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Ed Balls takes to the floor on Strictly Come Dancing

Joe Williams August 8, 2016

The former MP has been announced as this year’s first contestant on the popular BBC dance competition.

Former shadow chancellor Ed Balls has revealed he has signed up for the next season of BBC One show Strictly Come Dancing.

Speaking to Chris Evans on the Radio 2 breakfast show, Balls said he was “scared to death”.

Describing the experience as a “dream come true”, he added that “Parliament was much easier than this”.

“From the beginning of September, I’m definitely going to be doing 12 hours a week training but everybody says I’ll have to do quite a few more hours than that,” he said.

“Our family have been massive fans of Strictly for years. I’ve taken the view that if you have a midlife crisis, make sure you plan it well and enjoy every minute.”

Balls – a strong advocate for LGBT rights – was first rumoured to be competing on the popular BBC dance show last year.

The former politician is married to Labour MP Yvette Cooper,  who tweeted that she was “so, so envious” of her husband’s appearance on the show.

Earlier this year, BBC bosses said there were still ‘no plans’ for same-sex dance pairings on the show.

Strictly has featured same-sex dancing segments in group routines – but not in the main competition element of the show.

Judge Craig Revel Horwood previously confirmed changes will take place in the next two seasons to remove the gender rules – but later said the change was unlikely to happen.

Former Strictly dancer James Jordan insisted last year that having a same sex couple dancing on the show would be “wrong” because “they would lose so many viewers.”

Last year, a  gay celeb claimed last year that he was dropped after he asked to be paired with a male dancer.

Eggheads star CJ de Mooi said he was originally meant to appear on the dance show, but was snubbed by the programme after he said he wanted to dance with a man.

More: Ed Balls, Labour, LGBT, Strictly Come Dancing, yvette copper

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