We are currently trialling our new-look independent.co.uk website - please send any feedback to beta@independent.co.uk

UK Politics

'I couldn’t give a toss': Ed Balls dismisses speculation about ousting as shadow Chancellor


Ed Balls insisted on Sunday he “couldn’t give a toss” about speculation he could be ousted as shadow Chancellor.

Amid criticism of his response to George Osborne’s Autumn Statement, he argued that Labour was winning the big economic arguments, including its spotlight on falling living standards.

Mr Balls struggled to make himself heard above Tory barracking during a turbulent Commons session on Thursday, leading bookmakers to start taking bets on his sacking.

Mr Balls said: “That’s the nature of politics, they’re betting on David Cameron and George Osborne and Ed Miliband. It's just the way it is … Frankly, I couldn’t give a toss.”

He told Sky News he had “never been less bothered” than at any point during his 20-year political career about “gossip and tittle-tattle” over his performance.

Mr Balls added: “I have had people coming to me and saying, keep up the fight, because we need a Labour government because we’re getting worse off.”

Mr Miliband faced an embarrassing vote of no confidence on Sunday from a prominent Labour peer.

The film producer Lord Puttnam said he did not expect him to lead the party to an overall majority at the next election, describing his election as leader as “a considerable gift” to the Coalition parties.

Lord Puttnam, who backed Mr Miliband’s brother David in the 2010 leadership contest, forecast another hung parliament in 2015.

“Ed's done well, [but] David, in the last two years, as a leader would have been a much more difficult proposition. The day-to-day contest in Parliament would have been a lot tougher for Cameron and Clegg.”