The new Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine of Lairg, has appointed Blairite constitutional expert Tony Wright as his parliamentary private secretary.
The minister's PPS traditionally acts as his “eyes and ears” on the back benches but Wright, who was a politics lecturer before becoming an MP, may extend this role.
Chris Philipsborn, head of the Law Society's parliamentary unit, said: “Lord Irvine is known to be very reluctant to talk to the media; by contrast Wright is very media friendly.”
Irvine's predecessor, Lord Mackay, who was also media shy, had made a similar appointment in Peter Loff as his PPS.
But Irvine had an extra need for a good man to fight his corner in the media, said Philipsborn, since Mackay had been seen as an outsider, untainted by politics, whereas Irvine was seen as a behind-the-scenes party heavyweight with the ear of Tony Blair.