Morning Call: pick of the comment

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

1. Gordon Brown has voters in a trance . . . (Daily Telegraph)

The Tories must show the kind of ruthless killer instinct that comes naturally to Labour, says Benedict Brogan. For now, Brown's act of hypnosis appears to be working.

2. Prepare for the fourth transport revolution (Times)

The Transport Secretary, Andrew Adonis, argues that now is the right time to push ahead with his high-speed rail plan. British exceptionalism must be put to bed.

3. Step forward, the minister with a scheme to make a difference (Independent)

Elsewhere, in the Independent, Steve Richards praises Adonis's creativity and ambition and says he is a role model for future cabinet ministers.

4. The City is not in love with Osborne (City AM)

A poll of London's finance and business professionals shows that they would prefer Kenneth Clarke, not George Osborne, to become chancellor, reports Allister Heath.

5. Voters are far ahead of the elite -- so they'll get no say (Guardian)

The increasingly unpopular war in Afghanistan should be at the heart of the election campaign, writes Seumas Milne. But the decision of all three main parties to support the surge means public opinion has been ignored.

6. If interest rates rise, our prospects plummet (Times)

We must reject the dogmatic belief that low inflation takes priority over everything else, says Anatole Kaletsky.

7. Mismanaging China's rural exodus (Financial Times)

Chinese urbanisation could be the biggest business opportunity of the coming decades, writes David Pilling. But most of the 200 million migrants who have left the land have no right of permanent residence in the cities.

8. The Janus face of recession politics (Independent)

Almost all the measures designed to combat recession actually serve to prolong the very seductions of easy credit, argues Adrian Hamilton.

9. Remember the Crimea. Look after the army (Times)

The disastrous underequipping of soldiers in Afghanistan has uncomfortable echoes of the Crimean war, says Ben Macintyre.

10. Beyond the voodoo void of finance

The moral gulf between citizens and banks can be overcome with an ethic of responsibility, argues William Brittain-Catlin.

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I believe only Yvette Cooper has the breadth of support to beat Jeremy Corbyn

All the recent polling suggests Andy Burnham is losing more votes than anyone else to Jeremy Corbyn, says Diana Johnson MP.

Tom Blenkinsop MP on the New Statesman website today says he is giving his second preference to Andy Burnham as he thinks that Andy has the best chance of beating Jeremy.

This is on the basis that if Yvette goes out first all her second preferences will swing behind Andy, whereas if Andy goes out first then his second preferences, due to the broad alliance he has created behind his campaign, will all or largely switch to the other male candidate, Jeremy.

Let's take a deep breath and try and think through what will be the effect of preferential voting in the Labour leadership.

First of all, it is very difficult to know how second preferences will switch. From my telephone canvassing there is some rather interesting voting going on, but I don't accept that Tom’s analysis is correct. I have certainly picked up growing support for Yvette in recent weeks.

In fact you can argue the reverse of Tom’s analysis is true – Andy has moved further away from the centre and, as a result, his pitch to those like Tom who are supporting Liz first is now narrower. As a result, Yvette is more likely to pick up those second preferences.

Stats from the Yvette For Labour team show Yvette picking up the majority of second preferences from all candidates – from the Progress wing supporting Liz to the softer left fans of Jeremy – and Andy's supporters too. Their figures show many undecideds opting for Yvette as their first preference, as well as others choosing to switch their first preference to Yvette from one of the other candidates. It's for this reason I still believe only Yvette has the breadth of support to beat Jeremy and then to go on to win in 2020.

It's interesting that Andy has not been willing to make it clear that second preferences should go to Yvette or Liz. Yvette has been very clear that she would encourage second preferences to be for Andy or Liz.

Having watched Andy on Sky's Murnaghan show this morning, he categorically states that Labour will not get beyond first base with the electorate at a general election if we are not economically credible and that fundamentally Jeremy's economic plans do not add up. So, I am unsure why Andy is so unwilling to be clear on second preferences.

All the recent polling suggests Andy is losing more votes than anyone else to Jeremy. He trails fourth in London – where a huge proportion of our electorate is based.

So I would urge Tom to reflect more widely on who is best placed to provide the strongest opposition to the Tories, appeal to the widest group of voters and reach out to the communities we need to win back. I believe that this has to be Yvette.

The Newsnight focus group a few days ago showed that Yvette is best placed to win back those former Labour voters we will need in 2020.

Labour will pay a massive price if we ignore this.

Diana Johnson is the Labour MP for Hull North.