- Ten-second biography
A former leader of Trafford Council, Hughes was elected to Parliament as one of the 1997 generation of 'Blair babes'. She initially enjoyed a rapid rise up the political ladder, but in 2004 was forced to resign as immigration minister because she 'unwittingly' misled people. Her career was rehabilitated in 2005 when she was made children's minister by Tony Blair.
- What's her background?
Hughes was educated at Ellesmere Port Girls' Grammar School, Cheshire, Manchester University and Liverpool University. She was a probation officer in Merseyside and went on to became a lecturer and head of department at Manchester University.
- Where does she sit politically?
The non-tribal Hughes was a loyal supporter of Tony Blair while he was PM but now appears more at home when pursuing policies more associated with Gordon Brown, such as helping disabled children and tackling child poverty.
- Is she one to watch?
Hughes is no longer considered a rising star but she is highly rated in Westminster, having proved herself skilled in handling a complex and important brief. Few ministers are more influential or admired in their department.
- Something I didn't know
Hughes was born in Venezuela.