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National politics

Ed Balls: “We are going to have keep all these cuts.”

Ed Balls this morning uses the Guardian to admit that the “too far, too fast” rhetoric of Labour’s first 20 months of opposition is now redundant. He puts his hands up and tells us that he accepts the need for cuts.

My starting point is, I am afraid, we are going to have keep all these cuts. There is a big squeeze happening on budgets across the piece. The squeeze on defence spending, for instance, is £15bn by 2015. We are going to have to start from that being the baseline. At this stage, we can make no commitments to reverse any of that, on spending or on tax. So I am being absolutely clear about that.

We have heard various pronouncements over the last few days as Labour tries to dig itself out of its fantasy economics hole. Ed Balls has now accepted the whole package on behalf of his party. 20 months late but welcome anyway.

The return of the Euro crisis and the French debt downgrade will eclipse Balls’ submission so he gets to get his message out on “a good day to bury bad news”. The French downgrade simply underlines the necessity of having a credible budget. Osborne was right.