James Forsyth

Balls says he’s spoken to McBride

Balls says he's spoken to McBride
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I’m not quite sure whether to give Ed Balls marks for honesty, not a phrase one writes often, for admitting that he is still in contact with Damian McBride or to say that it shows that the Brownites are loyal to each other not to any set of ideals or standards of behaviour. Certainly, Balls’ answer is more honest than his infamous attempt on the Today Programme to claim that he didn’t really know McBride any better than anyone else who had worked with him did.

Ed Balls tells Gaby Hinsliff that he has ‘Of course not’ discussed policy with McBride. But then again as the Red Rag emails showed there wasn’t much policy involved in some of McBride’s political work. 

PS Just for the record, here are the two answers that Brown has given at PMQs when asked if he has any contact with McBride:

Mr. Lee Scott (Ilford, North) (Con): Will the Prime Minister tell the House whether the Government have received any informal briefings from Damian McBride?

The Prime Minister: I have not.

James Duddridge (Rochford and Southend, East) (Con): Can the Prime Minister confirm whether he has had any correspondence, e-mail, telephone calls or texts from Damian McBride since the day he resigned, and just to clear up the confusion that there seems to be around this issue, will he write to the Parliamentary Standards Authority confirming the answer to this question?

The Prime Minister: The answer is no, but is it not amazing when we are discussing Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and other major issues that a Back Bencher can reduce himself to re-asking a question that was asked last week?


Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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