'I'm available to rub your ankle anytime': Ed Balls, 49, sends flirty offer to injured fellow Strictly star Laura Whitmore, 31

She's been plagued by rumours of budding romance with Strictly Come Dancing professional Giovanni Pernice.

But Laura Whitmore, 31, should be more wary of advances from fellow contestant Ed Balls, 49, it seems, after the blonde bombshell revealed their flirty group text messages.

Speaking at the Unsigned Music Awards, the star let slip that the former politician offered to help her with her injured ankle in a group chat with their Strictly co-stars.

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Flirty exchange: Laura Whitmore revealed that her fellow Strictly Come Dancing contestant Ed Balls has been sending her cheeky group text messages messages

Miss Whitmore said: ‘Ed Balls sent me a message saying, “I’m available to rub your ankle anytime you want, Laura”. I was like, “Ed Balls just sent me that message”.

‘I love my Whatsapp group because it’s the most eclectic group of people. We all click. I don’t know if it was like this other years. You can’t fake that.’

Laura, one of the show’s best dancers, was forced to miss the live BBC1 Saturday show a fortnight ago after picking up a bad ankle injury which left her unable to stand unaided.

Getting close: The cheeky monkey is said to have offered Laura a foot rub for her injured ankle

The ex-Chancellor, meanwhile, has not been hampered by any such injury but has still managed to flail across the dancefloor, often looking like he is in serious pain.

Despite this, Ed has become an unlikely audience favourite and his desperate attempts to rumba or cha cha cha have endeared him to the public.

He has however managed to lose around a stone in weight thanks to endless hours of training.

His wife Yvette Cooper was said to be ‘thrilled’ by her husband's increasingly slimline physique. 

Injured: Laura was left out of last weekend's competition with an injured ankle

Two weeks ago his routine alongside professional dancer, Katya, left a lot to be desired, however, and the 49-year-old was accused of being ‘gropey’ after nearly dropping her during a lift.

Amid gasps from the studio audience, he fumbled with his 22-year-old partner’s chest and upper thigh as he tried desperately not to drop her.  

This year’s Strictly hopefuls have all struck up a close-knit friendship circle, which includes a group forum on Whatsapp, allowing them to share messages. 

Last month, the former Shadow Chancellor did reveal he is yet to be invited on a night out with the younger contestants on this year's show – because 'he's too old'.

The 49-year-old said that after a long day of filming the show on a Saturday, many of the Strictly cast and crew head into central London for a couple of drinks.

Awkward: Ed gathered audible gasps when he awkwardly lifted his dance partner Katya Jones the other weekend

But he says he always gets left behind because 'he is too old' compared to the show's younger stars such as 27-year-old Daisy Lowe and Laura, 31. 

Speaking to Nick Grimshaw on Radio 1 this morning, he said: 'The contestants my age go home and go to bed and the younger celebs go out into central London or Soho. And go until about 2am.

'Really sadly, they've not invited me. I don't know what it is but there's this awkward moment about midnight and people sort of slip out, and I'm just stood there.

'And no one wants to say goodbye because they all want to leave without people realising. It's really tragic. They keep promising it but so far they've not sealed the deal.' 

Lifting left, right and centre: On Tuesday, Ed lifted Good Morning Britain presenter Susanna Reid




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