Rebecca Long-Bailey’s rise through Labour’s ranks since being elected MP for Salford and Eccles in 2015 was cemented on Friday after she was made shadow business secretary.
The 37-year-old replaced Clive Lewis who resigned over the Brexit Bill.
Sources say a plot is being orchestrated by shadow chancellor John McDonnell for the docker’s daughter to succeed Jeremy Corbyn.
A hard-left Labour MP could be working towards Jeremy Corbyn's position as party leader
A Labour insider said Mrs Long-Bailey was Mr McDonnell’s “preferred candidate” because her relative inexperience meant he could remain as “the power behind the throne”.
The insider said: “What we are seeing is a repeat of the Blair-Brown era being played out behind closed doors. McDonnell knows he is unelectable, but if he can get a young, careerist MP to do his bidding, then his future in the Labour party will be assured.”
The mother of one has previously worked as a lawyer for Hill Dickinson, a legal firm which works closely with the NHS. Her LinkedIn profile said she specialised in “NHS contracts”.
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Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn takes part in a community meeting at the Guru Har Rai Gurdwara Sahib temple
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Sources suggest John McDonnell is orchestrating events from the shadows
McDonnell knows he is unelectable, but if he can get a young, careerist MP to do his bidding, then his future in the Labour party will be assured
The firm’s website states that it offers advice on public/private partnerships, private finance initiatives and outsourcing. Labour has previously accused the Tories of attempting to privatise the NHS.
On February 2, Mrs Long-Bailey appeared on the BBC’s political panel show Question Time accusing the Government of “stripping the NHS of funding”.
She added: “In 2010 the Government implemented a reorganisation of the NHS so big you could see it from outer space in an attempt to break it up and privatise it. That’s their agenda, that’s their direction of travel and the rest of us are going to suffer as a consequence.”
Rebecca Long-Bailey's 'inexperience' could prove useful to McDonnell
Mr McDonnell later tweeted: “Rebecca Long-Bailey was brilliant with convincing common sense answers. Next generation of our socialist leadership team emerging.”
Mr McDonnell is understood to have spotted Mrs Long-Bailey when she worked for him as shadow chief secretary to the treasury.
The diminutive blonde nominated Mr Corbyn for leader in 2015 along with 34 other Labour MPs, including shadow home secretary Diane Abbott and former foreign secretary Margaret Beckett.
Last week the Labour leader had to deny he was stepping down
Last week Mr Corbyn was forced to deny reports he had set a timetable to step down after 52 Labour MPs rebelled against his three-line whip on triggering Article 50, dubbing it “fake news”.
Mr McDonnell was not available for comment and Mrs LongBailey did not reply to a request for comment.