Talent issue - the politician: Pat McFadden

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Indy Politics

Pat McFadden is one of the Blairites who have prospered since Gordon Brown became Prime Minister. As Blair's former political secretary and deputy chief of staff, he was in the thick of some of the rows between Blair and his Chancellor.

But that didn't stop Brown promoting him to Minister of State at the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform when he announced his government team in June. As the minister in charge of employment relations, McFadden has to perform a delicate balancing act, trying to keep both employers and the trade unions happy, as well as implementing European Union directives about workplace rights.

His previous work as a backroom adviser to John Smith, Donald Dewar and Blair was good training for handling the unions, even if he often has to reject their demands. He has impressed civil servants with his ability to get quickly to the heart of the matter and steer a sensible course through potential minefields.

McFadden's performance has impressed the new Prime Minister. He has also been entrusted with the post of chairing Labour's national policy forum, which means he will play a role in brokering the party's manifesto for the next election.

Quiet-spoken and self-effacing, he was born in Paisley 42 years ago, the youngest of seven children, and grew up in Glasgow. After 17 years as a backroom speechwriter, adviser and fixer, he became MP for Wolverhampton South East at the 2005 election.

Although not widely known outside Westminster, McFadden is a good bet for promotion to the Cabinet when Brown reshuffles his pack and is likely to become a much more familiar face in the run-up to the next election.

Portrait by Dominick Tyler