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Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. One by one, Labour is losing the arguments (Times)

Because Ed Miliband never apologised for overspending he may never convince voters that he’ll keep control of their taxes, says Philip Collins. 

2. Older people vote – that's why George Osborne's budget is for them (Guardian)

Less than half our younger generation go to the polls, writes Polly Toynbee. So it's no surprise the chancellor is increasingly hanging them out to dry.

3. Russia’s test for America’s odd couple (Financial Times)

Ukraine presents both danger and opportunity to the analyst Obama and the activist Kerry, says Philip Stephens. 

4. The Budget brings out the worst in Labour thinking (Daily Telegraph)

Ed Miliband and Ed Balls decided to bow out of debating any of the actual announcements - preferring to talk about previous Budgets, writes Isabel Hardman. 

5. Popular Funds (Times)

The Chancellor is right to trust people with their own money when it comes to pensions, says a Times editorial. 

6. Politics is in new territory after George Osborne’s pensions revolution (Daily Telegraph)

The zero era of cheap debt endures, but the welfare state may never be quite the same again, says Fraser Nelson. 

7. Tourism overwhelms the world's historic places, but pays no dues (Guardian)

As Venice overturns a ban on giant cruise liners, it is clear that the places people flock to are incapable of preserving themselves, writes Simon Jenkins. 

8. This Spanish initiative should be a lesson to us all (Independent)

Diasporas are a terrible menace, as the Israelis know to their cost, writes Peter Popham. 

9. Bumpy ride for the makers as Budget's lack of consistency could hinder long-term investments (Daily Mail)

If there is a criticism to be made about Osborne’s Budget for the makers it is that it lacks consistency, says Alex Brummer. 

10. Pensioners will have the freedom to spend their savings as they wish – but where will this ‘free, impartial’ advice come from? (Independent)

The Treasury must have remembered the mis-selling scandals of the mid-1990s, writes Andreas Whittam Smith. 

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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.