I'm trying to avoid dance-offs, says Balls after Honey G challenge

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Strictly Come Dancing's Ed Balls has declined an invitation to perform a dance-off with aspiring rapper Honey G.

The controversial X Factor contestant challenged the former shadow chancellor to a contest on the dancefloor at the weekend.

"I'd like to challenge Ed Balls to a dance-off. Challenge me any day. He knows where I am," the 35-year-old said.

Honey G.
Honey G (Syco/Thames/Dymond/ITV)

But Ed, 49, suggested he would be steering clear of the North Weezy rapper.

"I have spent 10 weeks trying to avoid the dance-off. And so far I have," he told ITV show Lorraine.

"If I'm in the dance-off I'm out. So I'm afraid my answer is I'm trying to avoid the dance-offs."

Ed Balls
Ed Balls (BBC / Guy Levy)

While Ed turned down Honey G's offer, he did enjoy an energetic routine with TV host Lorraine Kelly on her show.

The pair danced together before Lorraine interviewed him.

He praised Lorraine afterwards, saying: "I thought you and I were pretty good dancing together. A dance-off between you and me, now that would be really special."

Ed admitted "I'm probably the worst dancer" on Strictly Come Dancing, but added: "I'm really, really trying."

He said his wife, Labour MP Yvette Cooper, "is really, really keen that she could learn a couple of (dances) for next year" - but at the moment he is focusing on practising with Strictly professional Katya Jones.

Labour deputy leader Tom Watson said in a video message, played on the ITV show, that Ed "was getting more points than Labour in the opinion polls".

Ed, who has spoken of his "inner Beyonce", is insisting he will not bow out of the BBC1 show, despite his lack of dance talent.

"I've got to be respectful to people who are voting for me and using their money on the phone," he said. "I'd love to get a seven from Craig (Revel Horwood) or an eight from Len (Goodman)."