Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. Europe must take a leap to get out of the quagmire (Guardian)

There is no Merkellande or Frangela, but François Hollande has shown good political acumen on the eurozone crisis, says Christine Ockrent.

2. A new Europe of competing currencies (Financial Times)

Unused needs and unused hands cannot exist side by side indefinitely, says Samuel Brittan.

3. No social engineering can ever fix our genes (Times) (£)

To improve social mobility we must nurture the poorest in society. But, Philip Collins argues, nature will always hold some people back.

4. If socialists really did run the show, working people would benefit (Independent)

Owen Jones examines the reasons that the word "socialist" has begun to be seen as a swearword.

5. A free Egypt’s first task is to rein in the army (Times) (£)

Heba Fatma Mourayef writes that elections alone don’t mean democracy. Rights for women and religious groups matter too.

6. Sadly Barack Obama, like Mitt Romney, is an apologist for the 1 per cent (Guardian)

It may be to a lesser extend than the Republican candidate, but the US president is a frontman for financial interests, says Mehdi Hasan.

7. Summits that cap the west’s decline (Financial Times)

The rebalancing of power was never going to be easy but the speed of the turnround has been breathtaking, says Philip Stephens.

8. If President Rousseff passes the forest code, it won't be only Brazil that suffers (Guardian)

Brazil has a proud record of protecting the environment, but a bill allowing deforestation would undermine the Rio+20 summit, says Fernando Meirelles.

9. Old Europe should invest in young Africa (Times) (£)

Building roads, power plants and water systems in developing countries can safeguard western jobs and pensions, says Tidjane Thiam.

10. We must defy Strasbourg on prisoner votes (Daily Telegraph)

The judges in Europe have exceeded their authority by trying to overrule British law, write David Davis and Jack Straw.

Grant Shapps on the campaign trail. Photo: Getty
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Grant Shapps resigns over Tory youth wing bullying scandal

The minister, formerly party chairman, has resigned over allegations of bullying and blackmail made against a Tory activist. 

Grant Shapps, who was a key figure in the Tory general election campaign, has resigned following allegations about a bullying scandal among Conservative activists.

Shapps was formerly party chairman, but was demoted to international development minister after May. His formal statement is expected shortly.

The resignation follows lurid claims about bullying and blackmail among Tory activists. One, Mark Clarke, has been accused of putting pressure on a fellow activist who complained about his behaviour to withdraw the allegation. The complainant, Elliot Johnson, later killed himself.

The junior Treasury minister Robert Halfon also revealed that he had an affair with a young activist after being warned that Clarke planned to blackmail him over the relationship. Former Tory chair Sayeedi Warsi says that she was targeted by Clarke on Twitter, where he tried to portray her as an anti-semite. 

Shapps appointed Mark Clarke to run RoadTrip 2015, where young Tory activists toured key marginals on a bus before the general election. 

Today, the Guardian published an emotional interview with the parents of 21-year-old Elliot Johnson, the activist who killed himself, in which they called for Shapps to consider his position. Ray Johnson also spoke to BBC's Newsnight:


The Johnson family claimed that Shapps and co-chair Andrew Feldman had failed to act on complaints made against Clarke. Feldman says he did not hear of the bullying claims until August. 

Asked about the case at a conference in Malta, David Cameron pointedly refused to offer Shapps his full backing, saying a statement would be released. “I think it is important that on the tragic case that took place that the coroner’s inquiry is allowed to proceed properly," he added. “I feel deeply for his parents, It is an appalling loss to suffer and that is why it is so important there is a proper coroner’s inquiry. In terms of what the Conservative party should do, there should be and there is a proper inquiry that asks all the questions as people come forward. That will take place. It is a tragic loss of a talented young life and it is not something any parent should go through and I feel for them deeply.” 

Mark Clarke denies any wrongdoing.

Helen Lewis is deputy editor of the New Statesman. She has presented BBC Radio 4’s Week in Westminster and is a regular panellist on BBC1’s Sunday Politics.