Yvette Cooper: 'Blair Babe' is now among party's brightest prospects

FROM the start of her political career Yvette Cooper was identified as one of Labour's future stars and many within the party believe she will eventually be their leader.

The Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford MP was one of the so-called "Blair Babes", winning her seat in 1997 as the party swept to power in a landslide victory.

Born on March 20, 1969, in Inverness, Scotland, her father Tony Cooper was a trade unionist and her mother June was a maths teacher. Having studied at Balliol College, Oxford, Harvard University and the London School of Economics, she began her career as an economics researcher to the then Shadow Chancellor, the late John Smith, and then worked in Arkansas in Bill Clinton's presidential candidate's team.

After the 1997 election, a steady rise through the ranks culminated in her securing a position in Gordon Brown's Cabinet, first as Chief Secretary to the Treasury and later as Work and Pensions Secretary

When Labour lost power many thought the 41-year-old would stand for the leadership of the party but it was her husband Ed Balls who bid for the top job.

After a short time as Shadow Foreign Secretary, many feel Ms Cooper new role as Shadow Home Secretary puts her in a suitably high-profile position to show if she, and the Labour Party, can be a credible alternative by the next election.

She has less than a week before playing a key role in Labour's response to the Government's plans for the future of controversial control orders, a key plank in the UK's counter-terrorism armoury.

Ms Cooper will also want to try and win the support of Britain's police forces, currently struggling with a 20 per cent real terms budget cut over the next four years.

She succeeds Mr Balls, whom she married within a year of entering the House of Commons.