George Osborne and Ed Balls attend the State Opening of Parliament on May 8, 2013. Photograph: Getty Images.
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Tories promote MP who ordered Osborne to apologise to Balls

New Economic Secretary Andrea Leadsom said during the 2012 Libor row: "Obviously he made a mistake and I think he should apologise to him."

Andrea Leadsom's appointment as Economic Secretary to the Treasury marks her return from political Siberia. The MP for South Northamptonshire, one of the most highly-rated of the 2010 intake, has been shunned ever since she called on George Osborne to apologise to Ed Balls for falsely accusing him of involvement in the Libor-fixing scandal. She was overlooked for promotion in last year's ministerial reshuffle and failed to make the banking inquiry panel, despite her experience at Barclays, where she was financial institutions director from 1993 to 1997.

In July 2012, at the height of the furious struggle between Osborne and Balls over Libor, she said:

Obviously he made a mistake and I think he should apologise to him.

I think it was a very valid discussion at the time about who knew what and it has now been completely squashed by Paul Tucker.

In inviting Leadsom to join his Treasury team, Osborne has shown his magnanimous side. But don't expect Balls to get that apology.

Update: It's also worth recalling the story that Leadsom told Osborne to "fuck off" when he urged her to vote against an in/out EU referendum in 2011 (yes, a lot has changed since then). When asked about the report, she replied: "We had a very polite conversation. We agreed to differ. I wouldn't speak to any colleague in the way I was reported as speaking to him."

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Lord Sainsbury pulls funding from Progress and other political causes

The longstanding Labour donor will no longer fund party political causes. 

Centrist Labour MPs face a funding gap for their ideas after the longstanding Labour donor Lord Sainsbury announced he will stop financing party political causes.

Sainsbury, who served as a New Labour minister and also donated to the Liberal Democrats, is instead concentrating on charitable causes. 

Lord Sainsbury funded the centrist organisation Progress, dubbed the “original Blairite pressure group”, which was founded in mid Nineties and provided the intellectual underpinnings of New Labour.

The former supermarket boss is understood to still fund Policy Network, an international thinktank headed by New Labour veteran Peter Mandelson.

He has also funded the Remain campaign group Britain Stronger in Europe. The latter reinvented itself as Open Britain after the Leave vote, and has campaigned for a softer Brexit. Its supporters include former Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg and Labour's Chuka Umunna, and it now relies on grassroots funding.

Sainsbury said he wished to “hand the baton on to a new generation of donors” who supported progressive politics. 

Progress director Richard Angell said: “Progress is extremely grateful to Lord Sainsbury for the funding he has provided for over two decades. We always knew it would not last forever.”

The organisation has raised a third of its funding target from other donors, but is now appealing for financial support from Labour supporters. Its aims include “stopping a hard-left take over” of the Labour party and “renewing the ideas of the centre-left”. 

Julia Rampen is the digital news editor of the New Statesman (previously editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog). She has also been deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines. 

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