Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. Falkirk may seem minor, but for Labour it really matters (Guardian)

The Unite union's tactics in the selection of parliamentary candidates are a direct challenge to Ed Miliband's leadership, writes Martin Kettle.

2. People Power (Times)

Now Egypt’s Army has taken control, its most important task is to relinquish it, says a Times editorial.

3. Egypt's coup: a ruinous intervention (Guardian)

Those who believe the Egyptian army's priority is to preserve freedom will soon be disappointed, says Jonathan Steele.

4. HS2 must not fail. If it does, investment in our future is doomed (Independent)

In this country a gimmick, like the Olympics, is required to justify spending, writes Steve Richards.

5. Why doors slam in Snowden’s face (Financial Times)

Who wants to pick a fight with the US over someone who has revealed what we knew, asks Philip Stephens.

6. To Lord Freud, a food bank is an excuse for a free lunch (Guardian)

The welfare minister's attempt to link the rise in food banks to greed rather than poverty shows a withered meanness, says Zoe Williams.

7. In or out, Britain has to play by Europe’s rules (Times)

Norway and Switzerland pay the costs of membership wth no say over EU law, writes John Cridland. That’s a bad deal for UK businesses.

8. The brave souls who resisted the march of state control (Daily Telegraph)

Professor Minogue was one of a small group of thinkers who fought for individual freedom, writes Peter Oborne.

9. What works at the Fed may not in Britain (Financial Times)

Forward guidance must be based on firm criteria, not least increased spending, writes Chris Giles.

10. Spying was simpler during the Cold War (Daily Telegraph)

You knew who your friends were during the Cold War – and you didn’t snoop on them, says Sue Cameron.

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Harriet Harman warns that the Brexit debate has been dominated by men

The former deputy leader hit out at the marginalisation of women's voices in the EU referendum campaign.

The EU referendum campaign has been dominated by men, Labour’s former deputy leader Harriet Harman warns today. The veteran MP, who was acting Labour leader between May and September last year, said that the absence of female voices in the debate has meant that arguments about the ramifications of Brexit for British women have not been heard.

Harman has written to Sharon White, the Chief of Executive of Ofcom, expressing her “serious concern that the referendum campaign has to date been dominated by men.” She says: “Half the population of this country are women and our membership of the EU is important to women’s lives. Yet men are – as usual – pushing women out.”

Research by Labour has revealed that since the start of this year, just 10 women politicians have appeared on the BBC’s Today programme to discuss the referendum, compared to 48 men. On BBC Breakfast over the same time period, there have been 12 male politicians interviewed on the subject compared to only 2 women. On ITV’s Good Morning Britain, 18 men and 6 women have talked about the referendum.

In her letter, Harman says that the dearth of women “fails to reflect the breadth of voices involved with the campaign and as a consequence, a narrow range [of] issues ends up being discussed, leaving many women feeling shut out of the national debate.”

Harman calls on Ofcom “to do what it can amongst broadcasters to help ensure women are properly represented on broadcast media and that serious issues affecting female voters are given adequate media coverage.” 

She says: "women are being excluded and the debate narrowed.  The broadcasters have to keep a balance between those who want remain and those who want to leave. They should have a balance between men and women." 

A report published by Loughborough University yesterday found that women have been “significantly marginalised” in reporting of the referendum, with just 16 per cent of TV appearances on the subject being by women. Additionally, none of the ten individuals who have received the most press coverage on the topic is a woman.

Harman's intervention comes amidst increasing concerns that many if not all of the new “metro mayors” elected from next year will be men. Despite Greater Manchester having an equal number of male and female Labour MPs, the current candidates for the Labour nomination for the new Manchester mayoralty are all men. Luciana Berger, the Shadow Minister for mental health, is reportedly considering running to be Labour’s candidate for mayor of the Liverpool city region, but will face strong competition from incumbent mayor Joe Anderson and fellow MP Steve Rotheram.

Last week, Harriet Harman tweeted her hope that some of the new mayors would be women.  

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