08/12/2005

Hague returns in Cameron’s shadow cabinet

Former Conservative leader William Hague will make his return to front line politics, following his appointment to new leader, David Cameron’s, shadow cabinet.

Mr Hague has been appointed as Shadow Foreign Secretary, taking the position from Dr Liam Fox – one of Mr Cameron’s rivals in the leadership contest – who will become Shadow Defence Secretary.

Mr Cameron also announced that David Davis, whom he defeated in the final leadership battle, would remain in his post of Shadow Home Secretary, while George Osbourne will continue in his role as Shadow Chancellor and Francis Maude will stay on as party chairman.

Former Chancellor Kenneth Clarke, who also ran for the party leadership, has been appointed as head of a special democracy task force, which will examine the independence of the civil service, the role of political advisors in government, the proper working of Cabinet government and reform of the Lords. Mr Cameron said that Mr Cameron said that Mr Clarke would speak on these issues from the front bench from time to time.

Another former party leader, Iain Duncan Smith, has been placed in charge of a social justice policy group.

Other appointments include Oliver Letwin, who will become chairman of policy reviews, as well as chairman of the Conservative Research Department. Lord Strathclyde will remain in his position of Shadow Leader of the House of Lords.

David Cameron became the new leader of the Conservative party on Tuesday, beating rival David Davis by 134,446 votes to 64,398.

Yesterday, he faced his first challenge as party leader, when he faced Tony Blair at Prime Minister’s Question Time. He challenged Mr Blair on climate change, but offered his support on the government’s controversial education reforms.

However, while Mr Blair said that he welcomed this “new consensus”, he clashed with Mr Cameron over proposals to allow schools to set their own admissions policies, describing them as “regressive”.

Further Shadow Cabinet appointments are expected to be announced shortly.

(KMcA/SP)

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