Ed’s ready for the Strictly challenge

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Former Morley MP Ed Balls has admitted that training for his appearances on Strictly Come Dancing has pushed him out of his ‘comfort zone’.

Mr Balls, who represented the Morley and Outwood constituency until 2015, has signed up to take part in the BBC series with 14 other celebrities and public figures.

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The former shadow Chancellor has given a frank interview to Radio Times in which he confesses to mental tiredness during rehearsals for the show, where he is partnered with professional dancer Katya Jones.

“I’ve never felt further outside my comfort zone as I have done in these past few weeks,” he told the magazine.

“Speaking in Parliament or at party conferences was always a bit nerve-racking, but I have been writing, speaking or debating about economic policy for 35 years.

“Now I’m having to get used to performing a choreographed jive, or wearing a shirt with the boxer shorts sewn in so it feels like pulling on a romper suit. How on earth did I end up doing this? Well, I said yes to Strictly because I wanted to learn to dance and get fit, and everyone said it was great fun. But goodness, it’s tough.”

The 49-year-old described learning the routines as ‘totally draining’ and admitted that his dad-style dancing during the launch episode had put him firmly in the underdog category.

“But I’m not in this for the laughs. I’m determined to work hard, do my best and try to improve. If there’s even one or two moves I can pull off and look like a proper dancer for a few moments, it will all be worth it, and I’ll have Katya to thank.”

The amateur dancer has even been compared to a hippopotamus by judge Bruno Tonioli.

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