Ed Balls delves into his family’s dark past as he learns his ancestor was accused of misconduct at a workhouse
Ed Balls expressed his ‘deep concern’ as he unveiled his distant relative William Dunbar’s dark past.
The former MP, 54, has recently been seen making new ventures outside of politics on Good Morning Britain, and the former Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, made another television appearance on BBC’s Who Do You Think You Are? as he traced his family tree.
In Tuesday’s upcoming episode he discovers that his three times great grandfather, who was once a an assistant surgeon on HMS Victory during the Napoleonic wars, later took on a post at a workhouse.
‘I want him to be one of the good guys’: Ed Balls delved into his family’s dark past on BBC’s Who Do You Think You Are? learning his ancestor was accused of misconduct at a workhouse
Speaking with RadioTimes, The former Labour politician said: ‘In both cases, the workhouse is – and the master of the workhouse is – mistreating one inmate and not feeding another, but in both cases, the accusation is that William Dunbar is an accessory.’
Ed then reads an extract from a history book before expressing that it was difficult to celebrate his ancestors successes following later incidents in Kent.
William is not only accused of kissing the workhouse master’s 16-year-old daughter but also manslaughter alongside the master.
Discovery: Ed reflected on his discovery upon finding out about the accusations against his relative that he previously deemed as noble
Ed reflected on his discovery upon finding out about the accusations against his relative that he previously deemed as noble.
He added: ‘That feels like a noble pursuit, but to then read these accounts of the poorest and the most vulnerable being mistreated cruelly and to read that he might have been part of that… so from pride to deep concern.’
‘I don’t want to be ashamed. I’m related to him, I don’t want him to be part of the cruelty – I want him to be one of the good guys not one of the bad guys.’
Dark past: ‘I don’t want to be ashamed. I’m related to him, I don’t want him to be part of the cruelty’
Previously, Ed also discovered that an ancestor on his mother’s side agricultural worker Christopher Green had been an arsonist.
The farmer worker had rebelled against the onset of new machinery that would do his job for him and was later charged with burning down the farmhouse.
It comes after Ed made his his Good Morning Britain presenting debut earlier this month – hosting the breakfast news show alongside Susanna Reid.
Making history: Ed learnt about his family history (pictured: Ed’s great grandparents Frank Smith Balls and Jessie Dunbar)