by Stephen Tall on May 4, 2010
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.