Ed Balls on his childhood look: ‘A wonky bowl! What was Mum thinking?’

The former cabinet minister recreates a childhood photo and talks about his journey from political ‘bruiser’ to Strictly hero and beyond

Former cabinet minister Ed Balls was born in Norwich in 1967. After a stint as a journalist at the Financial Times, he was poached by then shadow chancellor Gordon Brown in 1994 and became a key figure in forging the New Labour identity. Since losing his parliamentary seat in 2015, he has rebranded as a TV personality, appearing on Strictly Come Dancing and Celebrity Best Home Cook, and presenting documentaries. He lives in Castleford and London with his wife, Yvette Cooper MP, and their three children. His second book, Appetite: A Memoir in Recipes of Family and Food, is out now.

My mum really upped the ante with this school photo. We didn’t have a uniform – so it’s an outfit from a set, with an elastic tie. And the hair – a wonky bowl! What was she thinking?

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