Ed Balls admits: 'I didn’t persuade people I could be the Chancellor'

Former shadow Chancellor also said he would not be returning to politics

Click to follow

Former shadow chancellor Ed Balls has admitted that his own unpopularity may have contributed to the Labour party’s defeat in the general election.

Mr Balls, who lost his Morley and Outwood seat in the election, said he was retiring from politics in his first interview following his defeat with the Guardian.

However, the former shadow chancellor refused to say whether the departure was permanent, telling the newspaper: “You never say never about anything, because who knows what’s going to happen”.

He added that "outside of politics is where I am going next".

Mr Balls, a Labour heavyweight since he worked for Gordon Brown in 1994, said that despite backing former Labour leader Ed Miliband “100 per cent” he wanted to be “more pro-business” during the campaign.

Speaking about the campaign he added: “In the end he [Ed Miliband] didn’t persuade people he could be the prime minister, but I didn’t persuade people I could be the chancellor, either.”

He also admitted that had he said that the party should have run a surplus before the crash it would have made a “small difference,” but insisted that it would not have prevented the crash.

Mr Balls declined to give a full account of where he felt that the Labour campaign had strayed, instead claiming that it was too early for a full explanation of what went wrong.