Ed Balls loses his seat. Photo: Getty
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Shadow chancellor Ed Balls loses his seat in Labour's biggest casualty of the election

Tories take Morley & Outwood, in Labour's most shocking defeat.

In the most shocking defeat for Labour this election, Ed Balls has lost his seat.

The shadow chancellor, and prominent Labour figure, lost Morley & Outwood to the Tory candidate, Andrea Jenkyns, with a result of 18,354 votes to 18, 776.

It wasn't expected to be a tight race, but the close results were revealed when a recount was requested on Friday morning.

It was clearly Ukip votes that killed off Balls's win. Ukip came third with 7,951 votes.

Balls, in a sombre speech, congratulated his "political opponents" in Westminster and praised Jenkyns on her campaign. He said "any personal disappointment I have is as nothing compared to the sorrow I have" for the Labour party's national result.

He spoke of a "sense of concern I have about the future", adding: "We will now face a five years where questions will arise about our future of the Union."

Anoosh Chakelian is deputy web editor at the New Statesman.

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Is anyone prepared to solve the NHS funding crisis?

As long as the political taboo on raising taxes endures, the service will be in financial peril. 

It has long been clear that the NHS is in financial ill-health. But today's figures, conveniently delayed until after the Conservative conference, are still stunningly bad. The service ran a deficit of £930m between April and June (greater than the £820m recorded for the whole of the 2014/15 financial year) and is on course for a shortfall of at least £2bn this year - its worst position for a generation. 

Though often described as having been shielded from austerity, owing to its ring-fenced budget, the NHS is enduring the toughest spending settlement in its history. Since 1950, health spending has grown at an average annual rate of 4 per cent, but over the last parliament it rose by just 0.5 per cent. An ageing population, rising treatment costs and the social care crisis all mean that the NHS has to run merely to stand still. The Tories have pledged to provide £10bn more for the service but this still leaves £20bn of efficiency savings required. 

Speculation is now turning to whether George Osborne will provide an emergency injection of funds in the Autumn Statement on 25 November. But the long-term question is whether anyone is prepared to offer a sustainable solution to the crisis. Health experts argue that only a rise in general taxation (income tax, VAT, national insurance), patient charges or a hypothecated "health tax" will secure the future of a universal, high-quality service. But the political taboo against increasing taxes on all but the richest means no politician has ventured into this territory. Shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander has today called for the government to "find money urgently to get through the coming winter months". But the bigger question is whether, under Jeremy Corbyn, Labour is prepared to go beyond sticking-plaster solutions. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.