Good morning and welcome to the politics live blog. The main story this morning is Theresa May’s attempt to take back control of the news agenda by talking about something that’s not Brexit.
In a speech to be delivered in Derby this afternoon, the prime minister will set out how she believes the government can reverse a trend that “leaves students from the lowest-income households bearing the highest levels of debt” and force cuts to the fees charged for some courses.
May will announce a review of education funding for over-18s in England that the new education secretary, Damian Hinds, has already hinted is likely to recommend that some institutions cut fees for social science and humanities courses; particularly where recent graduates have earned lower salaries.
But the proposals have received short shrift from May’s party colleagues and the higher education sector.
Most of this morning’s papers feature the story prominently.
Hammond to ditch red box – and announcements
The chancellor, Philip Hammond, will ditch the budget red box for a stripped-down spring statement with no major tax or spending announcements, the Treasury says. The story makes the front page of this morning’s Financial Times:
Corbyn highlights problem of racist abuse
The Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has warned that Muslim women are facing routine racist abuse on the streets of the UK, saying Islamophobia is a “real problem in our society, as is other forms of racism like antisemitism and racism against people of Afro-Caribbean heritage”.
This weekend, the party expelled an activist who had previously been suspended over allegations of anti-semitic abuse as it seeks to get a grip on the problem within its own ranks.
MP makes welcome return
The former cabinet minister, James Brokenshire, returns to parliament for the first time since he underwent lung surgery.
Boundary review in doubt
The government is facing calls for an early Commons vote on plans to cut the number of MPs from 650 to 600. One is due in the autumn but a committee of MPs is warning it is unlikely to pass. If that happens, they say, it would be too late to carry out a fresh boundary review in time for the 2022 general election.