Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. Ed Miliband can only create a fairer Britain with Europe's help (Guardian)

Labour's energy price freeze must be the start of a wider battle with organised capital – but the party can't win on its own, says Peter Wilby.

2. Cameron must shake up the No 10 shambles (Times)

The Prime Minister should follow Obama’s example and put an enforcer at the heart of his government, says John McTernan. 

3. Mandela has been sanitised by hypocrites and apologists (Guardian)

The ANC liberation hero has been reinvented as a Kumbaya figure in order to whitewash those who stood behind apartheid, says Seumas Milne. 

4. Universal Credit: politicians always pay a price for trying to change the world (Daily Telegraph)

Obamacare and Iain Duncan Smith's visionary Universal Credit are both struggling, but only the latter may prevail, says Peter Oborne. 

5. The Liberal Democrats are not lurching to the left or the right (Independent)

Unlike the Conservatives, our long term fiscal approach will be informed by the need to maintain good public services, says Danny Alexander. 

6. No one is immune from Beijing’s power (Financial Times)

Foreign companies once had much leverage, but the new reality is that China has the whip hand, says David Pilling. 

7. Who will win the Ukrainian tug-of-war? (Times)

The country really is at a crossroads: one path points to the EU, the other to one dictated by Russia, writes David Aaronovitch. 

8. If our politicians were brave enough, they would follow Uruguay's lead and legalise cannabis (Independent)

For the criminal underworld, the "war on drugs" is an extraordinary money-spinner, writes Owen Jones. 

9. Give Lady Ashton the credit she deserves (Daily Telegraph)

It’s hard not to suspect that gender has played a part in the treatment of the EU’s power broker, says Sue Cameron. 

10. Why do private schools still attract the most memorable teachers? (Guardian)

It's not surprising that Alan Bennett's The History Boys is Britain's most popular play, writes Martin Kettle. The unfairness within our education system endures.

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.