Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. The immigration triffid is growing. Eradicate it (Times) (£)

Even the Labour leader seems to believe - wrongly - that foreigners (a) take British jobs and (b) drive down wages. David Aaronovitch calls for a change.

2. Now Ed Miliband's challenge is to put his stamp on his Labour party (Guardian)

After the most radical speech by a leader for a generation, Miliband must turn the brave talk into a winning platform, says Seumas Milne.

3. Tentative progress, but Germany remains the key (Independent)

This leading article urges that the fact that the solution to the crisis is more Europe, rather than less, should not be lost in the rhetoric.

4. The best way to tackle the Big Four (Financial Times)

John Gapper argues that it would be better to encourage the emergence of new competitors to the biggest firms through ownership and anti-trust measures.

5. You don't always win on moral high ground (Times) (£)

In business you have to take unpopular decisions. James Dyson argues that that doesn't mean they're wrong.

6. A Robin Hood tax could turn the banks from villains to heroes (Guardian)

An EU-wide Robin Hood tax is close to becoming reality, says Bill Nighy. Cameron must now tell the City to get on board.

7. Failed by the very people who are there to protect us (Independent)

Yvette Cooper has done a good thing in setting up an independent review of policing, says Andreas Whittam Smith.

8. Cameron has lost his way on crime (Financial Times)

The Conservatives traditionally flew the flag for law and order. The sad reality is that this flag is flying at half-mast, writes Paul McKeever.

9. Children First (Times) (£)

More children are being taken into care, and fewer are adopted. This leading article says that the adoption system has grown worse, not better.

10. Regeneration? What's happening in Sheffield's Park Hill is class cleansing (Guardian)

Once unpicturesque council tenants have been 'decanted', inner-city estates can be safely claimed by the affluent, says Owen Hatherley.

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PMQs review: Jeremy Corbyn prompts Tory outrage as he blames Grenfell Tower fire on austerity

To Conservative cries of "shame on you!", the Labour leader warned that "we all pay a price in public safety" for spending cuts.

A fortnight after the Grenfell Tower fire erupted, the tragedy continues to cast a shadow over British politics. Rather than probing Theresa May on the DUP deal, Jeremy Corbyn asked a series of forensic questions on the incident, in which at least 79 people are confirmed to have died.

In the first PMQs of the new parliament, May revealed that the number of buildings that had failed fire safety tests had risen to 120 (a 100 per cent failure rate) and that the cladding used on Grenfell Tower was "non-compliant" with building regulations (Corbyn had asked whether it was "legal").

After several factual questions, the Labour leader rose to his political argument. To cries of "shame on you!" from Tory MPs, he warned that local authority cuts of 40 per cent meant "we all pay a price in public safety". Corbyn added: “What the tragedy of Grenfell Tower has exposed is the disastrous effects of austerity. The disregard for working-class communities, the terrible consequences of deregulation and cutting corners." Corbyn noted that 11,000 firefighters had been cut and that the public sector pay cap (which Labour has tabled a Queen's Speech amendment against) was hindering recruitment. "This disaster must be a wake-up call," he concluded.

But May, who fared better than many expected, had a ready retort. "The cladding of tower blocks did not start under this government, it did not start under the previous coalition governments, the cladding of tower blocks began under the Blair government," she said. “In 2005 it was a Labour government that introduced the regulatory reform fire safety order which changed the requirements to inspect a building on fire safety from the local fire authority to a 'responsible person'." In this regard, however, Corbyn's lack of frontbench experience is a virtue – no action by the last Labour government can be pinned on him. 

Whether or not the Conservatives accept the link between Grenfell and austerity, their reluctance to defend continued cuts shows an awareness of how politically vulnerable they have become (No10 has announced that the public sector pay cap is under review).

Though Tory MP Philip Davies accused May of having an "aversion" to policies "that might be popular with the public" (he demanded the abolition of the 0.7 per cent foreign aid target), there was little dissent from the backbenches – reflecting the new consensus that the Prime Minister is safe (in the absence of an attractive alternative).

And May, whose jokes sometimes fall painfully flat, was able to accuse Corbyn of saying "one thing to the many and another thing to the few" in reference to his alleged Trident comments to Glastonbury festival founder Michael Eavis. But the Labour leader, no longer looking fearfully over his shoulder, displayed his increased authority today. Though the Conservatives may jeer him, the lingering fear in Tory minds is that they and the country are on divergent paths. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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