Could we be seeing Ed Balls on Strictly Come Dancing?

Yvette Cooper, his wife, suggests he could follow in Vince Cable's footsteps and make a surprise appearance on the celebrity TV show

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Indy Politics

Yvette Cooper joked that her husband Ed Balls could appear on Strictly Come Dancing after he lost his job as an MP at the election.

But she has little faith in him replicating the impressive foxtrot of former Liberal Democrat Cabinet minister Vince Cable, who starred on the 2010 Christmas special version of the show.

"Somebody said maybe he should go and do Strictly," she said when asked what her husband's next career move might be, admitting it was "a terrifying idea." The former Shadow Chancellor, who lost his Morley and Outwood seat in one of the biggest shocks of the election, is considering "all sorts of different things," she said, refusing to rule out an appearance on our TV screens this autumn. 

Ms Cooper added that he was not plotting a comeback to politics "at the moment," revealing that he is focusing on Norwich City's efforts to win the Championship play-offs and return to the Premier League.

"He's got to do what's right for him. He's thinking about all sorts of different things," she said. "He has spent a lot of time supporting Norwich for the play-offs. He is spending a lot of time answering emails. Ed is going to do the thing that is right for him."

Ms Cooper is one of the two front-runners to replace Ed Miliband as Labour leader, but faces a battle against the favourite - Andy Burnham, who is seen as the preferred candidate of trade unions.

The other two candidates who have declared their leadership bids are Liz Kendall, who is seen as a Blairite, and Mary Creagh, another moderniser. Tristram Hunt is still "considering" whether to run and will make an announcement tomorrow.

There are fears that the Unite union are trying to manipulate the Labour leadership contest into a two-horse race between Andy Burnham and Yvette Cooper

A candidate needs to be nominated by 35 MPs – 15 per cent of the 232 elected this month. Mr Burnham and Ms Cooper, who are both expected to win the backing of some union leaders, are confident of  clearing the hurdle and there is speculation they have already have more than 100 nominations between them.

There are fears that modernisers, who are unlikely to be endorsed by any union bosses, could be squeezed out,  limiting the choice in the “one member, one vote” ballot  in September of Labour members, registered supporters and union members who become “affiliated supporters”.