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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 April, 2005, 15:15 GMT 16:15 UK
Lorna boon

By Mark Simpson
BBC News

POSTED: Thursday 21 April, 1600BST

If anyone is laying odds on who might gain promotion in a Labour third term, back-bencher Lorna Fitzsimons might be worth a bet.

Lorna Fitzsimons with new campaign volunteer
Tony Blair seemed to drop a big hint during a visit to Rochdale that he has plans for her after May 5th (if he - and she - wins). He described the Labour loyalist as "a remarkable woman... with a big future in British politics".

Not before time say Lorna's friends, pointing out that she took a pay cut from her job as a lobbyist to enter Parliament.

Of course, nothing in politics is guaranteed. And with the Lib Dems breathing down her neck in Rochdale, she isn't certain to be an MP next month, never mind a minister. Funnily enough, that may have had something to do with today's prime ministerial visit.

(Click here for all the candidates in Rochdale.)

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