Conservative shadow cabinet reshuffle

Earlier this week, we brought you news of the ministerial changes within the government. Here, for the record, are details of the Conservative shadow cabinet reshuffle, announced on Wednesday. 

Michael Howard has appointed George Osborne as shadow chancellor.

The appointment marks a rapid rise for Osborne, 33, who had previously served as shadow chief secretary to the Treasury and as William Hague’s speechwriter.

Osborne’s close ally, David Cameron, was appointed shadow education secretary, which will put him against Ruth Kelly.

Cameron, 38, was formerly the Conservative policy chief and was responsible for helping to draw up the party’s general election manifesto.

Sir Malcolm Rifkind, the newly elected MP for Kensington and Chelsea, has taken the work and pensions brief.

Rifkind, a former foreign secretary, has been out of parliament for eight years but is seen as a leadership contender. Speaking to the BBC, he said he was “absolutely delighted” to be appointed.

He added that he was looking forward to David Blunkett across the despatch box.

Other changes include Michael Ancram being shifted from the foreign affairs brief to the defence portfolio – a move seen as a demotion.

Liam Fox has been moved from his post as co-chairman of the party to become Ancram’s successor as shadow foreign secretary.

His replacement as party chairman is Frances Maude, who will be responsible for overseeing reforms to the party’s structure in advance of the next general election.

David Willetts, who had been work and pensions spokesman, will shadow Alan Johnson at the DTI.

With Parliament due to sit next Wednesday, the Liberal Democrats are cutting things fine and won’t be announcing the details of any shuffle until next week.

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