Ed Miliband and Ed Balls knew about the financial crash a year before it happened – and urged then Prime Minister Gordon Brown to call a snap election knowing it was the only way Labour could hold on to power, it has been revealed. Labour sources have not denied the claims.
In a new book by the former Labour mayor of Doncaster Martin Winter and serialised by the Daily Mail, Ed is described as cerebral yet incompetent, a product of the academic and political elite who “struggles with everyday challenges and seems to know little about the values or lifestyles of ordinary working-class people”.
Winter, who recounts how he got Miliband elected in Doncaster in return for a seat in the lords, describes bumbling catastrophes that befell the future leader of the Labour party during his nine and a half week stay in Mr Winter’s household. Within days of moving into the family’s home Ed has to be shown how to shut the front door by one of the children, almost kills himself by setting fire to the office carpet, and is then outwitted by the three children and ends up paying them £400 for an evening’s work stuffing envelopes.
The latter escapade prompts Mr Winter’s partner, Carolyne, to muse “I can’t believe that Marcey’s [the couple’s ten year old daughter] just turned over the chief economic adviser to Gordon Brown.” Mr Winters comments “If he can’t cope with our Marcey, how’s he going to cope when it’s Vladimir Putin on the other side of the negotiating table?”
But amid all the farce there is a bombshell revelation: Ed Balls pushed Gordon Brown for a snap general election in 2007 because the economy was about to crash, and he and Miliband believed that an early election offered the best chance for Labour to hold on to power.
Speaking to the Mail, Winter said: “People are entitled to know the truth about a man who wants to be Prime Minister. My partner Carolyne and I know him better than most Labour MPs – he lived with us and we made him an MP.
“We also know that he cannot be trusted. In 2007, he told both of us in our sitting room that the economy was going to “fall off a cliff” a year before it did – and that Labour had cynically planned an early General Election for that reason.
“Labour attack dogs may try to deny it – just like they did when in 2008 Alistair Darling was Chancellor and said the crash was coming. But they are wasting their time. Carolyne was present with me when Ed Miliband said it and she has been a card-carrying member of the party since she was 18.”
Ten months after letting the couple in on the information, Chancellor Alistair Darling warned that Britain was facing its biggest economic crisis in 60 years. At the time Brown’s attack dogs, led by Ed Balls, denounced Darling, but just one month on Lehman Brothers collapsed, sparking the economic meltdown.
The couple are adamant: Miliband told them “Ed Balls was desperate for us to go now… The simple fact is the economy is going to fall off a cliff and this was our best chance of winning. The economy is going to get a hell of a lot worse over the next two or three years and we’ll get the blame for it; so it was either going now and risk losing or wait and know that we’re going to lose,” they have said.
It’s a charge that Labour aides to Miliband have not denied. Instead they have attempted to dismiss the claim as “a third-hand report of a conversation more than seven years ago – its ancient history. We are concentrating on the 2015 Election.”
A spokesman for Balls has said: “Everyone knows Ed Balls wanted an early Election in 2007, but the economy was nothing to do with it.” Only Gordon Brown’s people have denied the claim, merely stating that they are “untrue”.
However, the comments have been seized on by Miliband’s opponents, with Chancellor George Osborne saying “The political cynicism and opportunism of Ed Balls and Ed Miliband has been exposed. This first-hand account shows Balls and Miliband were more interested in saving their own skins than saving the British economy.”