Labour MPs should serve in Corbyn’s shadow cabinet if he wins again, Ed Balls says

The former shadow chancellor called for the return of shadow cabinet elections

Jon Stone
Sunday 04 September 2016 11:29
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Ed Balls appears on the Andrew Marr Show
Ed Balls appears on the Andrew Marr Show

Labour MPs should serve in Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet if elections are re-introduced for the body, Ed Balls has said.

The former shadow chancellor, who lost his seat at the 2015 general election, said the country was “crying out for a serious opposition to Theresa May”.

Though critical of Mr Corbyn, Mr Balls told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show that if the Labour leader once again won the ongoing leadership election “senior figures” should return to his shadow cabinet and accept the result.

“The result will be the result – that has to be accepted, and then debated,” he said, somewhat ambiguously.

“It is clear that there is a fundamental problem between Jeremy Corbyn and the relationship between the parliamentary Labour party.

“I think it is likely that the PLP will want elections to the shadow cabinet and in those circumstances I absolutely think senior people need to stand for election and serve as part of the Labour opposition.”

The former MP, who this weekend appeared on a television dancing programme, warned against a split in the Labour party, arguing that it would be a “catastrophe”.

He also criticised the new system for electing the Labour leader, introduced by Ed Miliband while he was shadow chancellor.

He suggested the opportunity for people to pay £3 to vote in the election had contributed to Labour’s current woes – but noted that supporters of Tony Blair and David Miliband had been the strongest proponents of the approach.

Mr Balls has a book coming out and has made a series of media appearances in the run-up to his launch where he was alluded to it.

Extracts from the autobiography serialised in The Times newspaper earlier this week warned that Mr Corbyn was indulging in a “leftist utopian fantasy” which was “devoid of connection to the reality of people's lives”.

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