people in Britain had chosen to leave the EU. It wasn’t easy for those of us on the losing side – especially after such scaremongering from the leaders of the Leave campaign – but 23 June 2016 showed the power of a voting opportunity where every vote counted.

A year on from the vote, and the process is in chaos. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised. The Leave campaign deliberately never spelled out any detailed plan for Brexit, and senior figures fought internal battles over which model they preferred. One minute Britain would be like Norway, then we’d be like Canada – and then we’d be unique. After the vote Theresa May promised us a "Red, White and Blue Brexit" – and then her ministers kept threatening the EU with walking away with no deal at all which, in fairness, would be unique(ly) reckless. 

We now have our future being negotiated by a government who have just had their majority wiped out. More than half of voters opted for progressive parties at the last election – yet the people representing us in Brussels are the right-wing hardliners David Davis, Liam Fox and Boris Johnson.

Despite widespread opposition, the government has steadfastly refused to unilaterally guarantee EU citizens their rights. This week it has shown its disregard for the environment as it published a Queen’s Speech with no specific plans for environmental protection in the Brexit process either. 

Amid such chaos there is, however, a glimmer of hope. MPs from all parties are working together to stop an extreme Brexit. Labour’s position seems to be softening, and it looks likely that the Scottish Parliament will have a say on the final deal too. The Democratic Unionist Party is regressive in many ways, but there’s a good chance that the government relying on it will soften Brexit for Northern Ireland, at least because of the DUP's insistence on keeping the border with Ireland open. My amendments to the Queen’s speech to give full rights to EU nationals and create an Environmental Protection Act have cross-party support.

With such political instability here at home – and a growing sense among the public that people deserve a final say on any deal - it seems that everything is up for grabs. The government has no mandate for pushing ahead with an extreme Brexit. As the democratic reformers Unlock Democracy said in a recent report “The failure of any party to gain a majority in the recent election has made the need for an inclusive, consensus based working even more imperative.” The referendum should have been the start of a democratic process, not the end of one.

That’s why Greens are calling for a cross-party commission on Brexit, in order to ensure that voices from across the political spectrum are heard in the process. And it’s why we continue to push for a ratification referendum on the final deal negotiated by the government - we want the whole country to have the last word on this, not just the 650 MPs elected to the Parliament via an extremely unrepresentative electoral system.

No one predicted what would happen over the last year. From the referendum, to Theresa May’s disastrous leadership and a progressive majority at a general election. And no one knows exactly what will happen next. But what’s clear is that people across this country should be at the centre of the coming debate over our future – it can’t be stitched up behind closed doors by ministers without a mandate.

Caroline Lucas is the MP for Brighton Pavilion.

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