Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. Is Boris serious? When it comes to No 10, the answer is deadly so (Daily Telegraph)

After years of brilliant digression, London’s mayor is returning to his life’s true theme, writes Charles Moore.

2. It's a long shot. But don't bet against Boris Johnson going for gold (Guardian)

He may end up like would-be PMs Portillo or Parkinson, writes Jonathan Freedland. If anyone can pull it off, though, it's magic Johnson.

3. Self-defeating Tory victory on Lords reform (Independent)

The coalition has lost a unique opportunity to introduce political change, says an Independent leader.

4. Mark Duggan: the lessons the police haven't learned (Guardian)

A year after the killing of Mark Duggan, his family and community still feel ignored and marginalised, says Stafford Scott.

5. The meaning of Boris: high jinks not high office (Financial Times)

The hype about Johnson is due to Britain’s inexperience with localism, writes Janan Ganesh.

6. Unless the Prime Minister uses his holiday to think big, he'll have a lot more time for chillaxing... (Daily Mail)

Cameron may or may not need an economic Plan B, but he certainly needs a political Plan B, says Tim Montgomerie.

7. Oh, what a precious, exhilarating week! (Daily Telegraph)

The Games are working their magic, says Mick Brown, uniting Britain in a celebration of sporting heroes.

8. Shafilea Ahmed: a girl betrayed (Guardian)

There can be no exonerating circumstance, no licence granted to those who claim cultural protection for brutality,  says a Guardian editorial.

9. The buzz is better when we do it together (Times) (£)

Like bees in a hive, we humans thrive when our tribe is united, says Janice Turner. Enjoy this summer of communal thrills.

10. A love letter from a US conservative to the postman (Financial Times)

Selling monopolies to private parties is a Russian kind of medicine: worse than the disease, says Christopher Caldwell.

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.