The Darling version: King and Balls savaged by ex-chancellor

Alistair Darling confirms that Gordon Brown tried to prise him out of the Treasury in 2009 to put Ed Balls in his place

Sir Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England, would have been sacked three years ago if the Labour government could have found another candidate.

The plan to make him the first governor in 50 years to be denied a second term in office is revealed in the forthcoming memoirs of the former chancellor Alistair Darling. Sir Mervyn ran into heavy criticism at the time of the collapse of Northern Rock in 2007 which presaged the worldwide banking crisis the following year. He was accused of being too slow to react after being privately warned of the bank's problems a month before the news broke.

In the ex-chancellor's memoirs, according to a leak published yesterday by the Labour Uncut website, Mr Darling describes the Governor as "amazingly stubborn and exasperating" and confirms that a plan to sack him in 2008 was abandoned only because they could not find a suitable alternative. He also criticises the "prickly and strained" relations between Mr King and the head of the Financial Services Authority, Adair Turner, as one of the reasons regulators failed to prevent the banking crash of 2008.

The memoirs will be a blow to Sir Mervyn's reputation as he battles to restore confidence in the economy. Earlier this month, he had to write to the present Chancellor, George Osborne, to explain why inflation is more than double the Government's target of 2 per cent. He has forecast that it will fall later in the year, and that the greater dangers are turbulence in the money markets and Europe's debt crisis, which could hit the UK's weakened economy. With these problems looming, it will not help Sir Mervyn to have the public reminded of his much-criticised handling of previous crises.

Other parts of Mr Darling's memoirs will come as unwelcome news for the Labour leadership as they prepare for their annual conference later this month, which will mark the end of Ed Miliband's first year as leader. Mr Darling adds extra detail to the unhappy story of Gordon Brown's doomed premiership, reinforcing the image of a suspicious and driven Prime Minister who seemed unable to work harmoniously with anyone except a handful of aides or former aides who gave him total loyalty.

But the most potentially damaging comments in the leaked extracts concern Ed Balls who, unlike Gordon Brown, is still an active politician and, as shadow Chancellor, is the second most important figure on Labour's current front bench. Mr Darling's memoirs confirm for the first time a widely rumoured story that Mr Brown tried to prise him out of the Treasury in 2009 to put Mr Balls in his place. Mr Darling was offered the chance of a different cabinet post, but insisted that he would either stay where he was or retire to the back benches, after which the Prime Minister relented.

The memoirs claim that Mr Balls then ran a shadow Treasury operation, with another of Gordon Brown's former advisers, the newly ennobled Shriti Vadera. Mr Darling's remarks echo those made by Tony Blair in his memoirs, published last year, in which the former prime minister acknowledged that Mr Balls was "really able" but complained that he "behaved badly at points, and was wrong on policy".

Mr Brown, who became increasingly "brutal and volcanic" in his dealings with his Chancellor, wanted to make Baroness Vadera a Treasury minister, but the Chancellor refused to have her on board because she was "only happy if there was blood on the floor – preferably that of her colleagues", Mr Darling wrote. But he accepted Yvette Cooper, the current shadow Home Secretary, as Chief Secretary to the Treasury although he understood that she had been put there to keep an eye on him.

The revelations were seized upon by the Tories, who hope to create trouble at the top of the Labour Party in the run-up to their annual conference. Party chairman Baroness Warsi said: "Alistair Darling's memoirs should give Ed Miliband some concerns about Ed Balls' suitability to be shadow Chancellor."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

C# .NET Software Developer (Client-Side, SQL, VB6, WinForms)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Software Developer (Client-Side, SQL, VB...

C# Developer (Genetic Algorithms, .NET 4.5, TDD, SQL, AI)

£40000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

C# Full Stack Developer (.NET 4.0, ASP.NET, MVC, Ajax, WCF,SQL)

£55000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Full Stack ...

AIFMD Business Analyst / Consultant - Investment Management

£450 - £600 per day: Harrington Starr: AIFMD Business Analyst / Consultant - I...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?