Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls spoke to small business people on a trip to Chester where he also took time to praise that Chronicle video of Labour leader Ed Miliband being mobbed by a hen party.
Mr Balls MP joined Chris Matheson, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for the City of Chester, on a tour of The Forum shopping centre and Chester Market. There he met a florist, a butcher and Annie Hall of Jim’s haberdashery who showed him the fantastic Lego model of Chester which is boosting footfall.
Sandra Riley of The Flower Box even pinned a red rose on his lapel in keeping with the Labour theme.
Then it was onto the Watergate Deli in Watergate Street where Ed sipped a cup of strong tea and carefully ate a scone, mindful of his leader Ed Miliband’s unfortunate experience with a bacon butty, while chatting to publicans and small business people. One passing cyclist had some fun when he shouted in apparent good humour: ‘What a load of *alls!”
Ed tells traders what Labour can do for them
Mr Balls told The Chronicle afterwards about traders’ concerns and what he feels Labour can do for them.
He said: “They’re proud of the town and they’re proud of being part of a tradition which has been handed on through the generations but they’re all saying it’s hard at the minute and every time George Osborne and David Cameron say they’ve fixed the economy, I think for the traders and their customers, people are saying, ‘Well, who have they fixed it for because they’ve not fixed it for me and our town’. Things are still hard and they want to know there’s going to be some optimism and a better future. We’ve got to get to a world where people’s wages go up faster than their bills.”
He added: “We need to do more to back working parents. I think if we’re going to increase taxes we should be doing it for people on the highest incomes, not on ordinary working families. I say put the top rate of income tax up over £150,000, but don’t cut the tax credits for 20,000 people here in Chester.”
On Tuesday of this week Ed Balls commemorated #EdBallsDay – an annual celebration that started at 4.20pm on April 28, 2011, the day when Labour MP Ed Balls accidentally tweeted his own name.
He said: “Who would have thought that four years ago when I was walking around Asda on a Friday afternoon, shopping for our royal wedding party, that a mistaken tweet out of my pocket, would turn into a day in the general election where the BBC retweeted BBC1, the Telegraph did a live blog and Pizza Hut did an Ed Balls pizza.”
He joked: “To be honest with you, my worry is that the essence of Ed Balls Day is being lost in all this excessive commercialisation!”
“It’s true essential was me doing something really embarrassing.”
Praise for Chronicle's Ed Miliband hen party video
Without any prompting (honest), Mr Balls, sitting next to Mr Matheson, congratulated Chronicle chief reporter David Holmes for a video he shot of a hen party mobbing Ed Miliband in City Road while on the campaign trail two weeks ago.
He said: “We were just saying in the top three scoops of this whole general election, there’s no doubt you got one of them. I mean the hen night, bus party, video moment, gosh.”
Mr Balls explained that this wasn’t the first time the Labour leader had encountered a hen party. Two years ago Ed Miliband was on a train when he met a hen party with the theme that everybody was going as somebody named Ed. Miliband put him on the phone to a woman with tennis balls round her neck who was ‘going as Ed Balls’.
“We laughed about it. That time I was the one in the firing line on the hen night, this time round it was him who had his moment, added Mr Balls who chose a snap from the video as one of his two favourite images from the campaign when he appeared live on ITV’s The Agenda programme last week.
“I think he (Ed) was probably horrified at the time but in retrospect he’s now very flattered and we’ve now ended up with this milifandom. It couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy in my opinion. In ten years’ time when people look back on this election that will be what they look back on.”