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Last Updated: Sunday, 24 June 2007, 16:59 GMT 17:59 UK
Profile: Hilary Benn
Hilary Benn
Age: 53
Job: International Development Secretary
Political Pedigree: More moderate son of Tony

Hilary Benn was seen by bookmakers as one of the favourites to win Labour's deputy leadership, but in the end he only managed to muster enough support to come fourth.

He will take comfort, however, from Gordon Brown's announcement in his leadership acceptance speech that he wants to beef up Mr Benn's department for international development.

Mr Benn was promoted to head of the department just four years after he became an MP was fast work by anyone's reckoning.

Seen as a rising star on the Labour benches, he had already made ministerial rank just two years after winning a by-election in Leeds Central in June 1999.

A stint as minister under Clare Short at DFID was followed by his appointment as prisons minister in the Home Office.

He came back to DFID after Ms Short resigned in protest over the Iraq war in 2003.

Valerie Amos' promotion to be leader of the House of Lords, in the wake of the death of Lord Williams of Mostyn, led to Mr Benn's promotion to Cabinet.

His time then at Westminster may have been brief, but he was already a well-known figure in the Labour Party even before becoming an MP.

Politics in the blood

He served for 20 years as a councillor in Ealing, and was special adviser to then-Education Secretary David Blunkett.

Politics is in the blood. Mr Benn is son of Tony Benn, the long serving former cabinet minister and icon of the Labour Left, while his grandfather and great-grandfathers were MPs too.

But the MP has not inherited all his father's ideas.

Tony Benn
Famous father: Tony Benn is 'generous' with advice
Well-used to answering questions about the influence on his political life from his famous father, he describes himself as "a Benn, but not a Bennite", and is a committed Labour moderniser.

"I am very proud of my father and he has been a great support to me," he told the BBC.

"He has got an enormous amount of experience and he is always very generous with his advice."

"There was a piece of advice that his father passed on to him: 'Never wrestle with a chimney sweep'.

Wide brief

"And I think this means in politics your opponents may be grappling around in the gutter, but don't get down there with them because you will only end up covered in soot."

In 2002, Mr Benn moved to the Home Office as prisons minister.

But it was a brief stay before his return to international development.

The secretary of state role comes with a massive brief - on top of post-war Iraq, the rebuilding of Afghanistan remains a hot topic, not to mention famine in Africa.

"The issues surrounding international development are what bring people out on to the streets at the beginning of this century, the debate about globalisation and how democracy responds to that and so on," Mr Benn has said.




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