CommentPlus: pick of the papers

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

1. Labour has forgotten how to box clever on "tax and spend" (Independent)

Labour failed to make the political and economic case for a rise in National Insurance, writes Steve Richards, allowing the Tories to get away with contradictory proposals. The party now finds itself on the back foot on tax and spend for the first time since 1992.

Read the full CommentPlus summary.

2. No, Gordon Brown, we have not been deceived (Times)

Elsewhere, Simon Wolfson, chief executive of Next, attacks Brown's claim that business leaders have been deceived by the Tories. Everyone knows there are huge savings to be made in the public sector.

3. The Tories can't muzzle election talk of Europe (Guardian)

The Tories' hostility to the European Union will return to haunt them, predicts Timothy Garton Ash. Britain's European partners are in no mood to renegotiate anything, let alone do any favours to a new Conservative government.

Read the full CommentPlus summary.

4. Look beyond the spin to find candidates with character (Daily Telegraph)

A large number of authentic and independent-minded candidates has emerged in this election campaign, writes Benedict Brogan. Nigel Farage in Buckingham, Caroline Lucas in Brighton and Esther Rantzen in Luton are all evidence of a sea change.

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5. The iPad's scary counter-revolution (Financial Times)

The iPad may generally be good news for publishers but there's a catch, warns John Gapper: only those with the ability to create original multimedia content will thrive on this platform.

6. Dave may be popular, but there's danger in the Tories becoming a one-man band (Daily Mail)

Given that he does not have the extraordinary appeal of a Tony Blair, David Cameron must present himself as part of a team, writes Stephen Glover. The Tories have several big hitters who can give a good account of themselves.

7. The real political battle will begin after the election (Guardian)

Even more important than who wins the election will be the struggle over what to put in place of a failed neoliberal model, argues Seumas Milne.

8. Nobody will use the "D" word (Independent)

Britain's £167bn Budget deficit has been written out of the script as politicians replace hard choices with soft options, writes Andrew Grice.

9. Progress and democracy collide in India (Financial Times)

India must work out how to reconcile development with indigenous land rights, writes David Pilling.

Read the full CommentPlus summary.

10. The Tories' policies on economic change fall short of the rhetoric (Daily Telegraph)

The Conservatives are so scared of overturning the status quo that they will not adopt desperately needed financial reforms, says Edmund Conway.

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Voters are turning against Brexit but the Lib Dems aren't benefiting

Labour's pro-Brexit stance is not preventing it from winning the support of Remainers. Will that change?

More than a year after the UK voted for Brexit, there has been little sign of buyer's remorse. The public, including around a third of Remainers, are largely of the view that the government should "get on with it".

But as real wages are squeezed (owing to the Brexit-linked inflationary spike) there are tentative signs that the mood is changing. In the event of a second referendum, an Opinium/Observer poll found, 47 per cent would vote Remain, compared to 44 per cent for Leave. Support for a repeat vote is also increasing. Forty one per cent of the public now favour a second referendum (with 48 per cent opposed), compared to 33 per cent last December. 

The Liberal Democrats have made halting Brexit their raison d'être. But as public opinion turns, there is no sign they are benefiting. Since the election, Vince Cable's party has yet to exceed single figures in the polls, scoring a lowly 6 per cent in the Opinium survey (down from 7.4 per cent at the election). 

What accounts for this disparity? After their near-extinction in 2015, the Lib Dems remain either toxic or irrelevant to many voters. Labour, by contrast, despite its pro-Brexit stance, has hoovered up Remainers (55 per cent back Jeremy Corbyn's party). 

In some cases, this reflects voters' other priorities. Remainers are prepared to support Labour on account of the party's stances on austerity, housing and education. Corbyn, meanwhile, is a eurosceptic whose internationalism and pro-migration reputation endear him to EU supporters. Other Remainers rewarded Labour MPs who voted against Article 50, rebelling against the leadership's stance. 

But the trend also partly reflects ignorance. By saying little on the subject of Brexit, Corbyn and Labour allowed Remainers to assume the best. Though there is little evidence that voters will abandon Corbyn over his EU stance, the potential exists.

For this reason, the proposal of a new party will continue to recur. By challenging Labour over Brexit, without the toxicity of Lib Dems, it would sharpen the choice before voters. Though it would not win an election, a new party could force Corbyn to soften his stance on Brexit or to offer a second referendum (mirroring Ukip's effect on the Conservatives).

The greatest problem for the project is that it lacks support where it counts: among MPs. For reasons of tribalism and strategy, there is no emergent "Gang of Four" ready to helm a new party. In the absence of a new convulsion, the UK may turn against Brexit without the anti-Brexiteers benefiting. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.