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Essex: Braintree MP Brooks Newmark supports rival Ed Balls after speech struggle

PUBLISHED: 09:00 08 December 2012

Braintree MP Brooks Newmark has criticised an Ofsted report on Alec Hunter Humanities College

Braintree MP Brooks Newmark has criticised an Ofsted report on Alec Hunter Humanities College

Archant

LABOUR’S shadow chancellor Ed Balls has received support from an unlikely source – Conservative Essex MP Brooks Newmark.

The Tory, who represents Braintree, put his political differences aside to back Mr Balls after he struggled during a debate in parliament this week.

Mr Balls, who was responding to chancellor George Osborne’s Autumn Statement, later admitted his unconvincing performance was down to a stammer.

Mr Newmark said on social networking site Twitter: “While I may have my political differences with Ed Balls I agree with him on his stammer problem, which afflicts me too.

“Very random when it hits.”

He later told the EADT: “It’s something people don’t talk about and when I heard Ed talking about it I thought I should show him some moral support.

“I think it’s important people with public profile talk about these issues.”

Mr Balls, later speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, said: “Everybody with me knows that I have a stammer.

“Sometimes that stammer gets the better of me in the first minute or two when I speak, especially when I have got the Prime Minister, the Chancellor and 300 Conservative MPs yelling at me at the top of their voices.

“But frankly that is who I am. I don’t mind that.”

Norbert Lieckfeldt, chief executive of The British Stammering Association, said the issue had been a good opportunity to educate people about the impediment.

He added: “Ed is our patron and he’s decided to be open about stammering, he doesn’t have to be. He’s a role model for us.

“He clearly is not an unimpressive performer and neither are other people that stammered like Nye Bevan.”

Engineers worked through the night to restore power to households across Suffolk and north Essex after the region was battered by winds of over 70mph.

Commuters using Greater Anglia trains in Suffolk and Essex are facing further disruption after the region’s rail network was brought to its knees by yesterday’s storm.

The mother of a selfless Suffolk fundraiser is continuing her daughter’s fight to persuade women and girls to have smear tests in her honour.

An alliance of schools in Ipswich has won £20,000 of funding to boost the quality of teaching in the area through better use of research.

A car has rolled onto its roof following a single vehicle collision on the A12 at Copdock.

A well-known Elvis impersonator from Ipswich has died at the age of 57 following a short battle with cancer.

A Second World War hand grenade has been destroyed in a controlled explosion after being handed in at Felixstowe Police Station by a member of the public.

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