Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. Underemployment can be as corrosive as unemployment – and it's on the rise (Guardian)

Lots of people are wondering why the employment figures aren't worse, since we're in such a slump, writes Aditya Chakrabortty. Well, if you measure them properly, they are.

2. The debate about the 80s had moved on. Now Thatcher is dragging us back (Independent)

The question of how we make institutions more accountable, better-regulated and transparent without stifling them is the new challenge from the 1980s, writes Steve Richards.

3. Conservatives should be pro-market, not pro-business (Financial Times)

It was not the size of the state that Thatcher rolled back but its reach into the economy, writes Janan Ganesh.

4. Benefit cap: in defiance of logic (Guardian)

If you had set out to make children poorer for being born into large families, then this might be a sensible way to do it, says a Guardian editorial.

5. Ed Miliband should be pitching a bigger tent (Times) (£)

Labour would be unwise to rely on a coalition of left-wing voters, says Rachel Sylvester. A ‘35 per cent strategy’ may backfire.

6. We subsidise firms that keep workers in poverty (Independent)

The Conservatives should back a living wage for workers, says Ian Birrell. It would show they cared about ordinary people, while cutting some of the ground beneath Labour.

7. Europe is no longer Spain’s solution (Financial Times)


The people are losing faith in national and EU institutions, says Gideon Rachman.

8. Margaret Thatcher's funeral: when does peaceful protest cross the line? (Daily Telegraph)

If demonstrations mark the day the world remembers Thatcher, the police will have to make some swift decisions, writes Philip Johnston. 

9. Tony Blair is like a loose horse at the Grand National (Guardian)

Labour's former leader is making the same mistake as Thatcher – and getting in the way of the runners in today's electoral race, says Polly Toynbee.

10. Welfare reform remains a moral imperative (Daily Telegraph)


We must remember that a proper benefits system should be designed to encourage people to leave it, says a Telegraph editorial. 

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Labour MP Sarah Champion resigns over grooming gang piece in The Sun

The shadow equalities minister is standing down after her controversial article sparked accusations of racism.

Sarah Champion has resigned as shadow equalities minister over her incendiary article about grooming gangs in The Sun.

The Labour MP for Rotherham caused controversy by writing a piece about the Newcastle paedophile ring, which the tabloid headlined: "British Pakistanis ARE raping white girls... and we need to face up to it".

This sparked accusations of racism, including from figures in her own party. Naz Shah, the Labour MP for Bradford West, wrote in the Independent“Such an incendiary headline and article is not only irresponsible but is also setting a very dangerous precedent and must be challenged.”

Champion initially tried to distance herself from how the article was framed, claiming that the opening paragraphs were edited and "stripped of nuance". The paper, however, said her team approved the piece and were "thrilled" with it.

In her resignation statement, Champion apologised for causing offence: “I apologise for the offence caused by the extremely poor choice of words in the Sun article on Friday. I am concerned that my continued position in the shadow cabinet would distract from the crucial issues around child protection which I have campaigned on my entire political career.”

“It is therefore with regret that I tender my resignation as shadow secretary of state for women and equalities.”

In a comment decrying The Sun's general Islamophobia-inciting coverage, the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn warned against "attempts to brand communities or ethnic or religious groups, wittingly or unwittingly".

Anoosh Chakelian is senior writer at the New Statesman.