Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. Britain's railways have become mere outposts of other nations' empires (Guardian)

Travel chaos is the least of our problems, says John Harris. An industry that once embodied national pride has been sold for other states to benefit.

2. No end to the euro crisis in sight (Financial Times)

The scale of the required adjustment is enormous and the IMF does not believe it will happen, says Wolfgang Münchau.

3. Educating Yorkshire can teach Michael Gove something about teachers (Daily Mirror)

When Gove has seen Mr Burton help cure young Mushy’s stammer, he should have the guts to apologise to our teachers, says Kevin Maguire. 

4. Green taxes will cut our bills as well as saving energy (Guardian)

By encouraging the energy companies to diversify away from fossil fuels, we'll be able to save £166 per year by 2020, writes Chris Huhne.

5. Obamacare glitches are no mere hiccup (Financial Times)

The US president has been caught serially off guard by recent crises, from Syria to spying, writes Edward Luce.

6. The Grangemouth dispute makes it clear who really runs the country (Independent)

Employers have used the financial crisis to strip workers of security, rights and power, says Owen Jones

7. They’re playing politics with progress (Daily Telegraph)

Labour's dithering over the HS2 project bears all the hallmarks of a classic Westminster fudge, says Dan Hodges. And that's just what the party wants.

8. The flood of 1914-18 memorabilia has begun – and it will break your heart (Independent)

A pan-European digital library has collected 500,000 mementos, writes Robert Fisk.

9. United Nations: in our common interest (Guardian)

If we want to make a better job of life on the planet, we should try harder to make a greater success of the UN, says a Guardian editorial.

10. Let the public see the crowning glory of our heritage (Times)

Displaying the Royal Collection at St James’s Palace would enrich London culturally and economically, writes Andrew Adonis.

Grant Shapps on the campaign trail. Photo: Getty
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Grant Shapps resigns over Tory youth wing bullying scandal

The minister, formerly party chairman, has resigned over allegations of bullying and blackmail made against a Tory activist. 

Grant Shapps, who was a key figure in the Tory general election campaign, has resigned following allegations about a bullying scandal among Conservative activists.

Shapps was formerly party chairman, but was demoted to international development minister after May. His formal statement is expected shortly.

The resignation follows lurid claims about bullying and blackmail among Tory activists. One, Mark Clarke, has been accused of putting pressure on a fellow activist who complained about his behaviour to withdraw the allegation. The complainant, Elliot Johnson, later killed himself.

The junior Treasury minister Robert Halfon also revealed that he had an affair with a young activist after being warned that Clarke planned to blackmail him over the relationship. Former Tory chair Sayeedi Warsi says that she was targeted by Clarke on Twitter, where he tried to portray her as an anti-semite. 

Shapps appointed Mark Clarke to run RoadTrip 2015, where young Tory activists toured key marginals on a bus before the general election. 

Today, the Guardian published an emotional interview with the parents of 21-year-old Elliot Johnson, the activist who killed himself, in which they called for Shapps to consider his position. Ray Johnson also spoke to BBC's Newsnight:


The Johnson family claimed that Shapps and co-chair Andrew Feldman had failed to act on complaints made against Clarke. Feldman says he did not hear of the bullying claims until August. 

Asked about the case at a conference in Malta, David Cameron pointedly refused to offer Shapps his full backing, saying a statement would be released. “I think it is important that on the tragic case that took place that the coroner’s inquiry is allowed to proceed properly," he added. “I feel deeply for his parents, It is an appalling loss to suffer and that is why it is so important there is a proper coroner’s inquiry. In terms of what the Conservative party should do, there should be and there is a proper inquiry that asks all the questions as people come forward. That will take place. It is a tragic loss of a talented young life and it is not something any parent should go through and I feel for them deeply.” 

Mark Clarke denies any wrongdoing.

Helen Lewis is deputy editor of the New Statesman. She has presented BBC Radio 4’s Week in Westminster and is a regular panellist on BBC1’s Sunday Politics.