The former Labour politician, and husband to new shadow home secretary, Yvette Cooper, Ed Balls looks into his family history in the latest episode of Who Do You Think You Are?
Yvette Cooper made a return to Labour’s frontbench as Sir Keir Starmer carried out a reshuffle of his top team.
Balls was the shadow chancellor from 2011 to 2015, more recently he’s known for his stint in Strictly Come Dancing.
Here’s what you need to know about Yvette Cooper, Ed Balls and Tuesday’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are?
Who is Yvette Cooper?
A former cabinet minister and the current chairwoman of the Commons Home Affairs Committee, the 52-year-old was appointed shadow home secretary in the Labour reshuffle and will take on Priti Patel over the migrant crisis.
She previously held the role of shadow home secretary from 2011 to 2015.
She has been an MP since 1997 and was a Cabinet minister when Labour was in government.
After her new role was announced, she tweeted: “Looking forward to getting to work as @UKLabour Shadow Home Secretary, working with @Keir_Starmer & building on the work done by @NickTorfaen.
“We want our communities & country to be strong, safe & secure. The Home Office is badly letting people down. Much to do.”
Ms Cooper, MP for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford, was chief secretary to the Treasury from January 2008 to June 2009, and then secretary of state for work and pensions from June 2009 to May 2010.
More recently, she has been on a number of committees including the Commons Home Affairs Committee, where as chairwoman she has conducted forensic questioning.
She married husband Ed Balls on 10 January, 1998, in Eastbourne.
The couple have two daughters and one son.
What has been said about the Labour reshuffle?
A reshuffle carried out by Opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer on Monday was seen to be the end of a move away from the Jeremy Corbyn era of Labour, which took the party to the left.
But Lisa Nandy, who moved from being shadow foreign secretary to shadow levelling-up secretary, said that was not the conversation happening within the party, as it was suggested that Labour only wins elections when it moves to the centre-right.
Ms Nandy told Sky News: “We’re moving North; left or right, you can keep that debate. We’re going out into the country and we’re going to start delivering for people in towns, villages and cities that have been completely and utterly abandoned by the political system.
“You go to Grimsby, you go to Barnsley, you go to Aberdeen, you will find proud communities that have a contribution to make.
“But so often they are held back, not by the skills of their young people, not by the abilities in those communities, not by their own ambition, but by a national Government that isn’t investing in the infrastructure that would bring good jobs.”
“With this reshuffle we are a smaller, more focused shadow cabinet that mirrors the shape of the Government we are shadowing,” Sir Keir said.
“We must hold the Conservative Government to account on behalf of the public and demonstrate that we are the right choice to form the next government.”
What is Ed Ball’s appearance on Who Do You Think You Are? about?
Ed Balls features in the seventh episode of the 18th series, which will air on BBC One on Tuesday (30 November) at 9pm.
His mother Carolyn’s dementia means she can’t share their family history with him, so he sets out to discover who his ancestors were.
Rumours on his paternal side about a link to Nelson’s ship HMS Victory lead Ed to Portsmouth and the story of his great-great-great-grandfather William Dunbar, an assistant surgeon.
However, as he unravels Dunbar’s medical career, he unearths a dark history of abuse and horror at a Kent workhouse. On his mother he explores the story of an agricultural labourer put on trial at Norwich Castle after he stood up to defend his livelihood and community.
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