Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. A Lab-Lib deal in 2015 may be Ed Miliband's only chance of government (Guardian)

If Labour is serious about being open to coalition in 2015, the party must ditch its autocratic way of doing things now, writes Martin Kettle.

2. Stop the plotting, Mr Cameron, and rediscover your will to win (Daily Telegraph)

The Tories should be working on bold policies, not planning for another coalition, says Iain Martin.

3. Don’t blindly trust guardians of security (Financial Times)

Before the leaks, we had little insight into the scale of the NSA’s access to information, writes John Gapper.

4. Why I’m torn between freedom and security (Times)

Was the detention of David Miranda an assault on the press or a necessary protection? It’s impossible to decide, says Matt Ridley.

5. Caught in the crossfire of an ever dirtier war (Daily Mail)

The harrowing images of hundreds of dead Syrian children and adults will test the diplomatic patience of the west to the limit, writes Michael Burleigh. 

6. An uneasy election that is Angela Merkel’s to lose (Independent)

The visit of the Chancellor to Dachau says a lot about her political strategy, writes Mary Dejevsky. 

7. Innovation needs help of an active state (Financial Times)

Productive public spending leads to growth, as illustrated by the US, writes Mariana Mazzucato.

8. Fracking faces a little local difficulty (Daily Telegraph)

A measly 1 per cent of the spoils is not enough to convince residents to put up with fracking, writes Isabel Hardman. 

9. This was a coup: we must support Egypt's people, not its generals (Guardian)

The west must not risk losing legitimacy across the Middle East, says Douglas Alexander. It has to be clear in backing democracy, and defy al-Qaida's hate.

10. The young need help, not condemnation (Independent)

Does Nick Hurd even know what ‘grit’ is, asks Jane Merrick. The situation ‘Neets’ are in is not their fault.

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Michael Heseltine calls for “second referendum or general election” on the Brexit deal

The Tory peer and former deputy prime minister accuses Theresa May of having “flip-flopped” on the “intellectual conviction of the last 70 years of Conservative leadership”.

The Conservative party is deeply divided on the subject of Europe, and I don't see a short-term resolution to that position. I just reread the speech that the Prime Minister made to the Institute of Mechanical Engineers before the referendum. It was thoughtful, careful, balanced, and highly persuasive – arguing that we should remain in Europe.

A few weeks later, Brexit is Brexit. She has apparently changed her mind, and people like me have not. The idea that the intellectual conviction of the last 70 years of Conservative leadership on this subject can be flip-flopped is asking too much of those of us who believe that our self-interest as a nation is inextricably interwoven with our European allies.

I believe that this is the worst peacetime decision that Parliament has been asked to make. It is very possible, as the negotiations unfold, that members of the Conservative Party in the House of Commons who believe as strongly as I do in the Remain argument will feel that their commitment to our national self-interest is being stretched unacceptably.

I know all the lonelinesses of their position. I'm well aware of the herd instinct of party politics. Only on two significant occasions have I worked to change the official policies of the Conservative party. I have no regrets, it didn't actually do me any harm. They have to evaluate the nature of the decision they're being asked to take.

I don't believe any of the arguments that there's a two-year time scale, the guillotine comes down. If there's a will to change within the community of European leaders, change will happen regardless of the letter of the law.

I believe that there needs to be a second referendum or a mandate of a general election. I believe the sovereignty of this country is enshrined in the House of Commons, and that they must be involved in the final decision with absolute power to determine the outcome. It took Nicola Sturgeon a matter of months to be back on the trail of a second referendum and Nigel Farage would have been doing exactly the same if he had lost. So what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. I cast myself in the unlikely role of gander.

[May’s opposition to a Scottish referendum] completely undermines the whole basis for supporting the referendum judgement in the first place, because they weren't in possession of the facts, and so when we are in possession of the facts, it follows there must be a second choice.

Michael Heseltine is a Conservative peer and a former deputy prime minister.

As told to Anoosh Chakelian.

This article first appeared in the 30 March 2017 issue of the New Statesman, Wanted: an opposition