Barn-storming ex-MP Ed Balls wins over Strictly doubters

Ed Balls dances with partner Katya Jones on Saturday. Pic: BBC
Ed Balls dances with partner Katya Jones on Saturday. Pic: BBC

It was a barn-storming performance that even earned him the support of his former political arch-rival.

And Ed Balls’s energetic Charleston on Saturday night meant the former Morley MP survived the first knock-out of the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing despite finishing bottom of the judges’ leaderboard.

The Labour politician, who lost his seat at last year’s general election to Tory Andrea Jenkyns, danced to The Banjo’s Back In Town in a routine heralded as a “comeback that Tony Blair would be proud of” by judge Bruno Tonioli.

One surprise fan was Balls’ former opposite number George Osborne, who tweeted: “Come on @edballs!”

Meanwhile, Labour MP Liz Kendal posted: “Go go go @edballs !! Fab performance, gave it loads of welly, love the jazz hands too! #glitterballs #scd #craigiswrong”.

Balls, whose wife and Labour MP Yvette Cooper was in the audience, was given another cheer when he hit back at head judge Len Goodman’s remarks that he had “gone to the country before and didn’t do very well”.

Balls snapped back: “We did win three elections.”

Meanwhile, Craig Revel Horwood said the performance had an “air of desperation”.

The former Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, who was MP for Normanton between 2005 and 2010, survived to dance again when fellow competitor

Melvin Odoom became the first celebrity to be booted off the popular BBC show.