POLITICS

Ed Balls Says Tony Blair And Gordon Brown Relationship 'Ridiculous From The Start'

23/09/2013 19:48 BST
PA
Shadow chancellor Ed Balls as he addresses delegates on the second day of the Labour Party Annual Conference in Brighton.

Ed Balls has admitted the relationship between Gordon Brown and Tony Blair was "ridiculous from the start", as he sought to distance himself from the feud that consumed the last Labour government.

Speaking at a fringe event at the Labour Party conference in Brighton on Monday afternoon, the shadow chancellor revealed that at the last party conference before the 1997 election Blair and Brown only showed each other their speeches at the last minute.

"How could you be in a position where the shadow chancellor and leader of the Labour Party were not looking at each others speeches until the Sunday night before the speeches were delivered. It's totally ridiculous," he said.

He told the event hosted by The Independent: "It's only now I realise quite how ridiculous it was from the start. What a massive change we've made form then to now."

Balls said both men had wanted to end their speeches with the line "Labour's coming home", a reference to the Three Lions England football song. Blair had insisted he should get to use it as he was leader. While Brown had said he wanted to deliver it as his speech was first.

Both Balls and Miliband worked for Brown while he was chancellor and both men want to avoid being tainted by the poison of that era as well as insist Labour is no longer divided at the top as it once was.

The Labour conference has been consumed by the revelations by Brown's former enforcer Damian McBride about internal party wars. And Balls repeated his denial that he had ever tried to smear Labour colleagues by leaking negative stories about them to the press. He said: "I have never done or sanctioned any briefing against a shadow cabinet or cabinet colleague."