Wednesday 21 February 2018

UK's Labour drops the Ball on CEO's name

Ed Balls, finance spokesman for the opposition Labour Party
Ed Balls, finance spokesman for the opposition Labour Party

Alex Morales and Robert Hutton

UK opposition Labour Party finance spokesman Ed Balls, attempting to rebuff criticism from business leaders, said some leaders do support his party, and then failed to name any.

"Bill... the former chief executive of EDS, whom I was just talking to a few moments before I came over," Mr Balls, below, said when asked to name a supporter in business on the BBC's 'Newsnight' programme. "He's a big supporter of ours. To be honest, his surname's just gone from my head, which is a bit annoying at this time of night."

Prime Minister David Cameron joked about the slip in the House of Commons yesterday. "Bill Somebody's not a person," he told the chamber. "Bill Somebody is Labour's policy."

While Mr Balls struggled to remember the name of Bill Thomas, Labour's campaign has been hit this week by attacks from more prominent company chiefs.

The party dismissed them as Tory supporters and tax exiles but it's a reminder of the difficult relationship between Labour and business under Ed Miliband. Labour has recently been attacked first by Alliance Boots chairman Stefano Pessina who said the party would be a "catastrophe" for Britain.

He was followed on Tuesday by Stuart Rose, a former CEO of Marks & Spencer and Simon Woodroffe, founder of the Yo! Sushi restaurant chain.

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