A TOP political pundit has tipped Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy to be the country's next Labour prime minister because "she looks like a Tory".
John Rentoul, who is the chief political commentator for The Independent on Sunday newspaper and a biographer of Tony Blair, has created a stir with his comments suggesting that Ms Creasy is the perfect candidate if the party is to appeal to the broader electorate.
It comes after David Cameron described himself as having a "blossoming friendship" with Ms Creasy during this week's prime minister's question time.
Mr Rentoul, who believes that current Labour leader Ed Miliband will lose the next general election in 2015, said Ms Creasy's success in gaining cross-party support in her battle for tighter controls on loan companies showed she could capture the middle ground needed to win general elections.
He said: "I've spent quite a few weeks thinking about who could be the next party leader and now [former shadow cabinet member] Alan Johnson is out of the picture.
"Looking over the current lot of MPs there is a surprising dearth of candidates, so I think you have to look to the new intake.
“I think it would be politically advantageous for Labour to have a woman and Stella comes out the best.
"She comes across well and she looks like a Tory.
"When she asked that question to Cameron this week [about loan companies] the Tory benches got very excited.
“Part of it was blokishness but you can see they don't think she's Labour dyed in the wool. That broad appeal is a bit of what [Tony] Blair had.
"She comes across well on television too. What matters in modern politics is the media and if you can perform well on camera that's half the battle won."
Mr Rentoul added that Ms Creasy, who has been an MP since the May election, also has good prospects as she has never rebelled against Labour and is widely regarded as a party loyalist.
However, she was not given a shadow cabinet role by Ed Miliband last year - as some commentators had predicted - following her backing of David Miliband for party leader.
Her career has also not been all plain sailing. In 2005 she was mysteriously de-selected by party colleagues as a Labour councillor in Waltham Forest before she rebuilt her political career.
Chingford Conservative MP and cabinet member Iain Duncan Smith also believes Ms Creasy could one day lead the country.
He said: "She has certainly got a bright future. "Stella will go all the way. And I'm not alone in thinking that."
Ms Creasy refused to comment.