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Balls brands reports of him plotting with Brown to overthrow Blair 'total balderdash'

June 11, 2011 - Washington

Britain's Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, Ed Balls, has denied reports that he had conspired to overthrow former Prime Minister Tony Blair as early as July 2005, saying that the allegations were 'complete and utter total balderdash'.

To prove his point, Balls asked the civil service to investigate the release of the documents, claiming that he had last seen them on his desk when he was Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families.

Insisting that he tried to be a calming influence on the deteriorating relationship between Blair and Brown, Balls said: "I lived through these years,' he added. 'I know what happens when people allow personalities and debates and fights to get in the way of the national interest," the Daily Mail reports.

Last night, the Cabinet Office and Department for Education agreed to investigate whether there was any 'breach of document security'.

It was reported yesterday that Balls, and the current Labour leader Ed Miliband, began planning to divide their party within weeks of the 2005 general election in a plot codenamed Project Volvo, which was launched as London was under attack from Islamic terrorists.

According to secret documents, the exchange of letters between Blair and Gordon Brown had shown the divide within the Labour party.

In a series of memos, Brown's views indicated that he regarded his rival, Blair, as a "muddled" lightweight whose obsession with spin destroyed trust in politics, and tried to use the perception of "lies" over the Iraq War to force Blair's out of power early.

Brown had reportedly ordered Balls to take a "brutal" approach to free the Labour Party from Blair's influence.

Balls's central role in the plot was unveiled after it was revealed that Brown had passed his former aide the most secret memos that Blair had sent to him.

In February 2006, Blair had sent a secret unsigned letter to Brown, where it was written: "You (understandably) want me to go now. You need to be the candidate of continuity and change. The second will be relatively easy to do. A different person is, by its nature, change."

"The first, however, rests on a smooth transition. Critical to that is not merely the absence of disunity in the handover; it is also the visible, clear demonstration that the person who most embodies NL [New Labour], ie me, is working hand in hand with the successor," he added.

On a copy of the letter that was reportedly passed to Balls, Brown had scribbled the words "shallow", "inconsistent" and "muddled". Besides, private memos between them have been found to be heavily criticising Blair, discussing ways to undermine him.

Three of the key conspirators, Balls, Miliband and Douglas Alexander, now occupy the most senior positions in the Labour Party.


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