Mike Hall is to chair Labour's backbench education committee in succession to Gerry Steinberg, who quit over the Harriet Harman affair.
Mr Hall, 43, won the marginal Warrington South seat from the Conservatives at the last election and sits on the powerful Public Accounts Committee, a sign that he is highly rated by party leaders.
One of the numerous ex-teachers on the Labour benches, his policy specialism since becoming an MP has been special needs. But his background has given him a practical appreciation of further and higher education. He went to a secondary modern school in Ashton-under-Lyne and worked as a scientific assistant at ICI before enrolling as a mature student at Padgate College of Higher Education. He then took an education degree at North Chester College, a Manchester University affiliate.
He was doing a part-time masters degree when elected, but has no plans to complete it until he leaves Parliament. With redistribution giving him the new Weaver Vale seat, projected as safer than his present 191 majority, he has a chance of a long wait. On higher education issues he says: "It is obvious that funding is the major issue and that we have to come up with proposals for a properly-funded service."