In a general election short of star power, one name is guaranteed to attract photographers and reporters to an event. Angela Rayner was in Scotland at the weekend, doing what she does best - being Angela Rayner.

You might think it was the minimum required of any politician to be themselves, yet look at the two contenders to be Prime Minister in this election. Neither is a natural campaigner and both have had to fight claims of being “boring”.

Voters don’t want the times or their politicians to be too interesting in a Chinese curse/Liz Truss kind of way. But elections still require box office performers to sustain interest, and few can match Rayner on that score. For popularity within the party and voter recognition, only Nicola Sturgeon surpasses her.

There was Rayner “doing a Nicola” in East Renfrewshire and West Lothian, sharing a swing with Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar and playing football with a couple of young locals. Even her choice of socks - featuring Marvel characters Thor and Black Panther - was a hit.

Rayner had another important job to do in Scotland: sell Labour’s “new deal” for working people, including an increase in the living wage for over-18s.

To be more accurate, she was defending the policy against the charge, levelled at much of Labour’s manifesto, that it does not go far enough, fast enough. “Timid” had been the word used.

Right on cue, Rayner replied: “No one’s ever called me timid in my life.” Another pothole successfully navigated and the Labour machine rolls on. No wonder they gave her the keys to the Labour battlebus.

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Rayner connects with Scottish voters and the media in a way that other politicians find impossible. No one would invite Boris Johnson or Nigel Farage to campaign in these parts unless they wanted the police to become involved. But Rayner, she’s welcome to call on her Scottish auntie any time.

The Labour leadership has not always viewed Rayner as an asset. There was the time when she had to apologise for calling senior Conservatives “scum”. Previously, Sir Keir had tried to demote her on the back of poor council election results, only to have her emerge with more jobs than before. As deputy Leader of the Labour Party, shadow deputy prime minister and shadow secretary of state for levelling up, housing and communities, she will be a force to be reckoned with in any Starmer government.

Who knows how far she could go ultimately. Rayner has been a fighter all her life; she has had to be. She spent her childhood years caring for her severely depressed mother. Pregnant at 16, young Angela left school with no qualifications. College opened the door to a job as a care worker. She joined a union and worked her way up through the ranks, gaining more qualifications as she went.

Rayner was the opposite of the professional politician lacking in life experience. Put her up against any Conservative and she would come off better, her working-class background acting as a sort of Marvel superpower.

With success came prominence, and like many a woman politician she has been the target of threats and abuse. Sections of the press made it their aim to topple her, but again she fought back successfully. When a Sunday paper ran a story claiming Rayner was trying to distract then prime minister Boris Johnson with a "fully clothed parliamentary equivalent of Sharon Stone's infamous scene in the 1992 film Basic Instinct”, a howl of protest went up, led by the prime minister, and more than 5000 complaints arrived at the press regulator Ipso. A line had been crossed.

The effort to “get” Rayner did not end there. Questions were asked about whether she had paid tax on the sale of her home. The wall-to-wall coverage was picked up by television, and a Tory MP complained to the police. The leadership and shadow cabinet rallied around and defended Rayner. After an investigation, Greater Manchester police said no action would be taken. It was another sign that Rayner would not be intimidated.

Her standing in the party and among voters has only increased during the televised debates. Although not everyone has enjoyed the shouting matches between Rayner and former Conservative minister Penny Mordaunt, no one could accuse Rayner of lacking conviction.

Rayner has by now amassed a lot of credit with the leadership and the party. She spends it carefully, only getting into fights she can expect to win. She was the first to offer support to Diane Abbott when it looked like she would be barred from standing - a claim Starmer’s office denied.

For its entire existence, Labour has been a coalition between the working class and the middle class, the former represented by the trade unions. It has not always been a harmonious union, with both sides claiming to be keepers of the flame, and at various times an intermediary has had to step in and keep the peace. Rayner fulfils this role in the same way that John Prescott did in Tony Blair’s administration. As long as Prescott was okay with something - be it scrapping Clause 4, imposing student tuition fees, the invasion of Iraq - the party could believe it had not sold its soul.

Does Rayner have what it takes to be one of the keepers of Labour’s conscience, a Castle or a Bevan? It is far too soon to say. Like many shadow ministers, she has never run anything. To date, she has fallen in with what the leadership wants. Having called the two child benefit cap “obscene and inhumane”, she has not backed calls for a Labour government to scrap it immediately, saying the party needs to “prioritise” commitments because of the economic mess they will inherit.

Scottish Labour, meanwhile, continue to oppose the cap. The differences have been smoothed over whenever friends from the south have come visiting, but what will happen if Labour has the kind of super majority the polls are predicting? How much pressure would the leadership come under then to scrap the cap?

Rayner brought the crowds out during her visit to Scotland. Whether she will  continue the relationship in government remains to be seen. She has not shown any particular interest in Scottish politics. But if she does turn out to be a keeper of the flame she could be vital in keeping Scotland on side.