First his brother, now Ed Miliband's at war with Ed Balls

Shadow Chancellor believes an apology for overspending would boost David Cameron's attempts to blame Labour

Ed Balls has rejected demands from allies of Ed Miliband that he admit Labour spent too much when they were in power.

In a fresh sign of tension in the Labour leadership, the shadow Chancellor has ruled out making an apology for what the Conservatives describe as Labour's "overspending" during the Blair-Brown years.

A transcript obtained by The Independent shows that Mr Balls told Labour MPs at a private meeting on Monday night: "Our message has most resonance not when we try and distance ourselves from the past or when we defend our record, because people are most concerned about what is happening now."

After studying opinion polls and Labour focus groups, Mr Balls is convinced that the two most powerful opposition messages are that the Coalition is cutting "too far, too fast" and risks creating a "vicious circle" because the cuts will push people out of jobs and stall economic growth.

Last night, aides of Mr Balls and Mr Miliband insisted that there is no split between them over the party's economic strategy. However, some allies of the Labour leader claim Mr Balls does not want to "say sorry" for the high levels of spending under the last government because he was a key architect of Gordon Brown's policy. "We need to admit we didn't get as much value for money from the public spending as we should have got so the voters will give us a hearing and we can move on," one Shadow Cabinet member said.

Mr Balls believes that an apology would play into the Tories' hands, boosting David Cameron's attempts to blame Labour for the deficit and allowing him to point to Labour's admission at the next general election.

At Monday's meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP), Mr Balls surprised some MPs by not mentioning Mr Miliband's campaign to appeal to the "squeezed middle" and instead talking about the need to create jobs. Mr Balls' allies hit back, insisting that the shadow Chancellor's "here and now" argument about jobs complemented the Labour leader's more long-term strategy about living standards.

Mr Balls will develop his attack on the Government's strategy in a keynote speech at the London School of Economics tomorrow. It will be his response to the annual Mansion House speech tonight by George Osborne, the Chancellor.

The shadow Chancellor admits that Labour has a long way to go on the economy but believes the Opposition has shifted the argument from "there is no alternative" to "what is the alternative?"

According to the transcript, Mr Balls told the PLP: "Our line that you need jobs and growth to get the deficit down also resonates, as does the argument that the Tories are getting the economy into a vicious circle. People are worried when we tell them the Government is set to borrow £46bn more over the next few years because of slower growth, higher inflation, higher unemployment. But we need to do more to hammer home that message – and that's what shadow ministers will be doing over the coming months."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
News
Robert De Niro has walked off the set of Edge of Darkness
news The Godfather Part II actor has an estimated wealth of over $200m
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Sport
Robbie Savage will not face a driving ban
football
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Voices
voices
Life and Style
Nearly half of all young people in middle and high income countries were putting themselves at risk of tinnitus and, in extreme cases, irreversible hearing loss
health Nearly half of all young people in middle and high income countries are at risk of tinnitus
News
It was only when he left his post Tony Blair's director of communications that Alastair Campbell has published books
people The most notorious spin doctor in UK politics has reinvented himself with remarkable success
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in ‘I Am Michael’
filmJustin Kelly's latest film tells the story of a man who 'healed' his homosexuality and turned to God
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Public Service Broadcasting are going it alone
music
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

Recruitment Genius: Product Quality Assurance Technologist - Hardline & Electric

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role in this successful eco...

Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower