I will not betray the West Midlands to Scotland, says Ed Balls

Ed Balls has promised the West Midlands he will not 'betray' it by doing a deal with the Scottish Nationalists that would short change it if Labour returns to power.

I will not betray the West Midlands to Scotland, says Ed Balls

The party has faced constant questions over the prospect that Ed Miliband will have to be propped up if, as the polls suggest, neither he nor the Tories win a majority in the General Election.

But in an exclusive interview with the Express & Star, his shadow chancellor has ruled out the prospect of a power-sharing deal or of giving concessions to Scotland at the expense of the West Midlands.

Mr Balls said it would be a 'betrayal' of the West Midlands and of English voters and said he was 'unequivocal' that he would not allow the SNP to dictate a better deal for Scotland at the expense of the rest of the UK.

Mr Miliband had already ruled out a coalition with the Scottish National Party, which is set to make major gains from Labour north of the border, but has been constantly asked about the prospect of a 'confidence and supply' arrangement.

Meanwhile former home secretary Alan Johnson spent the day in Dudley where he walked around Market Place, signed autographs and criticised the Tories for 'personal' attacks on Mr Miliband.

On a visit to the Express & Star's headquarters Mr Balls said: "There is absolutely no possibility of any vote being put to Parliament or any measure in a Labour budget which would in any way disadvantage the West Midlands or any other part of England because that's what the SNP demand. No way. Unequivocal. I'm not going to do it and Labour isn't going to do it.

"We've been very clear we won't have a coalition with the SNP. They can't stand up for the interests of people in England because they want to break up the United Kingdom.

"We're going to put a vote to Parliament to abolish the Bedroom Tax. I want a Labour majority to get that through.

"If the SNP want to vote that's up to them. But the idea them saying that we want you to advantage Scotland against the West Midlands to win their support, that would be a betrayal of the West Midlands, a betrayal of the English vote and we will not do it. Unequivocal."

In a wide-ranging interview with the Express & Star Mr Balls acknowledged Labour's mistakes in government but stressed he was still the right person to run the Treasury, despite his association with the previous administration.

Mr Balls' visit came after Labour launched its General Election manifesto, promising to eliminate the deficit by 2020 and cut it with every annual budget.

It also promises to freeze rail fares for a year, paid for by abandoning some road schemes - after the Tories said they would cap increases to inflation over the next five years.

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