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Ed Balls and Robert Peston cover Sex Pistols’ ‘Anarchy in the UK’ in debut gig as Centrist Dad

Former Labour shadow chancellor and ITV’s political news editor have teamed up to form a rock‘n’roll cover band

Nicole Vassell
Monday 11 September 2023 13:06 BST
Robert Peston and Ed Balls form punk band and perform at London street party

Ed Balls and Robert Peston switched from politics to punk as they debuted their new band, Centrist Dad, at an event in London this weekend, cheered on by former Labour leader Ed Miliband.

The broadcaster and former Labour shadow chancellor united with ITV’s political news editor to form the rock‘n’roll cover band.

On Sunday (10 September), they performed at the York Rise street party in Hampstead, treating the audience to a selection of classic songs.

Video footage shows Peston, 63, singing Sex Pistols’ famous 1973 track “Anarchy in the UK” as Balls, 56, plays drums energetically in the background.

Their friends, Radio 4 host John Wilson and Chris Taylor joined the band on bass and guitar, respectively.

Other songs included in Centrist Dad’s set list included “Teenage Kicks” by The Undertones and Blondie’s “One Way or Another”.

Miliband, shadow secretary for energy security and net zero, was also spotted in footage from Camden New Journal supporting the band from the crowd.

Balls appeared on ITV’s early daytime news and commentary programme Good Morning Britain on Monday (11 September) and poked fun at the concept of Peston singing the lyrics: “I am an antichrist, I am an anarchist.”

“Dads are supposed to be embarrassing,” he offered as an explanation, adding: “Over the years, I’ve overachieved.”

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He went on to mention that, despite his predictions, his children weren’t completely dissatisfied with his musical display.

Centrist Dads performing at the York Rise street party, 2023 (The Independent)

“Actually, their view was, it wasn’t as embarrassing as they expected. They think the name ‘Centrist Dad’ is terrible; appalling! My son said, ‘Owen Jones [the left-wing journalist] will hate it.’”

Previously, Balls explained that they chose the name because all band members are fathers with politics that fall in the “middle of the road”.

Balls has three adult children from his marriage to Labour MP Yvette Cooper: Joe, Maddy and Ellie.

For Monday’s edition of GMB, Balls and Ranvir Singh were at the helm after usual anchor Susanna Reid was forced to pull out of hosting.

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