New Treasury Chief Secretary Danny Alexander

Image caption,
Mr Alexander played a key role in the general election campaign

The resignation of David Laws as Chief Secretary to the Treasury has thrust his replacement, former Scottish Secretary Danny Alexander, into the political spotlight.

The appointment of Mr Alexander to his second Cabinet post in less than a month marks the next step in his rapid political rise.

Virtually unknown outside the Westminster bubble, his profile shot up during the election campaign as Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg's chief of staff.

It was during negotiations on the forming of a coalition that the former press officer came into his own - as he relayed the twists and turns of the talks to the waiting news cameras.

As the new Chief Secretary to the Treasury, he now faces the daunting task of implementing the new government's deficit reduction plan.

Social exclusion

The Oxford graduate, 38, already holds an influential position amongst senior Lib Dems.

He was Mr Clegg's campaign manager in his successful bid to lead the party in 2007, and they have a close personal and political relationship.

Mr Alexander had his own desk within Mr Clegg's office prior to his short-lived appointment to the Scotland Office, and he played a key role in the election campaign.

Although outwardly serious, the bespectacled red-head is said to be very funny in private, and able to break tensions with a good joke.

The MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey entered the Commons as part of the 2005 intake with a 4,148 majority.

The then leader Charles Kennedy instantly made him a member of the work and pensions team, which was followed by a spell as a whip.

He later led on social exclusion issues before becoming the party's work and pensions spokesman.

He relinquished the role after becoming chief of staff and chairman of the manifesto group.

Daniel Grian Alexander gained a BA in politics, philosophy and economics from St Anne's College, Oxford, after attending Lochaber High School in Fort William.

He worked as a press officer for the Scottish Liberal Democrats, before becoming head of communications for the European Movement.

It was a role he repeated for the Britain in Europe campaign.

He was briefly appointed head of communications for the Cairngorms National Park before his election as an MP.

His second daughter was born just last week, and he lists his interests as hill-walking, fishing, cricket, golf, reading and travel.

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