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16 June 2010updated 27 Sep 2015 2:18am

Mystery over Ed Balls’s claim that the Miliband brothers are briefing against one another

Difference between accounts in Total Politics and the Sun.

By James Macintyre

Earlier, I mentioned that Ed Balls had accused David and Ed Miliband of briefing against each other, saying:

Between the brothers there has been a little bit of off-the-record briefing going on. Hopefully, the two of them will say to their supporters to stop it. It is pretty unedifying.

Now, it appears there is something of a mystery surrounding the fascinating interview, which is by Amber Elliott, political editor of Total Politics. The piece is officially under embargo until tomorrow, so I won’t reproduce it here (I have read it, though, and I recommend that others do so when it’s out).

However, the Sun received some of the words from the interview in advance, and reported it thus today:

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THE Miliband brothers are waging a bitching war against each other as they battle for the Labour leadership, another rival has revealed.

Ed Miliband’s supporters have been slagging off his brother David’s “eccentric personality”.

And David’s fans are mocking Ed’s “dodgy decision-making”, according to former Education Secretary Ed Balls, who is also in the running.

In a plea to the other candidates to keep it clean, Mr Balls told Total Politics magazine: “Between the brothers there has been a little bit of off-the-record briefing going on.

“Hopefully, the two of them will say to their supporters to stop it. I think it is pretty unedifying.”

Seizing the moral high ground, he added: “There will be no off-the-record briefings from anybody involved with me.” His revelation is likely to provoke fury among rank-and-file party members. Labour’s 13 years in power were plagued by cabinet ministers feuding behind the scenes — speeding its downfall at the polls last month.

What is odd is that the “dodgy decision-making” and “eccentric personality” lines are not in the text of Elliott’s piece. So, where did they come from? A source close to Ed Balls is adamant that they did not come from him. Perhaps the paper can explain.