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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 July, 2004, 09:34 GMT 10:34 UK
Brown aide to stand for election
Mr Balls with Chancellor Gordon Brown
Ed Balls will leave his job at the treasury to stand for election
One of Gordon Brown's closest aides has won the right to stand for parliament in the next general election.

Chief economics adviser at the treasury Ed Balls received the endorsement of party members in the Labour stronghold of Normanton in West Yorkshire.

Mr Balls, who said he was "honoured" by the selection, will have to step down from his treasury role to run for election under parliamentary rules.

But the chancellor said he was "delighted" at his adviser's decision.

'Historic mission'

In a statement Mr Brown said: "Ed will be a huge asset to the Labour Party locally and nationally."

Mr Balls, who was educated at Harvard and Oxford universities, said he would try to fulfil Labour's "historic mission".

He said: "It is a great honour to be selected by Labour Party members in the Normanton constituency.

"I want to thank them for the trust they have placed in me.

"Our task now is to... fulfil Labour's historic mission by delivering full employment, social justice and opportunity for all in Normanton and across the Wakefield district."

The 37-year-old has worked with the chancellor since Labour was in opposition.

He wrote an early Brown speech discussing "neo-classical endogenous growth theory", prompting Michael Heseltine to joke "it wasn't Brown's, it was Balls".

Normanton borders the Pontefract and Castleford constituency of Mr Balls' wife, government minister Yvette Cooper.

The West Yorkshire seat has been occupied by Labour MPs for longer than any other constituency in the country.

Normanton's current MP William O'Brien will retire at the next election.

He won a 9,937 majority in 2001.

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