Morning Call: pick of the papers

The ten must-read comment pieces from this morning's papers.

1. Leveson inquiry: in search of a smoking gun (Guardian)

Lord Justice Leveson could soon discover why David Cameron failed to give Andy Coulson full security vetting, says Ian Katz.

2. Too clever by half just isn’t clever enough (Times) (£)

Rachel Sylvester writes that the coalition is in danger of failing the "hang on a minute" test. Voters want common sense, not smart wheezes.

3. Ed’s got talent, but he has to win over the toughest crowd of all (Daily Telegraph)

The electorate needs more than a Labour love-in if it is to trust the party with power, says Mary Riddell.

4. Greece’s exit may become the euro’s envy (Financial Times)

History shows that there is life after financial crises, writes Arvind Subramanian.

5. Never take your foot off the reform pedal (Times) (£)

Filling the MoD black hole meant fighting inertia and a culture of resistance, says Liam Fox. It worked.

6. Moral decay? Family life's the best it's been for 1,000 years (Guardian)

George Monbiot says that Conservatives' concerns about marriage seem to be based on a past that is fabricated from their own anxieties and obsessions.

7. One bullseye cannot rescue Obama’s global record (Financial Times)

The US president’s real problem is that he has over-promised and under-delivered, says Gideon Rachman.

8. It’s bullying, Mitt. How can you not recall it? (Times) (£)

You’re a perpetrator, a victim or a bystander. Ben Macintyre says that the playground incident tells us much about the presidential hopeful.

9. Clegg and Cameron's cruellest day (Guardian)

From business to the disabled, Polly Toynbee says that Monday was special even for a cabinet whose dogmatic bungling is unrivalled in modern Britain.

10. What to expect from François Hollande (Financial Times)

The new French president has a clear three-point economic strategy, writes Philippe Aghion.



Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images
Show Hide image

Commons Confidential: Fearing the Wigan warrior

An electoral clash, select committee elections as speed dating, and Ed Miliband’s political convalescence.

Members of Labour’s disconsolate majority, sitting in tight knots in the tearoom as the MP with the best maths skills calculates who will survive and who will die, based on the latest bad poll, observe that Jeremy Corbyn has never been so loyal to the party leadership. The past 13 months, one told me, have been the Islington rebel’s longest spell without voting against Labour. The MP was contradicted by a colleague who argued that, in voting against Trident renewal, Corbyn had defied party policy. There is Labour chatter that an early general election would be a mercy killing if it put the party out of its misery and removed Corbyn next year. In 2020, it is judged, defeat will be inevitable.

The next London mayoral contest is scheduled for the same date as a 2020 election: 7 May. Sadiq Khan’s people whisper that when they mentioned the clash to ministers, they were assured it won’t happen. They are uncertain whether this indicates that the mayoral contest will be moved, or that there will be an early general election. Intriguing.

An unguarded retort from the peer Jim O’Neill seems to confirm that a dispute over the so-called Northern Powerhouse triggered his walkout from the Treasury last month. O’Neill, a fanboy of George Osborne and a former Goldman Sachs chief economist, gave no reason when he quit Theresa May’s government and resigned the Tory whip in the Lords. He joined the dots publicly when the Resolution Foundation’s director, Torsten Bell, queried the northern project. “Are you related to the PM?” shot back the Mancunian O’Neill. It’s the way he tells ’em.

Talk has quietened in Westminster Labour ranks of a formal challenge to Corbyn since this year’s attempt backfired, but the Tories fear Lisa Nandy, should the leader fall under a solar-powered ecotruck selling recycled organic knitwear.

The Wigan warrior is enjoying favourable reviews for her forensic examination of the troubled inquiry into historic child sex abuse. After Nandy put May on the spot, the Tory three-piece suit Alec Shelbrooke was overheard muttering: “I hope she never runs for leader.” Anna Soubry and Nicky Morgan, the Thelma and Louise of Tory opposition to Mayhem, were observed nodding in agreement.

Select committee elections are like speed dating. “Who are you?” inquired Labour’s Kevan Jones (Granite Central)of a stranger seeking his vote. She explained that she was Victoria Borwick, the Tory MP for Kensington, but that didn’t help. “This is the first time you’ve spoken to me,” Jones continued, “so the answer’s no.” The aloof Borwick lost, by the way.

Ed Miliband is joining Labour’s relaunched Tribune Group of MPs to continue his political convalescence. Next stop: the shadow cabinet?

Kevin Maguire is Associate Editor (Politics) on the Daily Mirror and author of our Commons Confidential column on the high politics and low life in Westminster. An award-winning journalist, he is in frequent demand on television and radio and co-authored a book on great parliamentary scandals. He was formerly Chief Reporter on the Guardian and Labour Correspondent on the Daily Telegraph.

This article first appeared in the 27 October 2016 issue of the New Statesman, American Rage