Would Ed Balls vote for the Lib Dems’ Norman Lamb?

That seems to be the implication of Labour’s education secretary’s interview in the New Statesman, where he says:

For Balls, defeating the Tories is the top priority. Given this, what is his advice to Lib Dem supporters in the 100 or so Tory-Labour marginals? “I urge Lib Dem voters to bite their lip and back us.” But what about Labour supporters in Tory-Lib Dem marginals? “I always want the Labour candidate to win, but I recognise there’s an issue in places like North Norfolk, where my family live, where Norman Lamb [the Lib Dem candidate and sitting MP] is fighting the Tories, who are in second place. And I want to keep the Tories out.”

A nod’s as good as a wink, and all that. Clearly Ed Balls is signalling his tacit approval for tactical voting by Labour supporters to help Lib Dems against Tories.

Of course whether his real motivation is to help the Lib Dems, or to position himself as a less tribal figure than he’s generally characterised in advance of a Labour leadership election, is a moot point.

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9 Comments

  • simon wilson 4th May '10 - 8:08am

    I am sure Ed Balls would be perfectly comfortable supporting his fellow Norwich City fan

  • Ed Balls is 50% right, but of those 100 Lab-Con marginals Labour must lose those where they lead by less than 6%, eg Finchley, or they would retain their Commons majority. Lib Dems should be voting Tory in these seats.

  • Balls and Hain have come out as tactical voting MCs!

    Given that they are Labour’s slipperiest public spokesmen it is tempting to dismiss almost everything that comes out of their mouths. Surely they cannot be serious! But they are. They are truly desperate. They must believe Labour’s election campaign has reached terminal velocity. An they have come to the conclusion that it is time to apply the after burners.

    Unfortunately their desperate play to marshal the anti-Tory vote will simply add accelerant to the blaze of Labour’s electoral vanities.

  • Terry Gilbert 4th May '10 - 9:48am

    Personally I would vote tactically for Labour – albeit with a ‘Chirac peg’ on my nose – if I lived in Corby (like my inlaws) or Clacton (like my parents). I fear – real FEAR this – that the Tories will win.

    If Balls really wanted to help, he might have mentioned SOUTH Norfolk where, despite coming a steady third for years, there were still 13262 Labour voters in 2005. Richard Bacon, the Tory MP, would be dead meat if about half of them voted Lib Dem. In North Norfolk , which he cites, we will win easily anyway.

  • painfully liberal 4th May '10 - 10:21am

    Cynics might suggest that Balls’ newfound embracing of tactical voting might not be entirely unrelated to his own precarious position.

  • Terry Gilbert 4th May '10 - 10:58am

    @Neil – oh, dear. Maybe Bacon=dead meat was too obscure, too, then!

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