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Further disarray for party

Balls attacks Miliband’s approach to business

Ed BallsFormer shadow chancellor Ed Balls, who lost his seat in the Labour party’s rout in May, has criticised its approach to business under Ed Miliband’s leadership.

Mr Balls said in an interview that he grew increasingly concerned about Labour’s anti-business rhetoric in the run-up to the General Election. He had not been in the “core campaign team” around Mr Miliband.

He said he had supported the energy price freeze pledge, even though he thought it allowed the party to be seen as “anti-business”.

He told The Daily Telegraph: “What I didn’t like was the language giving the impression that energy companies are the bad guys,” he said.

“If you allow yourself to be anti-business, or anti-bank or anti-energy company, people think, ‘Hang on a second, you have to work with these people if you want to govern.'”

Mr Balls said he had to “take it on the chin” that he had not been able to persuade people he could run the economy.

He lost his Morley and Outwood seat in West Yorkshire to Conservative Andrea Jenkyns by 422 votes.

He revealed that among the messages of consolation he received after his defeat was a “very nice” text from Chancellor George Osborne.

The former adviser to Gordon Brown said he would not be returning to front-line politics.

“I’m not going to the House of Lords, and I’m not planning to go back to the Commons,” he said.

“It’s a new chapter for me and there will be something for me outside politics.”

Since the election he has turned down offers of work except for part-time academic posts at Harvard in the US and at the London School of Economics.

He said he had also declined an offer to appear on ITV’s I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!

His wife Yvette Cooper is among the candidates to succeed Mr Miliband but the left winger Jeremy Corbyn remains well ahead. He is backed by several of Britain’s biggest unions, who played a key role in Mr Miliband’s election in 2010.

Jack Straw, the former home secretary, warned yesterday that the party faced “oblivion” if it decided to return to the “comfort zone of far-Left politics”.

 

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