UK Politics

Ed Miliband: Ed Balls is national treasure after Strictly

Ed Balls performing as The Mask
Image caption Ed Balls performed a samba as The Mask

Ed Balls is a "national treasure" after his performances on Strictly Come Dancing, former Labour leader Ed Miliband has said.

He told the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme his former shadow chancellor had "got better and better" throughout the competition.

Mr Balls performed a samba inspired by the film The Mask on Saturday.

Despite being the lowest-scoring celebrity, he made it through to next week's show.

Green face

Mr Miliband described Mr Balls, who wore a yellow suit and had his face painted green for the routine, as "brilliant", but added that he would not be following his former colleague on to the programme.

"I'm not going to paint my face green anytime soon, but it suits him," he told Victoria Derbyshire.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Ed Balls was Ed Miliband's shadow chancellor from 2011 to 2015

On Sunday, EastEnders actress Tameka Empson and her partner Gorka Marquez became the second couple to leave Strictly.

Mr Balls, who lost his parliamentary seat in last year's general election, uttered several catchphrases from The Mask, a 1994 comedy film starring Jim Carrey, before and after his performance. These included the exclamations "Smokin'" and "Somebody stop me".

The judges awarded him and professional partner Katya Jones 25 points for their performance, the lowest mark of the 14 couples, but the public voted for them in sufficient numbers to ensure they avoided the dance-off.

Head judge Len Goodman told him: "You're not the best dancer, but you're definitely the most fun."

Conservative former cabinet ministers George Osborne and Michael Gove have both pledged their support for Mr Balls, who was watched during his performance by his wife, the Labour MP Yvette Cooper.

She described his costume as "startling" and, after his routine, wrote on Twitter that she was "still recovering".

The Victoria Derbyshire programme is broadcast on weekdays between 09:00 and 11:00 on BBC Two and the BBC News channel.