Charlie Whelan says . . .

Don't believe it - "Brown under pressure to sack Ed Balls"

There are still plenty of gullible hacks who swallow any anti-Brown nonsense fed to them by "friends of Tony Blair". You know how desperate the latter have become, though, when the target is not the Chancellor himself but his chief economic adviser, Ed Balls.

On 4 May we were treated to a gem. Apparently, Gordon Brown's reluctance to succumb to the Prime Minister's pressure to ditch the five economic tests is all the fault of Balls. We were told that he has poisoned the Chancellor's mind and that if he went all would be sweetness and light. It's funny, but I've heard that one before.

The article attacking Balls claimed that I had confirmed that Ed made the five tests up in the back of a taxi. I hadn't, of course. What Peter Mandelson and his mates are trying to tell journalists is that the tests were all Ed's idea and therefore can easily be dismissed. The reality is quite different. It was precisely because Brown knew that No 10 would see the euro as a political choice that he came up with the idea of making it an economic one. The Treasury knows from the bitter experience of the ERM fiasco that the decision to join the euro should be based on economics, and is more than happy to support Brown's

tests. The idea being peddled by Mandelson

that the Treasury is not 100 per cent behind the strategy is rubbish.

If we are talking about advisers being sacked, then it is Mandelson's buddy Roger Liddle in Downing Street who should go. He said in a speech that the five tests should be scrapped. No MP would dare suggest such a thing, so why should he be allowed to get away with it? Watch out for plenty more pro-euro and anti-Brown spin over the next few weeks and don't believe a word of it.

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