Row ignites over Ed Balls Morecambe trip

Ed Balls, Shadow Chancellor, visiting Sandcastle Nursery in Morecambe with Amina Lone, who will stand for Labour in Morecambe and Lunesdale in the next election.
Ed Balls, Shadow Chancellor, visiting Sandcastle Nursery in Morecambe with Amina Lone, who will stand for Labour in Morecambe and Lunesdale in the next election.

A war of words has erupted between the shadow chancellor Ed Balls and the MP for Morecambe.

The Labour number two was dismissive of David Morris while on a visit to town, saying he doesn’t even know who he is.

But Mr Morris hit back, claiming Balls had showed ‘lack of courtesy’ by not giving prior warning of his trip.

Mr Balls, Secretary of State for Schools under the last government, popped into Sandcastles Nursery on Morecambe promenade to play with kids and talk to parents about Labour’s plans to bring in 25 hours of free child care for working parents.

“It’s embarrassing to admit this is my first visit to Morecambe,” he said.

“My in-laws have a caravan near Grange so I’ve looked over the bay many times.

“But the Conservative MP for Morecambe, I have absolutely no idea who he is. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him or knowingly heard anything he’s ever said.

“I know loads and loads of Conservative MPs but I’m not sure he’s made much of a mark.”

Mr Morris laughed off the claim, saying: “It’s all a game, he knows who I am, I’ve confronted him a few times.”

He also accused Mr Balls of failing to notify him that he was coming to Morecambe, as is normal protocol whenever an MP visits another constituency.

A Labour spokesperson said Mr Balls had notified Mr Morris through internal House of Commons mail, but Morris claimed the letter arrived on Friday after Balls’ visit.

Mr Morris also said he was “perplexed” over how a Labour government would pay for an increase in child care.

Mr Balls aims to foot the child care bill by raising the banking levy by £800m a year if Labour wins the next election, claiming families had lost £1,500 per year in childcare support under the coalition.

But Morris said: “I will buy him a new calculator for Christmas because I don’t think a Labour government would be able to afford this.

“The banking levy isn’t going down like he says. You’ve got to encourage the banking sector to flourish because it’s a main part of our economy.”