Public Affairs: Lobbying target Steve Webb, Lib Dem work and pensions spokesman

Ten-second biography

Elected in 1997 to represent Northavon, near Bristol. From 2003 to 2006 he was the party's health spokesman. More recently he held the environment portfolio, before landing his current post as work and pensions spokesman in January 2009.

- What's his background?

Born in Birmingham, he attended the local comprehensive school before studying PPE at Oxford. After graduating, he became an economist at the Institute for Fiscal Studies and then professor of social policy at Bath University.

- Where does he sit politically?

Unlike some of his frontbench colleagues, Webb is seen as more of a 'social liberal' than a free marketer. A committed Christian, he lists his interests as pensions and benefit issues, as well as alleviating third world debt.

- Is he one to watch?

Yes. Webb is well-liked by many party activists and could be poised to take over from Simon Hughes as the standard bearer for the liberal left of the party.

Something I may not have known

Webb has more than 1,000 Facebook friends.

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