Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. It should've been clear deposing Gaddafi was the easy bit (Guardian)

The west has once again started a fire it cannot extinguish, says Simon Tisdall.

2. Not Ofqual? Not Gove? Is no one responsible for the exam fiasco? (Independent)

It’s not that ministers wield too much power over our education system – but rather that they don’t wield enough, says Steve Richards

3. Mere abuse won’t silence us on assisted dying (Times) (£)

The Health Minister ’s critics don’t have any evidence — only trumped-up platitudes, says Terry Pratchett.

4. Russia begins its slow pivot to Asia (Financial Times)

Moscow is looking to the east but has a lot of catching up to do, writes David Pilling.

5. The victims of a prejudice against my city (Independent)

Deep-seated prejudices about "wallowing" Scousers have kept the Hillsborough injustice in the dark for too long, writes Jane Merrick.

6. Infighting could scupper welfare reform (Daily Telegraph)

David Cameron needs to get a grip before the universal credit scheme fails, warns Sue Camer

7. A Burberry-style profits warning is nothing to envy (Guardian)

The rich think their luxury lifestyles are coveted, writes Zoe Williams. But that's not the feeling that immodest spending evinces these days.

8. The euro’s demise may be the final chapter of the ERM debacle (Daily Telegraph)

The drama of 1992 showed why Germany cannot lead Europe out of a monetary crisis, says Jeremy Warner.

9. Psychodrama hears Conservative voices (Financial Times)

Voters are doomed to endless performances in which rightwing MPs invoke the spirit of Thatcher, says Robert Shrimsley.

10. Boris Johnson is no laughing matter (Guardian)

The mayor of London did not deliver the Olympics but is sucking up the credit for them, writes Suzanne Moore.


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Jeremy Corbyn challenged by Labour MPs to sack Ken Livingstone from defence review

Former mayor of London criticised at PLP meeting over comments on 7 July bombings. 

After Jeremy Corbyn's decision to give Labour MPs a free vote over air strikes in Syria, tonight's Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) meeting was less fractious than it could have been. But one grandee was still moved to declare that the "ferocity" of the attacks on the leader made it the most "uplifting" he had attended.

Margaret Beckett, the former foreign secretary, told the meeting: "We cannot unite the party if the leader's office is determined to divide us." Several MPs said afterwards that many of those who shared Corbyn's opposition to air strikes believed he had mishandled the process by appealing to MPs over the heads of the shadow cabinet and then to members. David Winnick declared that those who favoured military action faced a "shakedown" and deselection by Momentum activists. "It is completely unacceptable. They are a party within a party," he said of the Corbyn-aligned group. The "huge applause" for Hilary Benn, who favours intervention, far outweighed that for the leader, I'm told. 

There was also loud agreement when Jack Dromey condemned Ken Livingstone for blaming Tony Blair's invasion of Iraq for the 7 July 2005 bombings. Along with Angela Smith MP, Dromey demanded that Livingstone be sacked as the co-chair of Labour's defence review. Significantly, Benn said aftewards that he agreed with every word Dromey had said. Corbyn's office has previously said that it is up to the NEC, not the leader, whether the former London mayor holds the position. In reference to 7 July, an aide repeated Corbyn's statement that he preferred to "remember the brilliant words Ken used after 7/7". 

As on previous occasions, MPs complained that the leader failed to answer the questions that were put to him. A shadow minister told me that he "dodged" one on whether he believed the UK should end air strikes against Isis in Iraq. In reference to Syria, a Corbyn aide said afterwards that "There was significant support for the leader. There was a wide debate, with people speaking on both sides of the arguments." After David Cameron's decision to call a vote on air strikes for Wednesday, leaving only a day for debate, the number of Labour MPs backing intervention is likely to fall. One shadow minister told me that as few as 40-50 may back the government, though most expect the total to be closer to the original figure of 99. 

At the end of another remarkable day in Labour's history, a Corbyn aide concluded: "It was always going to be a bumpy ride when you have a leader who was elected by a large number outside parliament but whose support in the PLP is quite limited. There are a small number who find it hard to come to terms with that result."

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.