Edward Michael Balls is a British broadcaster, economist and former politician who served as Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families from 2007 to 2010, and as Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer from 2011 to 2015. A member of the Labour Party and the Co-operative Party, he was Member of Parliament (MP) for Normanton and later for Morley and Outwood between 2005 and 2015.
Balls attended Nottingham High School before he studied philosophy, politics and economics at Keble College, Oxford, and was later a Kennedy Scholar in economics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. He was a teaching fellow at Harvard from 1988 to 1990, when he joined the Financial Times as the lead economic writer. Balls had joined the Labour Party while attending Nottingham High School, and became an adviser to Shadow Chancellor Gordon Brown in 1994, continuing in this role after Labour won the 1997 general election, and eventually becoming the Chief Economic Adviser to the Treasury.
At the 2005 general election, Balls was elected as the MP for Normanton (which in 2010 became Morley and Outwood), and in 2006 became Economic Secretary to the Treasury. When Brown became Prime Minister in 2007, Balls became Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, serving until the 2010 general election; Labour were defeated after 13 years in government. Balls was appointed Shadow Secretary of State for Education under Harriet Harman (as temporary leader) and finished in third place at the 2010 Labour leadership election, triggered by Brown's resignation as Leader of the Labour Party, after which he was appointed as Ed Miliband's Shadow Home Secretary. He served in this role until 2011, when he was appointed Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, a role that he held until he was unseated at the 2015 general election.
Following his electoral defeat, he became a senior fellow at Harvard University Kennedy School's Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government, and a visiting professor to the Policy Institute at King's College London. He was appointed chairman of Norwich City F.C. in December 2015, a position he held until December 2018. In 2020, he was appointed Professor of Political Economy at King's College London. Balls was a contestant on series 14 of the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing, surviving until week 10, and in 2021 was the winner in the BBC's Celebrity Best Home Cook. He is currently a presenter for the ITV breakfast show Good Morning Britain.