Tuesday, January 5, 1999 Published at 11:01 GMT
The old school tie
Lord Falconer went to school with Tony Blair
It has taken less than two years for former high-flying barrister Lord Falconer to swap his legal wigs for the hard hat of the high-profile dome chief.
Lord Falconer is the backroom minister who takes over from Peter Mandelson as the "government's shareholder" in the Millennium Dome.
Upon Labour's election victory, he gave up his legal practice, from which he is reported to have earned £500,000 a year, to join the Tony Blair's government.
Like his predecessor at the dome, Lord Falconer is a firm friend of the prime minister.
Not only did the 47-year-old life peer share a flat with the prime minister, but the pair also went to the same school.
Like the prime minister, Lord Falconer was educated at Fettes College - Scotland's Eton.
His long friendship with Mr Blair has overshadowed his appointment to the dome and his other responsibilities within the government.
Lord Falconer sits on 14 Cabinet committees - more than any other government member, elected or appointed.
He did try to get selected for a seat in the black country but he fell foul of the Dudley selection panel for sending his four children to private schools.
'Eyes and ears'
Despite that set-back, it has not stopped him becoming what many call "the eyes and ears" of Mr Blair within government.
Last summer, he swapped this obscure legal post for the less well-defined, but potentially key role of Minister of State at the Cabinet Office.
Downing Street has emphasised he sat on no more committees than a predecessor in the Cabinet Office - Peter Mandelson.
Lord Falconer is not only described as sharp and intelligent but also jovial, full of anecdotes and "keen on laughter".
He is a pop music buff, reportedly able to name the B-sides of long-lost records from the 60s. He also loves his food.
And, like his school pal, he is also married to a barrister.
UK Politics Contents
A-Z of Parliament