Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. The problem with unions is they're not strong enough (Guardian)

Trade unions are subject to hysterical abuse, but they are essential to democracy, equality and economic recovery, writes Seumas Milne.

2. Draghi alone cannot save the euro (Financial Times)

The ECB has done what it can and has won some time but the main challenge remains, says Martin Wolf.

3. Dastardly plots and stalking Borises – blame yourself, Dave (Daily Telegraph)

Much of the trouble is a by-product of the economic pain that could cost the Conservatives the next election, writes Benedict Brogan.

4. If Romney risks nothing he will win nothing (Times) (£)

The Republican challenger must channel the spirit of Teddy Roosevelt if he is to win over crucial swing voters, says Daniel Finkelstein.

5. We need a new mindset on mental health (Financial Times)

On pure investment grounds, we should do much more about our wellbeing and that of our children, says Richard Layard.

6. Hijacking Olympic glory for political gain is dangerous (Guardian)

I love sport, but the media's pop psychology and UK politicians' bellowing patriotism has cheapened the athletes' achievement, says Simon Jenkins.

7. Will they get justice at last? (Independent)

Nothing can undo the disgraceful cover-up of the Hillsborough disaster, says James Lawton.

8. Bigotry, insults and Nick Clegg's true agenda (Daily Mail)

In an unguarded moment of frankness, Nick Clegg has revealed his true feelings about opponents of gay marriage, says a Daily Mail editorial.

9. The Netherlands gets ready to turn left (Guardian)

But, unlike in France, this Dutch political shift won't mark a turning point against austerity measures, says Chris Aalberts.

10. Britain was free, but we Tories were done for (Daily Telegraph)

Exit from the ERM saw the party spiral into a cycle of reprisals that almost destroyed it, writes Daniel Hannan.


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.