A Tory MP on the Treasury select committee says George Osborne “obviously made a mistake” in accusing Ed Balls over the Libor scandal and “should apologise”.
A Tory member of the Treasury select committee has said George Osborne “obviously made a mistake” in accusing Ed Balls over the Libor scandal and “should apologise”.
Andrea Leadsom told Radio Four’s The World Tonight:
“I think obviously he made a mistake and I think he should apologise to him.”
Leadsom’s comments follow the the chancellor’s interview in the Spectator and the rowdy scenes during last Thursday’s Commons debate on what form an inquiry into banking should take. Late last week, as reported on Left Foot Forward, it was revealed several Tories are “unnerved” by the chancellor’s “disproportionate obsession” with his opposite number.
Leadsom herself had said the name-calling was “a great shame”, adding:
“I don’t think it’s helpful.”
One Tory said Osborne’s obsession with Balls and ‘Whitehall sources’ was a “red herring”, that “there was no smoking gun”, while other comments made by Tories on his behaviour include:
“People want us to sort out the effing banks, not worry about what Ed Balls might have said four years ago.”
“When are we going to get a chancellor who is not part time? You can’t run the sixth largest economy in the world with a mate-ocracy.”
And in Saturday’s Telegraph, leading conservative commentator Charles Moore wrote that if Osborne “won’t deign to focus on the economy”, his job “should be given to someone who will”:
“We have had a credit crunch for nearly five years. We have endured scandal after scandal in British banking. We are in a double-dip recession. We are threatened by the calamity of the eurozone. We have rising unemployment, punitive taxes and a crisis of confidence.
“Our Chancellor of the Exchequer seems to think that the best answer to all this is to attack Ed Balls.”
Not that Osborne isn’t without friends, foreign secretary William Hague telling this morning’s Today programme he sees “no reason why he should apologise” – yet the more he refuses to, the more he unites opposition to him, the more statesmanlike Balls looks – the more credible the shadow chancellor becomes.