CommentPlus: pick of the papers

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

1. Too many have been disabled by benefits (Times) (£)

Two million people rely on incapacity benefit. Iain Duncan Smith says that he expects a quarter of them to be fit to return to work immediately.

2. We disabled people aren't shirkers (Guardian)

Alice Maynard says that disabled people like her want to contribute fully, but the cuts could push them into lifelong joblessness.

3. The wrong policy for Lib Dems to oppose (Independent)

The leading article argues that reform of university funding is overdue. The Liberal Democrats should reconsider their position, as long as social diversity is protected.

4. Don't punish students for others' excesses (Times) (£)

A huge rise in fees would only make rich universities richer. Aaron Porter maintains that a graduate tax is the answer.

5. The perils of giving in to pester power (Independent)

The only way for the government to deal with the coming storm over cuts is to stand firm and refuse to budge an inch, says Mary Anne Sieghart.

6. State lambasts west while citizens give thanks (Financial Times)

The Nobel Peace prize for the Chinese activist Liu Xiaobo could have powerful ripple effects, writes Geoff Dyer.

7. Gang up on China - that'll be value for money (Times) (£)

If they have a mind to do it, says Bill Emmott, G20 members can ease the currency wars and pull the leading culprit into line.

8. Tea Party supporters want to 'take their country back'. To where? (Guardian)

The candidates that Tea Party supporters back have actively worked to undermine their aspirations and interests, says Gary Younge.

9. America should fund Israeli settlers to leave (Financial Times)

Blanket US support for Israel should be used to create new incentives for settlers to peacefully evacuate Palestinian territory, writes Diana Buttu.

10. The left should recognise that equality is undesirable (Guardian)

Julian Glover suggests that a fair society may be one in which people have the right to strive for inequality.

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What will Labour's new awkward squad do next?

What does the future hold for the party's once-rising-stars?

For years, Jeremy Corbyn was John McDonnell’s only friend in Parliament. Now, Corbyn is the twice-elected Labour leader, and McDonnell his shadow chancellor. The crushing leadership election victory has confirmed Corbyn-supporting MPs as the new Labour elite. It has also created a new awkward squad.   

Some MPs – including some vocal critics of Corbyn – are queuing up to get back in the shadow cabinet (one, Sarah Champion, returned during the leadership contest). Chi Onwurah, who spoke out on Corbyn’s management style, never left. But others, most notably the challenger Owen Smith, are resigning themselves to life on the back benches. 

So what is a once-rising-star MP to do? The most obvious choice is to throw yourself into the issue the Corbyn leadership doesn’t want to talk about – Brexit. The most obvious platform to do so on is a select committee. Chuka Umunna has founded Vote Leave Watch, a campaign group, and is running to replace Keith Vaz on the Home Affairs elect committee. Emma Reynolds, a former shadow Europe minister, is running alongside Hilary Benn to sit on the newly-created Brexit committee. 

Then there is the written word - so long as what you write is controversial enough. Rachel Reeves caused a stir when she described control on freedom of movement as “a red line” in Brexit negotiations. Keir Starmer is still planning to publish his long-scheduled immigration report. Alison McGovern embarked on a similar tour of the country

Other MPs have thrown themselves into campaigns, most notably refugee rights. Stella Creasy is working with Alf Dubs on his amendment to protect child refugees. Yvette Cooper chairs Labour's refugee taskforce.

The debate about whether Labour MPs should split altogether is ongoing, but the warnings of history aside, some Corbyn critics believe this is exactly what the leadership would like them to do. Richard Angell, deputy director of Progress, a centrist group, said: “Parts of the Labour project get very frustrated that good people Labour activists are staying in the party.”

One reason to stay in Labour is the promise of a return of shadow cabinet elections, a decision currently languishing with the National Executive Committee. 

But anti-Corbyn MPs may still yet find their ability to influence policies blocked. Even if the decision goes ahead, the Corbyn leadership is understood to be planning a root and branch reform of party institutions, to be announced in the late autumn. If it is consistent with his previous rhetoric, it will hand more power to the pro-Corbyn grassroots members. The members of Labour's new awkward squad have seized on elections as a way to legitimise their voices. But with Corbyn in charge, they might get more democracy than they bargained for.