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Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. Booming Britain running smoothly? Don't believe the hype just yet (Guardian)

Growth figures will show a rise in output, but despite Bank of England repairs, the economic model may yet run out of road, warns Larry Elliott. 

2. Don’t lose heart. There are ways of defeating Ukip (Times)

Trust the people, says John McTernan. They don’t get it wrong. They know a bad argument when they hear it.

3. China’s crisis is coming (Financial Times)

The longer the economy stays unbalanced, the worse the outcome will be, says Prasenjit Basu. 

4. Stand with Lenny Henry, not just against Ukip's bigots (Guardian)

It is easy to get angry over racism when it is overt, but let's not forget the scandal that gave rise to the Henwood outburst, says Owen Jones.

5. Why Janet Yellen and the Federal Reserve should make workers’ wage growth into a target (Independent)

Wage inflation should be used as an additional target for monetary policy by the US central bank, says David Blanchflower. 

6. To Birmingham and Beyond (Times)

The case for new high-speed rail links between London and the north is strong, says a Times editorial. The interests of a few must not derail it.

7. There’s a simple solution to this Euro-elections sham (Daily Telegraph)

Westminster politicians are well placed to do a good job in Brussels and Strasbourg, writes Boris Johnson.

8. America’s compulsive urge to regulate (Financial Times)

With its spider’s web of local and federal rules, the US is swinging back to intrusion, writes Edward Luce.

9. Abbas’s recognition that the Holocaust was a ‘heinous crime’ was a goodwill gesture Netanyahu is ungracious to spurn (Independent)

If progress is ever to be made towards ending the conflict, this dialogue has to stop, says an Independent editorial. 

10. Ten years of Clegg? Let's all get ready to emigrate (Daily Mail)

More than with most senior politicians, you feel the political positions he adopts accord with European rather than UK tastes, writes Peter McKay. 

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.