Ed Balls has almost been persuaded to get a fake tan as Strictly Come Dancing takes him further and further away from his “comfort zone”.
The former shadow chancellor made a lumbering Strictly debut last weekend and is now in training for the live shows with his professional partner Katya Jones.
On whether he would adopt a dance floor-friendly orange glow, he told the Telegraph: “I’m a bit squeamish, but my partner, Katya, says it’s imperative.”
He added: “I am so far outside my comfort zone. Every time I hit a barrier of what I think is socially acceptable, I have to make another leap.”
The ex-politician, who lost his seat in the 2015 general election, admitted he had already been defeated in his attempt to veto “glitter and spangles”.
“There have been so many times when I’ve said to someone, ‘I can’t do that. It’s too camp,’” he said. “The reply is, ‘This is Strictly. Nothing can ever be too camp.’”
However, he revealed one advantage of dance-wear: “I’ve discovered why people’s shirts don’t fall out on the show. You stitch them on to your boxers so that your shirt and pants are all one garment.
“I’m going to wear one for the rest of my life. It solves a fundamental problem.”
Ed may have the support of his wife, the Labour MP Yvette Cooper, but it was the laughter of his children – daughters aged 17 and 12, and a son aged 15 – which prepared him for the public’s reaction to his dancing.
“The two oldest ones came to my dressing room and I showed them my moves,” he explained.
“They laughed so much that I got an inkling of what the audience reaction would be.
“However, there is quite a strong embarrassment factor. My older daughter is clear. This is what dads are supposed to do, as long as I don’t overstep the mark. I haven’t discussed fake tan with her.”