Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. Ed Miliband's leadership is threatened by this Blairite policy coup (Guardian)

By embracing cuts, Ed Balls and Ed Miliband have left all those who stand against them disenfranchised, argues Len McCluskey.

2. America, Greece and a world on fire (Financial Times)

A Greek economic crisis is threatening Europe but the US has no intention of leading the rescue mission, writes Gideon Rachman.

3. Iran's nuclear scientists are not being assassinated. They are being murdered (Guardian)

Killing our enemies abroad is just state-sponsored terror - whatever euphemism western leaders like to use, says Mehdi Hasan.

4. Nick Clegg might not look sad much longer (Times) (£)

The received wisdom says coalition government has ruined the Lib Dems' chances. But it's too early to write them off, says Rachel Sylvester.

5. Don't be fooled by the power of false assumptions (Independent)

As the abuse has grown, Miliband has passed one of the tests of leadership, says Steve Richards. He has kept calm.

6. By stealing the Lib Dems' ideas, Labour leader Ed Miliband can split the coalition (Daily Telegraph)

If the Labour leader finds common ground with his rivals, he will reinvigorate the left, writes Mary Riddell.

7. We are all going to hell in a shopping basket (Financial Times)

At a deeper level the crisis marks the triumph of consumers and investors over workers and citizens, says Robert Reich.

8. The British boarding school remains a bastion of cruelty (Guardian)

While condemning global injustices against children, we fail to examine the ethics of removing seven-year-olds from their families, writes George Monbiot.

9. The hour has come for a new Britannia (Daily Mail)

There could be no more fitting way for this seafaring nation to mark its gratitude and respect for the woman who has been our greatest ambassador for 60 years, argues a Daily Mail editorial.

10. Kim Jong Un's subjects are already singing his praises (Daily Telegraph)

There's no let-up in the bowing and scraping as North Korea's new leader warms to the job, writes Robert Colvile.

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Sadiq Khan is probably London's new mayor - what will happen in a Tooting by-election?

At the time of writing, Sadiq Khan appears to have a fairly comfortable lead over Zac Goldsmith in the London mayoral election. Which means (at least) two (quite) interesting things are likely to happen: 1) Sadiq Khan is going to be mayor, and 2) there is going to be a by-election in Tooting.

Unlike the two parliamentary by-elections in Ogmore and Sheffield that Labour won at a canter last night, the south London seat of Tooting is a genuine marginal. The Conservatives have had designs on the seat since at least 2010, when the infamous ‘Tatler Tory’, Mark Clarke, was the party’s candidate. Last May, Khan narrowly increased his majority over the Tories, winning by almost 3,000 votes with a majority of 5.3 per cent. With high house prices pushing London professionals further out towards the suburbs, the seat is gentrifying, making Conservatives more positive about the prospect of taking the seat off Labour. No government has won a by-election from an opposition party since the Conservative Angela Rumbold won Mitcham and Morden from a Labour-SDP defector in June 1982. In a nice parallel, that seat borders Tooting.

Of course, the notion of a Tooting by-election will not come as a shock to local Conservatives, however much hope they invested in a Goldsmith mayoral victory. Unusually, the party’s candidate from the general election, Dan Watkins, an entrepreneur who has lived in the area for 15 years, has continued to campaign in the seat since his defeat, styling himself as the party’s “parliamentary spokesman for Tooting”. It would be a big surprise if Watkins is not re-anointed as the candidate for the by-election.

What of the Labour side? For some months, those on the party’s centre-left have worried with varying degrees of sincerity that Ken Livingstone may see the by-election as a route back into Parliament. Having spent the past two weeks muttering conspiratorially about the relationship between early 20th-Century German Jews and Adolf Hitler before having his Labour membership suspended, that possibility no longer exists.

Other names talked about include: Rex Osborn, leader of the Labour group on Wandsworth Council; Simon Hogg, who is Osborn’s deputy; Rosena Allin-Khan, an emergency medicine doctor who also deputises for Osborn; Will Martindale, who was Labour’s defeated candidate in Battersea last year; and Jayne Lim, who was shortlisted earlier in the year for the Sheffield Brightside selection and used to practise as a doctor at St George’s hospital in Tooting.

One thing that any new Labour MP would have to contend with is the boundary review reporting in 2018, which will reduce the number of London constituencies by 5. This means that a new Tooting MP could quickly find themselves pitched in a selection fight for a new constituency with their neighbours Siobhan McDonagh, who currently holds Mitcham and Morden, and/or Chuka Umunna, who is the MP for Streatham. 

According to the Sunday Times, Labour is planning to hold the by-election as quickly as possible, perhaps even before the EU referendum on June 23rd.

Henry Zeffman writes about politics and is the winner of the Anthony Howard Award 2015.