Ed Miliband and Ed Balls (R) sitting together in the Commons Reuters

The shadow chancellor, Ed Balls ,has launched a stinging attack on politicians who do photoshoots with their children over Christmas - the day after the Labour leader, Ed Miliband, was pictured at home with his family.

Mr Balls criticised the photos as "short term, tactical and tempting" saying that he would "never ever" do anything of the sort.

The Labour leader, Ed Miliband, was seen on the front page of the Daily Mirror yesterday cuddling his younger son Samuel, while his wife Justine held two-year-old Daniel.

Further pictures inside showed the parents playing with their children in front of a Christmas tree.

The highly personal portraits emerged with Mr Miliband under pressure over poor opinion polls and badly-received showings in the Commons.

David Cameron has also previously taken part in similar photoshoots.

However, speaking to the Fabian Review, Mr Balls indicated he and wife Yvette Cooper - the shadow home secretary - would not involve their son and two daughters in such publicity.

"The most precious thing for me and us is definitely protecting our children so that they can be who they want to be," he said.

Without mentioning the Prime Minister or Mr Miliband, the shadow chancellor added: "However short-term, tactical and tempting it might be to have pictures on the front of a Sunday magazine, we would never, ever do that."

It is not clear whether the interview was carried out before the Mirror article appeared.

Mr Balls dismissed suggestions that he wanted to unseat Mr Miliband, whom he lost to in last year's leadership contest.

He insisted he backed the leader "100 percent" and warned against the party "turning in on itself", but added: "Who knows what will happen in life?"

"I want to be Chancellor," Mr Balls said. "As I sit here today, I'm happy that is the summit of my ambition. (But) God knows what can happen in life."