Ed Balls clashes with guest when he refers to him by his wife Yvette Cooper’s surname

The Good Morning Britain presenter and Quentin Letts were discussing the Rwanda bill

Jabed Ahmed
Thursday 21 March 2024 18:23 GMT
Ed Balls clashes with journalist over 'patronising' comment about marriage to Yvette Cooper

Good Morning Britain presenter Ed Balls was involved in a heated exchange when a guest referred to him as “Mr Cooper”.

Journalist Quentin Letts said he found it “tricky” discussing the Rwanda bill as Mr Balls is married to Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary.

The former Chancellor blasted the comment as “patronising”, adding that he wasn’t trying to debate him but ask him a question.

Mr Letts said: “It’s a bit tricky discussing this with Ed presenting the programme, given that his wife is the Shadow Home Secretary, but...” interrupting him, the GMB presenter asked him why he thought answering the question was tricky.

Mr Balls continued to speak about the controversial Rwanda scheme and asked another question before the Daily Mail journalist called him “Mr Cooper”.

Mr Balls replied: “Why do you keep saying that? Isn’t that a really patronising thing? You are making a big thing of it, you’ve made remarks twice.

“It’s really patronising to me, of course it is, the idea that I can’t ask you questions on this television programme because I’m married to somebody who has a role in politics.

“In my experience, people who make those kinds of taunts are people who find it hard to answer the questions, why don’t you answer the question and stop playing silly politics?”

Ed Balls and Quentin Letts went head to head on GMB (Good Morning Britain, ITV)

Mr Letts insisted he was trying to answer the question, before adding: “I was trying to say to you I think the Tories will not get a benefit from this, but you wouldn’t let me.”

Mr Balls replied: “No I did, I interrupted you when you called me Mr Cooper and made a slur on my integrity rather than answering the questions, answer the questions and don’t slander me.”

On Wednesday night, Rishi Sunak’s Rwanda deportation plan was hit by further delays after defiant peers dug their heels in and inflicted a fresh defeat against the controversial policy.

The House of Lords voted by 271 to 228, a majority of 43, to press their demand that the legislation has “due regard” for domestic and international law.

The latest government setback means a continuation of the stand-off at Westminster over the proposed law that aims to clear the way to send asylum seekers who cross the Channel in small boats on a one-way flight to Kigali.

On Thursday it was announced MPs will consider Lords amendments to the Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill on 15 April.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in