Ed Balls and Clive Lewis hint at their next political moves
Who says politicians like to speak in code...
Former MP Ed Balls has hinted at an unlikely political comeback – as current Labour MP Clive Lewis has hinted that he will run for the Labour leadership.
Balls lost his seat in the 2015 general election and went on the grab the public’s attention with his performances on Strictly Come Dancing, prompting some Labour figures to suggest that he could now be the party’s best hope for winning anything.
Speaking to ITV’s Peston on Sunday, the former shadow chancellor confirmed he was not looking at an imminent return and he ruled out standing in the upcoming Manchester Gorton by-election.
But did not rule out becoming an MP again in the future.
"I’m not standing in a by-election; I’m never going to say never about going back because I think politics is so uncertain," he said.
"The issue is: can Labour have a credible, radical, patriotic alternative to the Conservatives. That’s what we need, we’re not getting enough of that despite the best efforts of Becky in that interview there.
"I’m not going to say ‘never’, but at the moment that’s not my plan and there’s a Labour leader and a Labour party in Parliament and in the country that have got to get on and deliver it."
Meanwhile, the former shadow business secretary used similar wording when pressed on speculation about his leadership ambitions.
Lewis - who quit the shadow cabinet last month rather than vote in favour of the government's Brexit bill - said it was "flattering" to be "touted as a future leader".
Pressed on whether he wanted to ever lead Labour, he said: "Never say never, I will say that.
"But at this moment in time we have a twice democratically elected leader, Jeremy Corbyn. I'm still supportive of Jeremy Corbyn. I will be doing all I can along with the rest of my colleagues in the Labour Party to varying degrees to make sure that he becomes the next prime minister of this country."
Just as intriguingly, left-winger Lewis also said he was only "75% hopeful" that Corbyn could lead Labour to victory at the next general election.