Ed Balls Biography

(Political Leader)

Birthday: February 25, 1967 (Pisces)

Born In: Norwich, United Kingdom

Ed Balls is a British economist, broadcaster, academician, and author. A former Labour and Co-operative Party politician, he has previously been an MP for Morley and Outwood, Normanton. He has also served as the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, a Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, and the Secretary of State for Children, Schools, and Families. Following his retirement from politics, he has had a multi-dimensional career. He has taught political economy at King's College London. He also appeared on quite a few shows, such as BBC's Strictly Come Dancing, and even won the culinary show Celebrity Best Home Cook. He has penned two bestselling books and has also chaired Norwich City FC. He has been associated with multiple charitable initiatives, too. He and his wife, Yvette Cooper, scripted history as the first couple to become cabinet ministers serving at the same time. The father of three is a family man and loves cooking for his children.

Quick Facts

British Celebrities Born In February

Also Known As: Edward Michael Balls

Age: 57 Years, 57 Year Old Males


Spouse/Ex-: Yvette Cooper (m. 1998)

father: Michael Balls

mother: Carolyn Janet Riseborough

siblings: Andrew Balls

children: Ellie Cooper, Joe Balls, Maddy Balls

Born Country: England

Economists Political Leaders

Height: 5'11" (180 cm), 5'11" Males

Notable Alumni: Keble College, Oxford University

More Facts

education: Harvard Kennedy School (1990), Keble College, Nottingham High School

Childhood, Early Life & Education

Edward Michael Balls, better known as Ed Balls, was born to zoologist Michael Balls and his wife, Carolyn Janet Riseborough, on February 25, 1967, in Norwich, Norfolk, England. He is the elder brother of Andrew Balls, the Global Fixed Income CIO at PIMCO. At age 8, he moved with his family to Nottingham.

He initially attended Crossdale Drive Primary School in Keyworth and then the Nottingham High School. He was known for his violin skills in childhood.

He then joined Keble College, Oxford, where, in 1988, he earned a first-class degree in philosophy, politics, and economics. He also spent a year as a Kennedy scholar at Harvard University, where he studied economics and politics.

He has also been a teaching fellow at the Department of Economics of Harvard University. He was still in school when he joined the Labour Party in 1983. At Oxford, he was part of the Labour Club, the Liberal Club, and the Conservative Association.

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Political Career

Soon after completing his education, Balls began working at the Financial Times, where he was named the Wincott Young Financial Journalist of the Year. He has also penned regular columns for The Sunday Times, The Tribune, and The Guardian.

Gordon Brown, who was the Shadow Chancellor of the Labour Party back then, was drawn to Balls’s political aspirations and named him an advisor. Balls joined Brown’s team in 1997. Later, Balls’s proposal regarding the Bank of England independence was adopted by Brown.

In 2005, he stepped into his own political career and was elected as an MP for Morley and Outwood, Normanton. In 2006, he became the Economic Secretary to the Treasury.

After Brown took over as the prime minister in June 2007, Balls was named Secretary of State for Children, Schools, and Families. In 2010, Balls contested for the Labour leadership but was placed third.

He later became Ed Miliband's Shadow Home Secretary. In this position, he gained more control over the Labour Party’s economic policy. Balls spoke openly against Conservative prime minister David Cameron’s coalition government. In 2011, he was made the Labour Party’s Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer.

He was also careful about not going overboard with government expenses. Balls, however, lost his seat in the May 2015 election, following which he quit politics.

Post-Political Career

After quitting politics, Balls served as a visiting professor and, later, as a professor of political economy at King’s College London. He also received a research fellowship at the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government of the Harvard Kennedy School.

He has delivered seminars at prestigious institutes, such as Harvard, NYU, Yale, Stanford, and USC, apart from King’s. He has also been a consultant at the International Monetary Fund and the EU.

In 2016, he appeared on the reality show Strictly Come Dancing. The same year, he released his memoir, Speaking Out: Lessons in Life and Politics. In 2017, he appeared on the British TV show Would I Lie to You? His Gangnam Style dance was nominated for the Bafta Must-See Moment in 2017.

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He is also known for the popular 2018 BBC TV series Travels in Trumpland: with Ed Balls and the 2020 follow-up series Travels in Euroland with Ed Balls, which was aired on BBC 2. He has also hosted the 2019 BBC TV series What Britain Buys and Sells in a Day, along with Ade Adepitan and Cherry Healey.

Balls was part of the ITN Election night team in the years 2017 and 2019. He has also been a regular on BBC’s The One Show, Radio 2, and Radio 4. He has also presented ITV’s breakfast show Good Morning Britain and has been seen in programs such as The Andrew Neil Show.

An excellent cook, he has often claimed to have cooked for his family and has also won the BBC One culinary reality show Celebrity Best Home Cook in 2021. The same year, he released the book Appetite: A Memoir in Recipes of Family and Food, which became a Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller.

A sports lover, too, he chaired Norwich City FC in 2015. He has also co-chaired the UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation.

A Privy Council member and an Honorary Fellow of Keble College, Oxford, Ed Balls has also been awarded honorary degrees by several institutes, such as the University of East Anglia, Nottingham Trent University, and the University of Nottingham.

He has also been associated with many charitable initiatives. For instance, he has served as the Vice President of Action for Stammering Children and has run the London Marathon thrice to raise money for the cause.

He has also served as a Patron of the British Stammering Association and of Whizz-Kidz. In February 2019, he climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro with eight other reputed climbers, raising more than £2m for Comic Relief.

His 2020 documentary Virtues of Vulnerability won a Silver Award at the 2020 New York Radio Awards and a Gold Award at the Association of International Broadcasting 2020 Awards.

Personal Life

Ed Balls married fellow Labour MP Yvette Cooper in 1998. They have three children, Ellie, Joe, and Maddy. Balls and his wife, Yvette Cooper, became the first husband-wife duo to become cabinet ministers serving together when Cooper became the chief secretary to the treasury in 2008.

Balls often cooks for his children. Apart from cooking, he is also fond of sailing, running, and playing the piano. He divides his time between London and Castleford.

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