Almost three quarters of panellists (72 per cent) said Ed Balls, Labour’s shadow chancellor, was less impressive than Alistair Darling, his predecessor. Just 12 per cent said Balls was more impressive.
The City has long been seen as an important constituency for would-be chancellors because it funds the government’s deficit and sets the rate at which it can borrow.
One panellist said: “Balls comes across as an untrustworthy ‘bruiser’ unlike Darling who seemed sensitive yet smart.”
Another added: “Balls is dangerous. He comes across as smug and arrogant. Darling came across as a principled politician during the crisis and has to be admired for how he stood up to Brown.”
The results, which will make grim reading for Labour chiefs, also show that a plurality of panellists (43 per cent) think Ed Miliband is less impressive than Gordon Brown. Around a quarter (24 per cent) think he is more impressive, while 27 per cent said there was no difference.
“Labour appears to have lurched further leftward under the Eds,” said one member of the panel.
Meanwhile, over half of panellists (51 per cent) said Labour’s opposition to spending cuts is entirely motivated by party political point scoring and has nothing to do with genuine opposition.
“The Labour party is theoretically committed to reducing the deficit, but opposes every single cut made for political gain,” said one panellists.
Another added: “Having created the problem, Labour remains deluded about the UK’s outlook and, in an attempt to win votes, exploits the largely deluded public.”
• City A.M. and PoliticsHome interviewed 448 members of the Voice of the City panel by email last week. The panel has been specially recruited to represent a cross-section of London’s business and financial community
New members can apply to join at www.cityam.com/panel