Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. The scandal of millions not paid enough to live on (Observer)

Archbishop of York John Sentamu takes a stand on low wages.

2. Parliament needs to wake up about banking (Sunday Telegraph)

Liam Halligan wonders how vital reform of the financial sector has been shunted into the political silly season.

3. Ignore the hype, Britain's recovery is a fantasy (Observer)

A pitiful rise in GDP is nothing to celebrate. The economy is weak and dysfunctional, says Will Hutton.

4. The Tories are smiling but their problems haven't gone away (Observer)

Andrew Rawnsley finds Conservatives lurching from extreme despair to irrational exuberance.

5. On Trident, we're still fighting the Cold War (Independent on Sunday)

Danny Alexander restates the Lib Dem position of nuclear deterrance-lite, although he doesn't call it that.  

6. David Cameron, social reformer, takes on the web pornographers (Sunday Telegraph)

Matthew D'Ancona casts the Prime Minister as a moral crusader for the digital age.

7. David Cameron listens to Sam. Pity he won't give more women jobs. (Observer)

Gender descrimination is rife at Westminster, writes Catherine Bennett.

8. Google is a good target for Ed Miliband, Lynton Crosby isn't (Independent on Sunday)

Pick fights with people the voters have heard of, advises John Rentoul.

9. The Crosby show rekindles Tory fighting spirit (Sunday Times)

Adam Boulton joins the chorus of admiration for the galvanising powers of David Cameron's campaign strategist ...

10. The scandal of David Cameron's new spin doctor (Sunday Mirror)

... while John Prescott is unimpressed.


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Ignoring devolved nations on Brexit "risks breaking up the UK"

Theresa May is meeting with Scottish, Northern Irish and Welsh representatives. 

The Westminster government risks the break up of the union if it tries to impose a Brexit settlement on Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, the Institute for Government has warned.

On the day Theresa May is meeting with representatives from the devolved administrations, the thinktank said there were "worrying signs" the Tories were ignoring them instead of treating them like partners. 

The Institute urged the UK government to take steps to prevent "political spats from escalating into a full-blow constitutional crisis".

It stated:

"Imposing a Brexit settlement in the absence of consent from the devolved bodies may be legally possible, given that the UK Parliament remains sovereign. 

"However, this would run contrary to convention and to the spirit of devolution, which recognises the right of the three devolved nations to determine their own
form of government. 

"It would also be a reckless strategy for a government committed to the Union, since it would seriously undermine relationships between the four governments, and increase the chances of Scottish independence and rifts in Northern Ireland’s fragile power-sharing arrangements."

Instead, Brexit ministers from the devolved nations should be represented on a specially-created committee and held jointly responsible for the outcome of talks, it recommended. The devolved nations are expected to want a softer Brexit than the one outlined so far by Westminster. 

It noted that despite the Prime Minister's commitment to developing a "UK approach" to Brexit, there are "worrying signs" that the devolved governments are being ignored.

So far key decisions, such as the deadline for triggering Article 50, have been taken by Westminster alone. Legal experts have warned a stand off between devolved authorities and Westminster could lead to a constitutional crisis.

While civil servants across the UK are now trying to work together, the Institute for Government said their ability to do so "has been hindered by lack of agreement at a political level".

A Brexit settlement could also lead to new powers for the devolved nations, the report said, such as on employment and immigration.

The report said it was likely devolved parliaments would wish to vote on any settlement.

The Scottish First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon has already threatened to hold another independence referendum if Westminster does not take account of Scottish interests, and has pledged that the SNP will vote against the Brexit bill in Parliament. 

Julia Rampen is the editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog. She was previously deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines.