Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. Vote Red Ed, get Red Len as the Labour dinosaurs roar back to life (Daily Mail)

The McCluskey intervention sums up how little has changed in Labour since its dark, wilderness years of the 1980s, says Simon Heffer.

2. Will Merkel be the Abe Lincoln of her age? (Daily Telegraph)

The fate of Europe – and Britain – depends on what the German Chancellor does next, says Jeremy Warner.

3. Miliband believes the age of Ed began in 2008 (Times)

The truth is that the Labour leader will do politics the same as everyone else, but he will try to do economics differently, writes Philip Collins.

4. More reform, less austerity for Europe (Financial Times)

The War of the Coding Error is a reminder that the economy is too vital to be left to economists, says Philip Stephens.

5. At last, it’s official: spending more doesn’t make public services better (Daily Telegraph)

New research suggests that cutting government down to size will leave Britain stronger and more socially cohesive, writes Fraser Nelson.

6. Press regulation: Time for a ceasefire (Guardian)

The few who still understand the arguments about the post-Leveson royal charter are dead, mad or past caring, says a Guardian editorial.

7. Turning the Page (Times)

An independent Royal Charter would ensure press regulation that was robust and independent but still voluntary and consistent with a free press, says a Times editorial.

8. The important lessons China has for the world (Independent)

A US billlionaire is setting up a $300m scholarship scheme at to fund Americans studying Shanghai’s elite Tsinghua University, writes Peter Popham. But what will they actually learn?

9. The pros and cons of a floating currency (Financial Times)

The UK has monetary and fiscal policy autonomy but had little adjustment in the current account, writes Martin Wolf.

10. As an old empire emerges from Europe's new alliances, Cameron will be left behind (Independent)

If the PM thinks he can ally himself with the ‘new Europeans’ to reform the EU, he has another thing coming, says Mary Dejevsky. These countries now have their own agenda.

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.