Ed Balls blasted EU red tape and called for proper borders despite Remain vote
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The former Labour Party politician, 54, left politics six years ago as he lost his seat at the General Election. The ex-MP for Morley and Outwood is also the former Shadow Chancellor and the Treasury’s Chief Economic Adviser. After leaving politics, Mr Balls carved out a role as a TV personality, appearing on several popular programmes. His stint on the BBC’s ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ in 2016 was followed up with other appearances on shows like ‘Would I Lie to You?’
The former politician also fronted his own show, ‘Travels in Trumpland with Ed Balls’, in which he met supporters of former US President Donald Trump.
Mr Balls’ latest on-screen appearance comes tonight on ‘Richard Osman’s House of Games Night’.
The quiz show sees Richard test celebrities’ general knowledge in a bid to win a series of prizes.
Joining Mr Balls in the hot seat will be Janette Manrara, Steph McGovern and Ben Miller.
In the immediate aftermath of Mr Balls losing his seat in the House of Commons, he remained engaged with the political world in the run-up to the June 2016 referendum on Britain’s EU membership.
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Just days before the public vote – which saw Britain choose Brexit – Mr Balls issued a passionate plea for the public to vote to keep the country in the EU.
In a column for the Daily Mirror, the former politician made his case for the UK being part of the trading bloc.
However, he also admitted he harboured elements of Euroscepticism as he criticised Brussels’ red tape and its approach to immigration.
He wrote: “I’m not voting for the status quo – Europe still doesn’t work well enough for Britain.
“There’s still too much waste and bureaucracy from Brussels, and – while a limit has been secured on the benefits paid to migrant workers – I don’t think that can be the end of the story.
“We need to press Europe to restore proper borders and put new controls on economic migration.”
Mr Balls referred to a concession on immigration the EU made to then-Prime Minister David Cameron.
The Tory leader managed to secure his desired so-called “emergency brake” to curb migrants’ access to benefits in Britain.
Mr Cameron, who also backed Remain, saw the measure as essential to sway public opinion towards keeping Britain in the EU.
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However, the UK still voted to leave the bloc, and Mr Cameron was forced to resign as Prime Minister.
Mr Balls compared the choice at the referendum to Britain nearly joining the Euro, saying that being part of the common currency would have “crippled our economy”.
On immigration, he added: “If we leave the EU now, we can’t make those changes happen, and we’ll face the worst of all worlds.
“Stay in the single market and be forced to accept free movement of people like Switzerland and Norway.
“Or leave the single market and see jobs, investment and our public services hammered.
“It’s a huge call, and we only get one chance. We got it right on the euro. Let’s get it right on Remain.”
‘Richard Osman’s House of Games Night’ is on BBC One from 8pm-8:30pm.
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