“I had a brief chat with Ed Balls, unaware that he had said on TV yesterday morning that his 'personal' view was that the Iraq inquiry should have been more open than the one announced by Gordon Brown. As I said here the other day, the question of whether the inquiry is private or public is not as simple and straightforward as GB's critics are making out. But what is strange is that a member of the Cabinet, and one so close to the PM, should not be supporting him, totally, one hundred per cent, at this time, on a contentious issue. He must have heard GB's arguments in the Commons.
Ed Balls has been at the front of the queue in calling for unity around GB, and was always quick to get on the phone in the days when I was in Number 10, if anyone said anything on the economy that veered from the GB view, so this seemed a very odd intervention. If it was a deliberate move related to positioning or garnering support, it is worse than that.” Much the same thing happened towards the end of the Major government, Cabinet ministers started readying themselves for the leadership contest that they knew would follow a defeat.