Sarah Teather takes on the high-profile education brief little more than two years after becoming an MP.
She first entered Parliament at the age of 29 after winning the normally safe Labour seat of Brent East in a by-election in September 2003.
She was given the role of Lib Dem spokesman for London and, against many predictions, managed to hold on to her seat at the 2005 general election.
Charles Kennedy then gave her the more senior frontbench job of local government spokesman which was later combined with covering the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.
A Cambridge graduate who studied pharmacology, Ms Teather worked for the Macmillan Fund for Cancer Relief and was an Islington councillor before winning Brent East.