Public Affairs: Lobbying Target - Jim Murphy, secretary of state for Scotland

The teetotal Scotsman has successfully straddled the Blair/Brown divide and entered the Cabinet in last month's reshuffle.

- Ten-second biography

A former president of the National Union of Students, Murphy was propelled into Parliament in 1997 as Scotland's youngest MP. Since taking his first step on the government ladder in 2001 he has been junior whip, employment minister and Europe minister. He took over from Des Browne as Scottish secretary last month.

- What's his background?

He was raised among three generations of the same family in a two-bedroom flat on a Glasgow council estate. When he was 12 years old his family moved to Cape Town, South Africa, but upon finishing secondary school he returned to Scotland. He worked as a joiner before attending the University of Strathclyde.

- Where does he sit politically?

Said to be part of the Blairite 'Primrose Hill set', along with the likes of David Miliband and James Purnell. Murphy has a record of being loyal to the leadership and rarely voting against the Government.

- Why he is someone to watch

Murphy is a safe pair of hands who has risen steadily up the government ladder since 2001. Despite his Blairite credentials this rise has continued apace under Brown and shows little sign of stopping.

- Something I may not have known

Murphy captains the House of Commons football team.

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