Former shadow chancellor Ed Balls has said he will shun the customary sequins and glitter when he appears on Strictly Come Dancing, but that has not stopped his family branding him a “camp rugby player” when he showed them his moves.
Ed, who was famously spotted on the dancefloor at the Labour Party conference in 2014 doing a Gangnam Style dance, will swap his suits for tuxedos when he appears on the BBC show.
He said: “I’m not wearing any sequins, and no glitter, it’s all very classical.”
Ed, 49, who lost his Morley and Outwood seat in May last year in one of the greatest casualties of the 2015 election, admitted that his wife, MP Yvette Cooper, encouraged him to take part in the show in the hope it would help him lose weight.
Asked if he had already dropped a few pounds through training, he said: “That was a reason Yvette thought I should do it. Everybody says you lose weight and that is essential for me. In my mind I feel as if I already have but I’m not looking at the scales.”
He added: “I showed my family the video of our group dance and they said I looked like a camp rugby player.”
He said the couple had even dusted off their wedding video to appraise his dance moves.
He revealed: “The other day we got our wedding video out and looked at us dancing in 1998 and it wasn’t so bad. I didn’t know how she would react to the show but she was the person who really decided it, she said she would do it like a shot.”
“If she had said it was a bad idea I wouldn’t have done it but she was gung-ho for it, so if it goes wrong I’m blaming her.
“When you know you’re doing it you’re unsure how people are going to react, but overwhelmingly I’ve had people say they wish they were doing it. I’ve not had a text from David Cameron but I don’t mind as long as he votes for me.”
He will compete against singer Will Young, model Daisy Lowe, Olympian Greg Rutherford and actresses Lesley Joseph and Tameka Empson.
Gymnast Claudia Fragapane, presenter Laura Whitmore, presenter Ore Oduba, DJ and presenter Melvin Odoom, former Eternal singer Louise Redknapp, actor Danny Mac, newsreader Naga Munchetty, reality TV’s Judge Rinder and American singer Anastacia are also contestants.