Balls invites Cable to form new ‘national consensus’

By staff

Ed Balls tried to drive a wedge between the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives today with a cheeky offer for Vince Cable to join him in forming a new economic consensus.

The move comes days after the business secretary admitted he would "probably" make a good chancellor amid worse-then expected growth figures.

"I would love there to be a new national consensus on the right way forward, and I would love the Lib Dems to want to be part of that," Balls told the Independent on Sunday.

"I would like to be part of that too, because I think that's what the country needs and deserves.

"As the IMF said last week, the long-term impact on the underlying strength of the British economy will be more young people unemployed and businesses investing in other parts of world. All of those things add up to an economy which ends up permanently weaker, not just temporarily weaker."

Cable has been busy trying to dispel suspicions around his career ambitions since the official figures were released.

His job became significantly harder when long-time ally Lord Oakeshott called for George Osborne's replacement. The business secretary reportedly whispered "Oh God" when he heard the comment.

Balls also used the interview to heap praise on his leader, Ed Miliband, who was performing better than Margaret Thatcher or Tony Blair in opposition.

"Ed has been able, on the economy, on phone hacking, to set an agenda in opposition," he said.

"Tony Blair and Margaret Thatcher did not manage to set the agenda in 1994/5 or 1976/7 in the way Ed has done in the past year."