Good morning. It would be nice to think that the government is not entirely focused on re-election, and that not all decisions are being with partisan considerations to the fore, but it can be hard to sustain that view after a glance at the papers. Today the government has put two issues on the table – both of which might appeal to a Tory election strategist hoping to find something (anything?) that might create a dividing line with Labour.

First, sex education. Gillian Keegan, the education secretary, is expected to publish plans tomorrow, but right-leaning papers have been briefed that the rules for schools in England will be stricter and that they will be told not to teach pupils about gender identity issues.

Our story, by Richard Adams and Pippa Crerar, is here.

The advantage of briefing out a story like this in advance, from the government’s point of view, is that reports get written up on the basis of what sources briefing, not on the basis of what a document actually says. But the disadvantage is that this makes it easy for Labour to say it won’t comment until it has seen the detail, but which time the media caravan will have moved on.

And, second, there is an announcement about ramping up stop and search to counter knife crime.

Chris Philp, the policing minister, has been giving interviews about this topic this morning and he told LBC:

I’d like to see officers of course use the power lawfully and also respectfully, but it does need to be, I think, used more to protect the public and particularly the kind of young men who often end up being victims of knife crime.

When it was put to him that in the past stop and search has been used disproportionately against young black men, he replied:

The sad truth is that young black men are disproportionately victims of knife crime and we’re doing this as much to protect them as anything else.

He also said that stop and search success rates typically have a success rate of 25 to 30%.

That percentage is pretty much the same across something to within 1% across all ethnicities so that gives me quite a high degree of confidence that police are not unreasonably picking on particular parts of the community.

Philp was also on the Today programme where Emma Barnett, who has just joined the programme as a presenter, pointed out that when Theresa May was home secretary she restricted the use of stop and search. She asked why the government was performing a U-turn. In response, Philp said stop and search rates in London have fallen by 44% in the past two years. When Barnett put it to him that May’s policy had failed, Philp dodged the question.

Talking of Theresa May, there was some speculation last night that Labour might announce another defector in time for PMQs today, and May told Bethany Dawson from Politico that it would not be here.

Asked if she would stand again as a Conservative, Theresa May tonight said “I am a Conservative, I would stand again as a Conservative,” largely quashing the excitement of people thinking of the funniest option for defection.

— Bethany Dawson (@bethanymrd) May 14, 2024

Asked if she would stand again as a Conservative, Theresa May tonight said “I am a Conservative, I would stand again as a Conservative,” largely quashing the excitement of people thinking of the funniest option for defection.

Labour sources are saying that hacks on defector watch should stand down today. But the very fact that it did not seem totally absurd for a reporter to ask a former PM if they would defect to another party does say something about the state of Rishi Sunak’s Conservative party.

Here is the agenda for the day.

9.30am: Brian Bell, chair of the Migration Advisory Committee, and other migration experts give evidence to the Commons home affairs committee.

10am: Arlene Foster, the former Northern Ireland first minister, gives evidence to the UK Covid inquiry in Belfast.

12pm: Rishi Sunak faces Keir Starmer at PMQs.

After 12.45pm: MPs begin the first day of the debate on the remaining stages of the criminal justice bill.

3pm: Michael Tomlinson, the minister for illegal migration, gives evidence to the joint committee on human rights.

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