Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. What does Mr Cameron believe in? His own ministers aren't sure (Observer)

The Tory leader's lack of deep convictions has been good for coalition relations, but bad for dealing with his party, says Andrew Rawnsley.

2. Of course a privileged background matters, and it's not the politics of envy to say so (Sunday Telegraph)

Tories addressing social mobility must accept the scale of the problem, writes Matthew d'Ancona.

3. The big freeze is here, so George cosies up to voters (Mail on Sunday)

Osborne knows that his challenge is to show that the proceeds of growth will be shared, writes James Forsyth.

4. It’s getting better; the Tories just can’t convince us (Sunday Times)

Major, Miliband, Milburn — not one of them is making it any easier for the prime minister to frame the argument his way, writes Adam Boulton.

5. Interest rates rules have been turned upside (Independent on Sunday)

A rise is expected next year, making savers happy and plunging the heavily mortgaged into despair, writes Hamish McRae.

6. The one place we don’t need a visionary leader: on the throne (Sunday Times)

There was another King Charles who believed that his divine right trumped all other opinions, writes Dominic Lawson. It did not end well.

7. George Osborne, call yourself a Tory when you fritter taxes? (Observer)

The chancellor's reckless use of taxpayers' money to boost borrowing on housing is anti-Conservative and will end in disaster, says Nick Cohen.

8. No more evasion and prevarication – Britain's elite must be held to account (Observer)

The blocking of the Chilcot report underlines how the powerful shield their activities from the public, says Henry Porter.

9. Maoist class war wrecked our state schools (Sunday Telegraph)

For too long teachers have thought it wrong to transmit 'posh' standards of literate speech, says Janet Daley.

10. Typhoon Haiyan shows the heat is on for our climate - but Britain has lost its leading role (Sunday Mirror)

Energy Secretary Ed Davey is trying to do the right thing but is opposed by Tories who’d rather listen to Top Gear than top scientists, says John Prescott.
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PMQs review: Jeremy Corbyn turns "the nasty party" back on Theresa May

The Labour leader exploited Conservative splits over disability benefits.

It didn't take long for Theresa May to herald the Conservatives' Copeland by-election victory at PMQs (and one couldn't blame her). But Jeremy Corbyn swiftly brought her down to earth. The Labour leader denounced the government for "sneaking out" its decision to overrule a court judgement calling for Personal Independence Payments (PIPs) to be extended to those with severe mental health problems.

Rather than merely expressing his own outrage, Corbyn drew on that of others. He smartly quoted Tory backbencher Heidi Allen, one of the tax credit rebels, who has called on May to "think agan" and "honour" the court's rulings. The Prime Minister protested that the government was merely returning PIPs to their "original intention" and was already spending more than ever on those with mental health conditions. But Corbyn had more ammunition, denouncing Conservative policy chair George Freeman for his suggestion that those "taking pills" for anxiety aren't "really disabled". After May branded Labour "the nasty party" in her conference speech, Corbyn suggested that the Tories were once again worthy of her epithet.

May emphasised that Freeman had apologised and, as so often, warned that the "extra support" promised by Labour would be impossible without the "strong economy" guaranteed by the Conservatives. "The one thing we know about Labour is that they would bankrupt Britain," she declared. Unlike on previous occasions, Corbyn had a ready riposte, reminding the Tories that they had increased the national debt by more than every previous Labour government.

But May saved her jibe of choice for the end, recalling shadow cabinet minister Cat Smith's assertion that the Copeland result was an "incredible achivement" for her party. "I think that word actually sums up the Right Honourable Gentleman's leadership. In-cred-ible," May concluded, with a rather surreal Thatcher-esque flourish.

Yet many economists and EU experts say the same of her Brexit plan. Having repeatedly hailed the UK's "strong economy" (which has so far proved resilient), May had better hope that single market withdrawal does not wreck it. But on Brexit, as on disability benefits, it is Conservative rebels, not Corbyn, who will determine her fate.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.