Peter Hain, first minister for Northern Ireland and Wales, who is being tipped as a future contender for the job of deputy prime minister, has developed a reputation in investment circles as a deal-closer.

“He was very supportive in terms of helping us come into Northern Ireland,” says Matthew Vallance, CEO of ICICI One Source, an Indian business process outsourcing company that recently committed to opening two outsourcing centres in Northern Ireland, creating 1000 jobs (see page 44).

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A former union leader and chairman of a newspaper group, Mr Hain was elected to the UK parliament in 1991, representing Wales’ Neath constituency. Having served as minister in the Welsh Office, minister for Africa in the Foreign Office, minister for energy at the Department of Trade & Industry, and minister for Europe at the Foreign Office, he was promoted to the Cabinet in 2002 when he became secretary of state for Wales. He took on the additional brief of secretary of state for Northern Ireland last May.