Lib Dems reject Balls coalition olive branch
Liberal Democrat MPs have rebuffed an offer from Ed Balls to form a coalition with Labour, suggesting he may have been on the "mulled wine" early.
They also questioned why Lib-Dems would want to join a "boat which has no captain".
Mr Balls made his brazen offer this morning, appealing to Lib-Dems to desert the Tories and form a new coalition in the New Year.
“I think it would be much better now and for the future of the country if they did,” he said.
“I don’t think they should wait until 2015. I could serve in a Cabinet with Chris Huhne or Vince Cable tomorrow.”
His olive branch drew a swift response from Lib-Dems.
Senior backbencher Tom Brake said: "It is the season of goodwill, but I fear Ed Balls may have been at the mulled wine when he said this.
"This Coalition exists to clean up the mess Labour left behind. Not only are Ed Balls and Ed Miliband in denial about the economy, over 13 years they trampled on our civil liberties, launched an illegal war in Iraq, pandered to big business and the City, and left a huge gap between the richest and the poorest.
"So, thanks but no thanks."
Lorely Burt, chair of the Liberal Democrat parliamentary party, added: “I can’t think of a single reason why Liberal Democrats would want to jump ship into a Labour boat which has no captain and no credible plans to get us out of the economic difficulties that we have."
While the party's deputy leader Simon Hughes said: "Ed Balls is free to say what he likes but the Labour Party is not a credible party of government and has no credible plan for our country."
So that's clearcut, then. Or is it? Or does Mr Balls have some intelligence on a Lib-Dem defection as he seeks to woo Lib-Dem voters?