Ed Miliband stands by Ed Balls despite poll blow

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Ed Miliband still won't get rid of Ed Balls despite an ITV News poll which clearly shows voters would rather have David Cameron and George Osborne running the economy.

The ITV News Index for tonight's News at Ten comes in the week in which we discover if the UK had entered recession for the third time since 2008.

Mr Miliband rejected calls for him to replace Mr Balls with former Chancellor Alistair Darling in order to improve the party's standing with voters on economic competence.

“No, that’s ridiculous. Ed Balls is doing a great job as Shadow Chancellor…

“Three years ago, Ed Balls stood out against what most people thought and said ‘I don’t think this austerity is going to work’.

“What you find now is that a lot more people are agreeing with him than agreed with him at the time.

“Getting those judgements right is incredibly important.”

In the interview, with ITV News' Deputy Political Editor Chris Ship, Ed Miliband also justified his decision to bring his wife on Labour's campaign trail for the first time since he became party leader.

Justine Miliband, an environmental lawyer, has stayed away from the cameras since 2010 - only giving the Labour leader public support at party conference speeches.

This afternoon, Justine showed her husband around her old school in Nottingham.

It's where she grew up and close to where her parents still live.

Justine Thornton
Ed Miliband's wife Justine meets pupils in Nottingham. Credit: ITV News

Justine, who still uses her maiden name - Thornton - at work, met some of the teachers who taught her at the school in the mid 1980s.

Her history teacher, Ailish D'Arcy, remembers her as one of the best pupils she ever taught. The teacher, who is due to retire this year, estimates she has had around ten thousand in her classrooms during her career.

Justine was at first "a bit iffy," Mrs D'Arcy said, "but from Year 10 she excelled."

After hearing that his wife once jumped out of a window in order to avoid a teacher spotting her with lipstick and being told she got detentions for wearing a purple coat instead of the regulation black one, Ed Miliband remarked that she would have been "too cool" for him at school.

Ed Miliband and Justine Thornton
Justine was praised by her old history teacher. Credit: ITV News

At a time when the Labour leader has faced some internal criticism over his position on welfare - a position the Conservatives think is helping to bring voters their way, Mr Miliband told ITV News that he will continue to oppose the 1 per cent annual rise because "it's the right thing to do" even if it is politically unpopular.

He said: “I’m doing what I believe, you’ve got to do what you believe. The one thing that people want from politicians today is to stand up for what you think is right…

“On this question of the one per cent cap, 60 per cent of the people affected by that are in work - they’re the supposed strivers.”

The poll findings on the economy will be broadcast on ITV News at 10pm.