SOUTHPORT MP John Pugh will go head-to head with two other Merseyside MPs after winning promotion in the Liberal Democrat reshuffle.
New Lib-Dem leader Nick Clegg has picked Dr Pugh as a Treasury spokesman, a crucial brief as Britain heads into a year of likely economic turnmoil.
The post will see Dr Pugh wrestle with issues such as the "credit crunch", which threatens an economic downturn, and the crisis of stricken bank Northern Rock.
And he will do battle with Jane Kennedy (Liverpool Wavertree) and Angela Eagle (Wallasey), two of the Government's Treasury ministers.
Dr Pugh immediately launched a fierce attack on the power of the City of London in influencing economic policy at the expense of manufacturing in the likes of Merseyside.
He said: "I wanted to join the Treasury team, because that is where the battleground will be over the next couple of years.
"We are in very dangerous waters at the moment. If the right decisions are not taken, we could be heading for a full-blown recession.
"I think the willingness of the Government to abandon the manufacturing sector, particularly in areas like Merseyside, and concentrate on financial services is a fundamental weakness of policy."
First elected to parliament in 2001, the new Treasury posting is Dr Pugh's fourth brief after stints as a spokesman on education, transport and health.
In 2005, he was one of 25 Lib Dem MPs who forced Charles Kennedy's resignation by threatening to quit the frontbench.
Dr Pugh describes himself as on the "centre- left" of the party and is chairman of the Lib- Dems' Beveridge Group, named after the man who pioneered the birth of the welfare state.
Nevertheless, he backed Mr Clegg, seen as a Lib-Dem rightwinger, to succeed Sir Menzies Campbell as leader, praising the 40-year-old's charisma and skills as a performer.
However, Dr Pugh admitted the new leader's wafer-thin victory margin meant a lot of rank-and- file Lib-Dems were "sceptical" about him.