POLITICS
16/06/2015 14:16 BST | Updated 16/06/2015 14:59 BST

George Osborne: 'I Never Thought I'd Say Bring Back Ed Balls'

Dan Kitwood/PA Archive
Chancellor George Osborne and former Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls before the election

They were foes across the Dispatch Box but George Osborne appears to be missing Ed Balls.

The Chancellor going toe-to-toe with the former Labour MP was a regular highlight in Parliament.

But after Mr Balls was ousted at the election, he was replaced as Shadow Chancellor by his deputy, Chris Leslie. The Chancellor appears to think this does not pass muster.

During Treasury Questions today, Mr Leslie asked twice about the UK economy's struggling productivity and why Mr Osborne would not be fronting a debate on the issue (he is in fact on Prime Minister's Questions duty).

"I never thought I'd say bring back Ed Balls, but ...," he said to raucous laughter.

"I think the Labour Party needs to look at the productivity of its own front bench after those two dismal questions."

ed balls george osborne

George Osborne laughs at Ed Balls dressed as Santa Claus at a Christmas party for MPs' children in the House of Commons

During the session, the Chancellor struck a more sombre tone when he warned of the "economic risks" posed by Greece potentially defaulting on its debts.

"Out there in the real world there are some very serious economic risks," he told MPs. "Not least the risk we now see in Greece of a potential default and a potential exit from the euro.

"People should not under-estimate the potential damage that would do to financial confidence."