Ed Balls is like Monty Python's Black Knight character for refusing to admit he was wrong about the economy, George Osborne said today.
The Chancellor mocked the shadow chancellor for insisting that the coalition's economic plan had failed, after revised gross domestic product (GDP) figures showed the UK economy had grown by 0.7 per cent in the second quarter of the year.
Referring to rumours of a possible reshuffle in the shadow cabinet, Mr Osborne joked: "Well, I hope this isn't our last encounter across the despatch box, because we're enjoying it."
Mr Osborne said during Treasury questions in the Commons: "We are enjoying the fact that you simply do not admit the mistakes you made, not only in office but in opposition. And I have to say he is increasingly like Monty Python's Black Knight defending that bridge.
"When unemployment falls he says it's but a scratch, when business confidence rises he says I've had worse, the recovery is just a flesh wound. The limbs are falling off his economic argument and it would be a comedy if it were not for the fact Labour's economic policies were a tragedy."
Mr Balls had said that the Chancellor failed to meet any of the tests he had set himself.
"On growth, on living standards, on the deficit - on every test the Chancellor set himself, his economic plan has failed. Since 2010, growth not 6.9 per cent, but 1.8 per cent; families not better off, but worse; and the deficit not down to £60 billion, but stuck at the £120 billion."
Looking around the chamber, he asked: "How on Earth can the Chancellor now claim his economic plan has worked?
"After three wasted and damaging years, doesn't he realise he can't airbrush out his failure?"