Hello and welcome to The Midge, the e-bulletin that takes a bite out of politics in Scotland and elsewhere. 

Front pages

HeraldScotland:

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Exclusive: In The Herald, political editor Tom Gordon speaks to Stewart Spence, owner of the five-star Marcliffe Hotel in Aberdeen, about his refusal to pay the “crazy” 25% hike in his business rates.

The National says Scotland’s five MEPs are split over the EU trade deal with Canada. 

The Mail says rises in business rates will drive up the cost of childcare from the current average of £200 a week. 

The Telegraph and the Times splash on US defence secretary James Mattis telling Nato members to increase their contributions or see America “moderate its commitment”. See Afore Ye Go, below. 

“Trump rips up decades of US policy on Israel” is the headline in the Guardian, reporting the president’s backing away from the two-state solution.

HeraldScotland:

Exclusive: In the Evening Times, Catriona Stewart reports on delays to a renovation project in Glasgow

Camley’s cartoon

HeraldScotland:

Camley makes no bones about the radiologist shortage. Read health correspondent Helen McArdle's story here. 

FFS: Five in five seconds

What’s the story? The website of Ukip leader Paul Nuttall has gone missing. Since early yesterday evening, visitors have been greeted with the following message:

HeraldScotland:

So? Since Mr Nuttall is standing in the Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election next Thursday, and the party have been putting everything into winning the pro-Leave seat from Labour, it is odd – much like his campaign in general. 

How? First, there was doubt over whether the Merseyside-born MEP had a home in the constituency. Then he was forced to apologise for posts which wrongly claimed he lost "close personal friends" in the Hillsborough disaster. Joe Anderson, the mayor of Liverpool, wants the Ukip leader to resign, while Lib Dem leader Tim Farron has called Mr Nuttall a “coward”, saying: “You cannot believe a word that comes out of his mouth.” The Ukip leader is not the only party member to have offended the Hillsborough families. 

Explain? Party donor Arron Banks posted this about the Hillsborough disaster in which 96 people died: 

HeraldScotland:

Not looking good for Ukip then? They were second in the 2015 General Election, with 7,041 votes to Labour’s 12,220, but it is difficult to see Mr Nuttall’s candidacy recovering from this. There are also questions being raised about his leadership of the party, which he only took up last November after the previously elected leader, Diane James, quit without ever taking up the job. 

Afore Ye Go

For your viewing pleasure tonight.

HeraldScotland:

Theresa May drops in on lessons at  a school in Bootle, Merseyside, on her way to the Copeland by-election. Is this an arts and crafts phobia we see before us? Jack Hill - WPA Pool /Getty Images

The Spectator editor and Telegraph columnist Fraser Nelson responding to a report saying the cleverest Scottish pupils were a year behind their English counterparts in science.

The Daily Show has been busy.

HeraldScotland:

“Americans cannot care more for your children's future security than you do.”

New US defence secretary General James Mattis to Nato allies at a meeting in Brussels where he urged member states to commit at least 2% of GDP to defence or America would “moderate its commitment”. AP Photo/Virginia Mayo

HeraldScotland:

"When Amazon decide they want to do something in any space, it's always a threat. They're very ambitious and innovative.”

A retail analyst on a report that Amazon is about to launch its own UK fashion label. Drapers. Chris Radburn/PA Wire

HeraldScotland:

"We never give back our territory.”

A Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman responds to White House spokesman Sean Spicer saying Donald Trump expects President Putin, above, to return Crimea to Ukraine.  

HeraldScotland:

“During their Grammy performance, rap group A Tribe Called Quest referred to President Trump as President Agent Orange. It’s the closest Trump has come to being involved in Vietnam.”

Late Night with Seth Myers. Above, the president yesterday with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Win McNamee/Getty Images

HeraldScotland:

Brace yourselves for a Love Actually sequel for the BBC’s Comic Relief. The 10-minute film catches up with the characters, including Hugh Grant’s British prime minister, 14 years on. Red Nose Day 2017 takes place on May 25. Matthew Lewis/Getty Images for Laureus

Thanks for reading. See you tomorrow. Twitter: @alisonmrowat