Mid-life crisis 'indulgent' but Balls admits he was 'too heavy' with Tony Blair
Cabinet minister turned Strictly Come Dancing contestant Ed Balls has admitted his MP wife Yvette Cooper finds his mid-life crisis indulgent.
As Mr Balls prepares to try and dance his way to a new public image he denied bullying Tony Blair when he acted as Gordon Brown's political bruiser during the bitter Downing Street turf war between the two giants of New Labour.
When asked what his wife thought of his mid-life crisis, Mr Balls, who was turfed out of Westminster by voters at the last general election, told The Guardian: "She thinks it's a bit indulgent.
"When we were both in parliament, she thought it was easier for me to have a midlife crisis than her. Politics and family were all-consuming, and she thought it was indulgent for me to be going off doing marathons."
Asked about his reputation as an intellectual bully who patronised Mr Blair when he was prime minister, Mr Balls said: "Tony Blair, in his pomp, patronised? Nooooo. I mean that's just complete crap.
"But with the euro, we were tough with No 10. Really tough. And at times we stepped over the mark. At times we were too heavy. There is no doubt in that first period in dealing with No 10 that there were times, intellectually and in policy terms, that we were definitely too heavy.
"I think we were intellectually steamrollering. I'd accept that, but that isn't the same as bullying."
Mr Balls admitted that Mr Brown became more "distant" from him when he finally replaced Mr Blair as prime minister.