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Did yesterday show that Ed Balls should be leader?

March 31st, 2011

Will Cameron’s insult help his chances?

Yesterday’s PMQ encounter between David Cameron and Ed Balls has continued to reverberate and I wonder whether it could have a long-term impact.

For Cameron’s comments about Balls being ” the most annoying” is a tag that looks as though it will stick but I don’t think it will harm Balls – rather the reverse in fact. He, yet again, showed himself to be the most robust attacker of the Tories and the coalition and in opposition that’s a pretty good reputation to have.

During Labour’s long leadership campaign I argued on a number of occasions that Balls was the one the party should choose. This is what I wrote in June on the morning after the Newsnight debate:

“.. I’m even more convinced that the only one capable of being an effective leader of the opposition is Ed Balls. He’s sharp, shameless and a fighter. One response last night said it all. The five were asked to say who their favourite former Labour leader was. Balls, who was Brown’s comrade in arms for so long, replied “Tony Blair”.

That must have really hurt his old boss but encapsulates how Balls is dealing with the one serious question mark about him – his linkage to Gordon…”

I’ve no idea when there will be a contest for Labour leader but when it comes Balls should be in with a good shout – yesterday’s attack by Cameron will help him.

Ladbrokes has Balls as the 8/1 third favourite. His wife, Yvette Cooper, is at 3/1.

Mike Smithson