Ed Balls cooks up political row

Official unveiling of Wakefield College's new �24m college campus. Schools secretary Ed Balls and Pontefract and Castleford Express MP Yvette Cooper open the landmark site.
Official unveiling of Wakefield College's new �24m college campus. Schools secretary Ed Balls and Pontefract and Castleford Express MP Yvette Cooper open the landmark site.

MP Ed Balls’ cooking credentials were top of the political agenda this week after allegations he conspired to make his wife the next Labour leader over a dinner of lasagne.

Talks of Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford MP Yvette Cooper succeeding Ed Miliband have been quashed by the couple.

National newspapers accused the pair of a ‘lasagne-gate’ plot to undermine the leader.

The husband-and-wife front bench duo have both been tipped as possible candidates should Mr Miliband resign.

And critics claimed they were trying to build up support for their leadership challenge when they wined and dined ministers at their London home.

But Morley and Outwood MP Mr Balls told the Express it was merely a morale-boosting party.

He said: “The idea that dining our own ministerial team is out of the ordinary, is strange.

“We regularly entertain and on this occasion I did lasagne as it is easy to do in bulk as I was cooking for 40 people.

“We are 100 per cent behind Ed Miliband.

“This, becoming leader, is not something we are talking about. We want to carry on doing our jobs.

“Who knows what the next 20 years will bring.”

Mr Balls admitted he did the majority of the cooking and added: “If I wasn’t a politician I would like to be a chef working in one of those big kitchens.”

Shadow home secretary Ms Cooper refused to say whether she would ever want to be Labour leader.

She told the Express: “I am just concentrating on my job and the local campaigns we have.

“I want my next job to be home secretary in a Labour government and I think Ed Miliband is going a great job.”

About her husband’s cooking, she added: “Ed’s lasagne is brilliant, but I don’t think it’s worth national newspaper headlines. His barbecue pork is better.”

And Mr Ball’s tip for the perfect Italian dish?

“For the best lasagne use oregano rather than basil,” he added.