He might be better known these days for his cha-cha and his Charleston than for his policies, but we take a look at five facts you might not have known about the quickstepping former politician.
Ed Balls Day
Long before he started entertaining Saturday night audiences with his dancefloor antics, Ed Balls caused everyone to chuckle with an unintentional social media gaffe.
On April 28, 2011, the then-Shadow Chancellor tried his hand at social network Twitter. He had intended to search for his name in order to find an article about himself. But instead of typing ‘Ed Balls’ into the search box, he instead typed it into the status bar and posted it as a status:
Ed Balls— Ed Balls (@edballs) 28 April 2011
The mistake proved popular among other users – with 79,878 retweets at the time of writing. Many on social media now consider April 28 ‘Ed Balls Day’ and post ‘Ed Balls’ or their own names in tribute.
The man himself took the mistake in his stride – and even baked a cake to celebrate it.
Ed and Yvette’s Sound of Music Tour
In 2014, Ed’s wife, MP Yvette Cooper, told Parliament House Magazine how the political couple had spent their summer holidays – on a Sound of Music tour.
“We went inter-railing: us and a bunch of 18-19-year-olds on trains across Europe.
“One of the places we went was Salzburg and we went on a Sound of Music tour. It was absolutely brilliant. You go along on a bike with this beat box in the front, we were singing the songs as we cycled through Salzburg. We even had headscarves that we’d made out of curtain material.
“It was utterly ludicrous and very funny.”
Ed Balls was born in Norfolk and Norwich Hospital, so it is perhaps fitting that he is a lifelong fan of Norwich City Football Club. In 2015 he was appointed chairman of the club’s board of directors.
Ed’s love of the beautiful game – and especially the Canaries – clashed with an early episode of Strictly. He confided that he had been watching his team play Wolverhampton Wanderers on his phone during the show.
He even tweeted about it – during the time Strictly was on air.
Other celebrity fans of Norwich City include Delia Smith and Stephen Fry.
Before competing on Strictly, Ed tried his hand at another BBC show. He was a contestant on this year’s Sport Relief Bake Off.
His love of football was evident in the first round, when he baked some football-themed cupcakes. Although he came last in the technical, he impressed with an ambitious showstopper.
Before politics, he was a journalist
After studying Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford University, Ed seemed poised for a career as an economist.
Following a stint as teaching fellow at Harvard University, Ed embarked on a career in journalism at the Financial Times.
He then became MP for Normanton at the 2005 general election. After a failed leadership bid in 2010, which saw Ed Miliband take control, Balls served as both Shadow Home Secretary and then Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer.
He lost his seat at the 2015 General Election.
Photo credits: BBC Pictures