Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. The next election won’t be won on the runways of Heathrow (Daily Telegraph)

Blue-collar workers in the north and midlands hold the key to a Conservative victory, says Paul Goodman.

2. Osborne will need to bend his fiscal rules (Financial Times)

Further tightening would be disastrous for growth, writes Ian Mulheirn.

3. Why Israel's itchy trigger finger threatens President Obama (Daily Mail)

Obama will have no choice but to support an Israeli air strike for fear of losing the Jewish vote in various key areas, says Andrew Alexander.

4. Yeo's runway taunt is big-willy politics, and that is the most dangerous politics of all (Guardian)

The third runway appeals to paranoid machismo not reason, says Simon Jenkins. A recession is no excuse for pushing through dumb projects.

5. The centre has to hold. There’s no alternative (Times) (£)

Enough of the grumbling, writes Daniel Finkelstein. Both sides have to remember that they can reap huge advantages from coali

6. If Poundland's expanding, we must be in trouble (Independent)

The "squeezed middle" (and beyond) is under intense and growing financial pressure, writes Stefan Stern.

7. Syria’s rebels are not yet worthy of our trust (Daily Telegraph)

After the debacle in Libya, the west needs guarantees from any government-in-waiting, says Con Coughlin.

8. Will it be off with his Ed, or bye George? (Independent)

How both now deal with their economic supremos will do much to decide the election, says Matthew Norman.

9. Rail is a gigantic scam for siphoning off public money (Guardian)

Branson and FirstGroup have both gamed a disastrous privatisation, writes Seumas Milne. The case for public ownership is compelling.

10. How Romney could go wrong from Day 1 (Financial Times)

Trade sanctions on China might seriously backfire, writes Stephen Roach.

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Theresa May could live to regret not putting Article 50 to a vote sooner

Today's Morning Call.

Theresa May will reveal her plan to Parliament, Downing Street has confirmed. They will seek to amend Labour's motion on Article 50 adding a note of support for the principle of triggering Article 50 by March 2017, in a bid to flush out the diehard Remainers.

Has the PM retreated under heavy fire or pulled off a clever gambit to take the wind out of Labour's sails while keeping her Brexit deal close to her chest? 

Well, as ever, you pays your money and you makes your choice. "May forced to reveal Brexit plan to head off Tory revolt" is the Guardian's splash. "PM caves in on plans for Brexit" is the i's take. "May goes into battle for Brexit" is the Telegraph's, while Ukip's Pravda aka the Express goes for "MPs to vote on EU exit today".

Who's right? Well, it's a bit of both. That the government has only conceded to reveal "a plan" might mean further banalities on a par with the PM's one-liner yesterday that she was seeking a "red white and blue Brexit" ie a special British deal. And they've been aided by a rare error by Labour's new star signing Keir Starmer. Hindsight is 20:20, but if he'd demanded a full-blown white paper the government would be in a trickier spot now. 

But make no mistake: the PM didn't want to be here. It's worth noting that if she had submitted Article 50 to a parliamentary vote at the start of the parliamentary year, when Labour's frontbench was still cobbled together from scotch-tape and Paul Flynn and the only opposition MP seemed to be Nicky Morgan, she'd have passed it by now - or, better still for the Tory party, she'd be in possession of a perfect excuse to reestablish the Conservative majority in the House of Lords. May's caution made her PM while her more reckless colleagues detonated - but she may have cause to regret her caution over the coming months and years.


David Pannick, Gina Miller's barrister, has told the Supreme Court that it would be "quite extraordinary" if the government's case were upheld, as it would mean ministers could use prerogative powers to reduce a swathe of rights without parliamentary appeal. The case hinges on the question of whether or not triggering Article 50 represents a loss of rights, something only the legislature can do.  Jane Croft has the details in the FT 


Ministers are contemplating doing a deal with Nicola Sturgeon that would allow her to hold a second independence referendum, but only after Brexit is completed, Lindsay McIntosh reports in the Times. The right to hold a referendum is a reserved power. 


Angela Merkel told a cheering crowd at the CDU conference that, where possible, the full-face veil should be banned in Germany. Although the remarks are being widely reported in the British press as a "U-Turn", Merkel has previously said the face veil is incompatible with integration and has called from them to be banned "where possible". In a boost for the Chancellor, Merkel was re-elected as party chairman with 89.5 per cent of the vote. Stefan Wagstyl has the story in the FT.


Michael Barnier, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, has reminded the United Kingdom that they will have just 15 to 18 months to negotiate the terms of exit when Article 50 is triggered, as the remaining time will be needed for the deal to secure legislative appeal.


Len McCluskey has quit as general secretary of Unite in order to run for a third term, triggering a power struggle with big consequences for the Labour party. Though he starts as the frontrunner, he is more vulnerable now than he was in 2013. I write on his chances and possible opposition here.


Emad asks if One Night Stand provides the most compelling account of sex and relationships in video games yet.


Theresa May is becoming adept at avoiding defeats says George

Liv Constable-Maxwell on what the Supreme Court protesters want

Theresa May risks becoming an accidental Europe wrecker, says Rafael Behr

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Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to British politics.