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Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. Why am I being blamed for Nigel Evans sex case? (Daily Telegraph)

I was unwilling to be a hypocrite and turn a blind eye, says Sarah Wollaston.

2. I agree with Nick. He’s making a difference (Times)

By stopping the Tory right, the Deputy Prime Minister should be applauded by all liberal voters, says Philip Collins. 

3. Politically Scotland has already left the union behind (Financial Times)

In many ways the country is so unlike England as to resemble a separate state, writes Janan Ganesh. 

4. Help to Work is a costly way of punishing the jobless (Guardian)

The better the employment figures, the more eager the government is to tighten the screws on those still unemployed, writes Polly Toynbee. 

5. The bust is over. So, too, are the boom years (Times)

Global investors don’t expect strong growth in the years ahead and that’s why they have been selling over-priced stocks, writes Stephanie Flanders. 

6. It’s time Cameron showed Scots that England does care (Daily Telegraph)

Tory indifference and Labour infighting have made heavy work of the pro-Union campaign, writes Benedict Brogan. 

7. Why Labour won't stop talking about the cost of living crisis (Guardian)

We have got the ideas to mend the broken link between the wealth of the country and people's own finances, writes Ed Balls. 

8. A Ministry for Complaints might sound like something out of Monty Python, but if it improves public services, bring it on (Independent)

I am still waiting for a refund I claimed from a train company a year ago, writes Steve Richards. 

9. London has become a citadel, sealed off from the rest of Britain (Guardian)

Ukip and Scottish nationalism are symptoms of public hostility to the overweening power and dominance of the capital, says John Harris. 

10. An undue chill greets Iran’s nuclear spring (Financial Times)

A Tehran with a stake in settling the Middle East’s lethal problems could be transformative, writes David Gardner. 

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.