Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. The rush to judgment on Syria is a catastrophic and deadly error (Daily Telegraph)

Britain and America show contempt for the lessons of the past in pressing for action, says Peter Oborne. 

2. Today Ed Miliband can speak for Britain on Syria (Guardian)

The UK parliament has more power than many realise, writes Martin Kettle. A Labour leader told to show boldness now has a chance to so.

3. Cameron risks a war with his own party (Daily Mail)

Despite his bellicose rhetoric, there are also serious reservations over the Prime Minister’s chosen course of action among his own cabinet ministers, writes Simon Heffer. 

4. The Syrian regime cannot use chemical weapons without being punished (Guardian)

If, as seems certain, the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons there is no choice but to take military action with or without a UN mandate, says Malcolm Rifkind. 

5. We need regime change, not a wrist slap (Times)

‘Punitive strikes’ don’t work, writes Roger Boyes. The only way to protect the suffering Syrian people is to rid them of Bashar Assad.

6. Syria - not quite like the run-up to Iraq... but not that different either (Independent)

The contrast ceases when it comes to the evasive justifications for military intervention, writes Steve Richards.

7. If our MPs still have any doubts, they've a moral duty to vote no (Daily Mail)

MPs should be asking themselves today and over the coming weekend if there’s a danger that attacking Syria will cause more suffering than it can possibly prevent, says a Daily Mail editorial.

8. Even if Assad used chemical weapons, the west has no mandate to act as a global policeman (Guardian)

By ordering air strikes against Syria without UN security council support, Obama will be doing the same as Bush in 2003, writes Hans Blix.

9. Without HS2 our railways will be full to bursting (Times)

The government will not suddenly spend on commuter lines, says Daniel Knowles. 

10. Whitehall offers transparency by the overstuffed truckload (Daily Telegraph)

The facts and figures of government are all there, if only we knew how to find them, writes Sue Cameron. 

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I believe only Yvette Cooper has the breadth of support to beat Jeremy Corbyn

All the recent polling suggests Andy Burnham is losing more votes than anyone else to Jeremy Corbyn, says Diana Johnson MP.

Tom Blenkinsop MP on the New Statesman website today says he is giving his second preference to Andy Burnham as he thinks that Andy has the best chance of beating Jeremy.

This is on the basis that if Yvette goes out first all her second preferences will swing behind Andy, whereas if Andy goes out first then his second preferences, due to the broad alliance he has created behind his campaign, will all or largely switch to the other male candidate, Jeremy.

Let's take a deep breath and try and think through what will be the effect of preferential voting in the Labour leadership.

First of all, it is very difficult to know how second preferences will switch. From my telephone canvassing there is some rather interesting voting going on, but I don't accept that Tom’s analysis is correct. I have certainly picked up growing support for Yvette in recent weeks.

In fact you can argue the reverse of Tom’s analysis is true – Andy has moved further away from the centre and, as a result, his pitch to those like Tom who are supporting Liz first is now narrower. As a result, Yvette is more likely to pick up those second preferences.

Stats from the Yvette For Labour team show Yvette picking up the majority of second preferences from all candidates – from the Progress wing supporting Liz to the softer left fans of Jeremy – and Andy's supporters too. Their figures show many undecideds opting for Yvette as their first preference, as well as others choosing to switch their first preference to Yvette from one of the other candidates. It's for this reason I still believe only Yvette has the breadth of support to beat Jeremy and then to go on to win in 2020.

It's interesting that Andy has not been willing to make it clear that second preferences should go to Yvette or Liz. Yvette has been very clear that she would encourage second preferences to be for Andy or Liz.

Having watched Andy on Sky's Murnaghan show this morning, he categorically states that Labour will not get beyond first base with the electorate at a general election if we are not economically credible and that fundamentally Jeremy's economic plans do not add up. So, I am unsure why Andy is so unwilling to be clear on second preferences.

All the recent polling suggests Andy is losing more votes than anyone else to Jeremy. He trails fourth in London – where a huge proportion of our electorate is based.

So I would urge Tom to reflect more widely on who is best placed to provide the strongest opposition to the Tories, appeal to the widest group of voters and reach out to the communities we need to win back. I believe that this has to be Yvette.

The Newsnight focus group a few days ago showed that Yvette is best placed to win back those former Labour voters we will need in 2020.

Labour will pay a massive price if we ignore this.

Diana Johnson is the Labour MP for Hull North.