One Shadow Cabinet minister who will have worked up a sweat when Ed Miliband announced that any Labour frontbencher caught briefing against a colleague would be sacked is Ed Balls. Last night Guido asked Balls if he had ever done so, either personally or through a third party. With a straight face, Balls categorically denied the charge:
“I have never briefed against a Cabinet or Shadow Cabinet colleague or sanctioned any briefing against a Cabinet or Shadow Cabinet colleague.”
Guido wonders what Alan Johnson would have to say about that.
Balls isn’t the only saintly senior Labour figure professing his innocence. Jim Murphy, who seems to have lost his dour edge for some reason this conference, broadly smiled when Guido asked him if he had ever briefed against a colleague, insisting “no of course not”.
Chris Bryant was less certain: “I don’t think I have. People do gossip…”. John Denham vowed that he would never brief against anyone in his own party. Before then briefing Guido that Frank Field was responsible for negative tabloid stories about Harriet Harman. They could at least try to make their dishonesty convincing…