Now that Imran Ahmad Khan has resigned, SW1 is rife with excited gossip about who comes next in Wakefield – the crucial battleground for Labour. They need to win it to prove they can rebuild the Red Wall and vindicate Starmer’s leadership. Eight days ago Seb Payne used his column to first float the idea that this by-election provides a prime opportunity for an Ed Balls comeback, a prospect exciting fans in Westminster and yet to be extinguished by Ed himself. While Ed Balls hasn’t yet announced his candidacy, Guido is getting ahead of the game and endorsing him anyway.
The chatter coming out of LOTO and Southside is on the money: Balls has the star power and the charm to make the shadow cabinet interesting again. He’d be one of the very, very few Labour MPs with actual government experience (alongside his wife Yvette, obviously). He can also do Gangnam Style.
For long-time co-conspirators this endorsement shouldn’t come as a surprise. During Labour’s 2010 leadership election, the Guy Newsroom organised an Ed Balls for Leader rally in Westminster to great success. Balls lost, though it made the campaign a bit less boring. Throw your hat in the ring once again for the people of Wakefield, Ed. Guido backs you. #BallsforWakefield