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Transcripts


In their own words

Ed Balls: It was a 'mistake' to promise to halve deficit over 4 years

Labour leadership contender Ed Balls has said it was a "mistake" for Labour to plan to halve the deficit over four years by shrinking public spending. In an interview with BBC News, he said he thought in 2009 that the pace of deficit reduction through cuts was "not deliverable." Read the transcript in full below:

On his closeness to Gordon Brown

Ed Balls "Well look we were all close to figures in the past, David to Tony Blair, Ed Miliband and I worked with Gordon from 1994, Ed wrote the manifesto for Gordon but what people have got to decide is who will take the Party forward who can unite the Party left and right say what you like, i'm going to lead. I think i've shown in the last few years, more than the other candidates i've got the strength and the resilience the values and the purpose and the judgement to do that and the labour party's got to decide in the end, do you want a winner?"

On Gordon Brown's unpopularity

"If it hadn't been for him we'd never have got through the down-turn and in the way in which they did. What that never did was generate warmth towards him and he knew that and we all knew that. The problem was you know that, for labour to have removed the person you know, that I'd be happy to say, saved the world from depression, would have been something which would have deeply confused people; but secondly you know, as all the opinion polls showed there was never anybody else who was ready to come through either."

On his reputation for briefing against other Labour MP s

Ed Balls: "It's not true, it never was the case, I hate that kind of politics, i've been distinguished in this campaign by doing everything  every day on the record on tv in my own words, I've got no time for that sort of nasty politics. I want to play things straight and in the open and i'm afraid if the people who say these things to you were willing to come on the TV and say it ,I'd have a bit more respect"

Laura K: "Do you deny then, that you ever briefed against people who were working for Tony Blair when you were part of Gordon Brown's inner circle?"

Ed Balls: "Categorically..."

"Are there times when I was in my late twenties, fifteen years ago, where um..we were sort of youthful and exuberant and a bit arrogant, well, almost certainly the case, but we all grew up."

On the deficit

"Halving the deficit in four years by cutting public spending... I think was a mistake, and you know, in Government at the time in 2009 I always accepted collective responsibility, but at the time in 2009 I thought the pace of deficit reduction through spending cuts was not deliverable, I didn't think I could have been done."

On his background

"I grew up in Nottingham, before that Norwich, I didn't go on plane until I was 21 and we never went on foreign holidays I was sort of ... Sometimes I get put down a bit for being a bit provincial and a bit ordinary but that's actually what most people are like. I didn't sit with senior politicians when I was seven eight and nine in north london parties but you know, that's a difference for me. I'm not sure whether it's a strength or whether it's a weakness you know i'm probably  you know, I studied economics and philosophy at university but people would see me as less of philosopher and more of a pragmatist, more of a doer.

On Cuts

Ed Balls: I'm not happy to accept cuts in any part of the budget..

Laura K: So you would oppose every single cut..?

Ed Balls: No, I didn't say that, what i said was, we'll have to wait to see where we are once this huge risky experiment has been tried on our economy by the conservatives and the liberals and i can't start pre-empting how things will be in a few years time but you know in my department i set out a third of a billion pounds of cuts so obviously i'm not unafraid to make difficult decisions.

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