Cameron, like Syriza, has caused uncertainty in the EU. Photo: Getty
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The irony of arch EU prevaricator David Cameron crying "economic uncertainty" over Syriza's win

The Prime Minister is concerned about the financial instability Syriza's win could bring to Europe – when he's the one promising a referendum that would be deeply destabilising.

So tweeted our Prime Minister following the Greek general election results over the weekend. The Greek electorate voted the anti-austerity, left-wing party Syriza into power.

The fear resulting from Syriza's win is that it could lead to Greece exiting the eurozone. Its leader, and now the Greek Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras' pledge is to renegotiate the terms of the country's massive international bailout to stop austerity hitting its citizens so hard. Anxiety about this meaning Grexit is on the horizon has already had the global markets jittering. The euro fell to $1.11 against the US dollar following the election result, which is the lowest level it has fallen to in over a decade.

Although there is cause for concern, Cameron's response to Syriza's win displays an astounding level of chutzpah. He is warning about what the prospect of Greece defaulting and exiting the eurozone would do to Europe's economy, when his 2017 EU referendum would undoubtedly cause financial damage via a drop in investor confidence and business investment. Business leaders claim that his promise of a vote on Britain's EU membership has already caused worrying uncertainty.

Anoosh Chakelian is deputy web editor at the New Statesman.

Grant Shapps on the campaign trail. Photo: Getty
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Grant Shapps resigns over Tory youth wing bullying scandal

The minister, formerly party chairman, has resigned over allegations of bullying and blackmail made against a Tory activist. 

Grant Shapps, who was a key figure in the Tory general election campaign, has resigned following allegations about a bullying scandal among Conservative activists.

Shapps was formerly party chairman, but was demoted to international development minister after May. His formal statement is expected shortly.

The resignation follows lurid claims about bullying and blackmail among Tory activists. One, Mark Clarke, has been accused of putting pressure on a fellow activist who complained about his behaviour to withdraw the allegation. The complainant, Elliot Johnson, later killed himself.

The junior Treasury minister Robert Halfon also revealed that he had an affair with a young activist after being warned that Clarke planned to blackmail him over the relationship. Former Tory chair Sayeedi Warsi says that she was targeted by Clarke on Twitter, where he tried to portray her as an anti-semite. 

Shapps appointed Mark Clarke to run RoadTrip 2015, where young Tory activists toured key marginals on a bus before the general election. 

Today, the Guardian published an emotional interview with the parents of 21-year-old Elliot Johnson, the activist who killed himself, in which they called for Shapps to consider his position. Ray Johnson also spoke to BBC's Newsnight:


The Johnson family claimed that Shapps and co-chair Andrew Feldman had failed to act on complaints made against Clarke. Feldman says he did not hear of the bullying claims until August. 

Asked about the case at a conference in Malta, David Cameron pointedly refused to offer Shapps his full backing, saying a statement would be released. “I think it is important that on the tragic case that took place that the coroner’s inquiry is allowed to proceed properly," he added. “I feel deeply for his parents, It is an appalling loss to suffer and that is why it is so important there is a proper coroner’s inquiry. In terms of what the Conservative party should do, there should be and there is a proper inquiry that asks all the questions as people come forward. That will take place. It is a tragic loss of a talented young life and it is not something any parent should go through and I feel for them deeply.” 

Mark Clarke denies any wrongdoing.

Helen Lewis is deputy editor of the New Statesman. She has presented BBC Radio 4’s Week in Westminster and is a regular panellist on BBC1’s Sunday Politics.