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Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. As Labour stalls, it’s time to bring on the new Balls (Daily Telegraph)

Far from blaming the shadow chancellor for "crashing the car", Ed Balls's party is giving him more power, writes Mary Riddell. 

2. Time for Draghi to open the sluice (Financial Times)

Markets are betting on indefinite austerity, writes Martin Wolf. If it comes to an end, the euro crisis could return.

3. The starry-eyed west is walking into Iran’s trap (Times)

Hassan Rouhani is the plausible front man for a regime still bent on building a nuclear bomb, writes Roger Boyes.

4. The Union is in better shape than we think (Daily Telegraph)

A series of faux pas by Scottish nationalists has cheered up the Better Together camp, says Alan Cochrane. 

5. Ed Miliband must give up his love of state intervention (Guardian)

The Labour leader's stance on AstraZeneca is beyond silly, writes Simon Jenkins. He needs a route map to cash in on the coalition's chaos.

6. Pfizer/AstraZeneca: prescription for failure (Guardian)

The case against a takeover by the US company is easy to make – and then there is the bigger industrial picture, says a Guardian editorial. 

7. Pfizer takeover needs a proper investigation (Daily Mail)

The attempted takeover is an issue of profound importance for British jobs, science and industry, says a Daily Mail editorial. 

8. How much you spend on a haircut holds the key to maintaining a stable economy in an era of low inflation (Independent)

Central banks will in future rely less on interest rates to try to stop bubbles, writes Hamish McRae.

9. The man who won a Nobel prize for parking (Times)

From crime to tuition fees, countless aspects of our lives are influenced by the late economist Gary Becker, writes Daniel Finkelstein. 

10. How a proud corporate history can lead to poor governance (Financial Times)

The Co-op and University of Oxford have fallen victim to failed governance structures, writes John Kay. 

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Jeremy Corbyn challenged by Labour MPs to sack Ken Livingstone from defence review

Former mayor of London criticised at PLP meeting over comments on 7 July bombings. 

After Jeremy Corbyn's decision to give Labour MPs a free vote over air strikes in Syria, tonight's Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) meeting was less fractious than it could have been. But one grandee was still moved to declare that the "ferocity" of the attacks on the leader made it the most "uplifting" he had attended.

Margaret Beckett, the former foreign secretary, told the meeting: "We cannot unite the party if the leader's office is determined to divide us." Several MPs said afterwards that many of those who shared Corbyn's opposition to air strikes believed he had mishandled the process by appealing to MPs over the heads of the shadow cabinet and then to members. David Winnick declared that those who favoured military action faced a "shakedown" and deselection by Momentum activists. "It is completely unacceptable. They are a party within a party," he said of the Corbyn-aligned group. The "huge applause" for Hilary Benn, who favours intervention, far outweighed that for the leader, I'm told. 

There was also loud agreement when Jack Dromey condemned Ken Livingstone for blaming Tony Blair's invasion of Iraq for the 7 July 2005 bombings. Along with Angela Smith MP, Dromey demanded that Livingstone be sacked as the co-chair of Labour's defence review. Significantly, Benn said aftewards that he agreed with every word Dromey had said. Corbyn's office has previously said that it is up to the NEC, not the leader, whether the former London mayor holds the position. In reference to 7 July, an aide repeated Corbyn's statement that he preferred to "remember the brilliant words Ken used after 7/7". 

As on previous occasions, MPs complained that the leader failed to answer the questions that were put to him. A shadow minister told me that he "dodged" one on whether he believed the UK should end air strikes against Isis in Iraq. In reference to Syria, a Corbyn aide said afterwards that "There was significant support for the leader. There was a wide debate, with people speaking on both sides of the arguments." After David Cameron's decision to call a vote on air strikes for Wednesday, leaving only a day for debate, the number of Labour MPs backing intervention is likely to fall. One shadow minister told me that as few as 40-50 may back the government, though most expect the total to be closer to the original figure of 99. 

At the end of another remarkable day in Labour's history, a Corbyn aide concluded: "It was always going to be a bumpy ride when you have a leader who was elected by a large number outside parliament but whose support in the PLP is quite limited. There are a small number who find it hard to come to terms with that result."

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.