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Tensions growing between Balls and Miliband over Labour's direction

By Tim Montgomerie
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George Osborne may be unpopular but opinion polls suggest that he's not as unpopular as his shadow, Ed Balls.

Two reports in the last 24 hours suggest that the relationship between the Labour leader and his Treasury spokesman might merit a bit more attention.

John Rentoul kicked things off in yesterday's Independent on Sunday. Whatever doubts there may be about Osborne's strategy, ability and popularity there can be no doubt that at the heart of the Coalition there is a strong PM-Chancellor relationship. Labour, in contrast, seems in danger of replicating the Brown-Blair tensions. Rentoul writes: "Ed Miliband and Ed Balls have been getting on particularly badly recently, although each has long found the other trying." The uber-Blairite journalist implies that the relationship could deteriorate once serious efforts begin to put content on that blank piece of paper which is currently the Labour policy review.

In today's Times (£) Sam Coates lifts the veil on what the tensions might be. He suggests that Ed Miliband does not share Ed Balls' wish to rebuild relations with the City while the Labour leader was disconcerted by the Shadow Chancellor's suggestion that he would bank all of the Coalition's cuts. Team Miliband regard Mr Balls as "high maintenance" while Team Balls think Mr Miliband lacks a clear vision for the Labour Party.