POLITICS
18/03/2015 12:13 GMT | Updated 19/03/2015 12:59 GMT

Budget 2015: Danny Alexander Fails To Get Ed Balls To Shake His Hand: 'Come On Ed, Shake It'

SkyNews

Live on Sky News this afternoon, Danny Alexander tried to force Ed Balls to agree to a three-way televised chancellors debate. But failed.

The Lib Dem chief secretary to the Treasury was involved in a spirited ding-dong with the shadow chancellor in a joint post-Budget appearance on the channel. Alexander, accusing Balls of being "vague" on Labour's policies, stuck out his hand and asked Balls to shake it and agree to a election debate. "Perhaps you and I could debate this," he said. "A three-way debate, if you and I shake. Come on Ed, shake on it."

However Balls laughed and made sure his hands went no where near Alexander's grasp.

Alexander said: "I don't know why he is willing to sign up to a debate with George Osborne but he is running away from a debate with me."

On Sunday, Balls successfully ambushed Osborne on the Andrew Marr show into shaking his hand on a head-to-head chancellors debate.

Today, Balls told Alexander he was happy to take part in a debate with all the parties Treasury spokespeople, but he wanted a head-to-head with Osborne as well. "I want a debate with the two serious parties, the two parties where the chancellor will come from. I'm not going to let George Osborne off the hook."

Balls told Osborne on Sunday: "George is not a coward. David Cameron doesn't want a head-to-head with Ed Miliband but I'm very happy - I will have a head-to-head debate, just the two of us, the potential chancellors during the election campaign. He added: "You can say now - are you up for it?"

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