ED BALLS turns 50 this weekend, and the former Shadow Chancellor, currently free of Westminster’s macinations, has no trouble counting friends on the fingers of both hands.
New Statesman reported that in the lead-up to his 50th birthday bash, guests were asked to indicate whether they knew him before or after his transformation to TV star, on the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing.
Political enemies jumping on the showbusiness bandwagon were told to call him “a friend”, while comrades who stood by him in difficult days used “old friend” to describe themselves.
Mr Balls was Labour MP for the old West Yorkshire constituency of Normanton from 2005 to 2010, and for Morley and Outwood from 2010 to 2015. His defeat was one of the big upsets of the 2015 election.
But he is perhaps better known to TV viewers as Katya Jones’ partner on the 2016 series of Strictly.
He is now touring with her in the stage version of the show.
His wife, Yvette Cooper, is chair of the Commons Home Affairs select committee.