POLITICS

Ed Balls' Football Skills On Show As Labour MPs Lose 4-0 To Journalists (PICTURES)

22/09/2013 15:42 BST | Updated 22/09/2013 15:45 BST

The Labour Party conference has got underway - but the party's MPs were thrashed in their annual football match against journalists.

The MPs were led as usual by shadow chancellor Ed Balls.

But their side, also featuring frontbenchers Jim Murphy, Andy Burnham and Sadiq Khan, were soundly beaten 4-0 by lobby journalists at the Sussex County FA ground in Lancing.

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MPs playing football

All the goals were scored by Sky News' Ramzi Bedj Bedj - who terrorised the Labour defence throughout and also missed twice from close range.

The first period was tightly contested, with the journalists struggling to break down the partnership between Murphy and shadow pensions minister Gregg McClymont in the middle of the park.

But after the deadlock was broken on the stroke of half-time, the momentum was always firmly with the Lobby.

Balls' attempts to make an impact were thwarted by solid defending from the Western Morning News's Graeme Demianyk and former Daily Telegraph political editor Andy Porter.

Long-term Lobby captain Patrick Hennessy was given the man-of-the-match award in recognition of his contribution over more than two decades. He is leaving the Sunday Telegraph to become a Labour spin doctor next month.

McClymont was named the politicians' best player for the game, which was sponsored by National Grid and Mars.