Liberal Democrat frontbench team

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Frontbench Teams since 1997
Ashdown Team (1997–1999)
Kennedy Team (1999–2006)
Campbell Team (2006–2007)
Cable Team (2007)
Clegg Team (2007–2010)
Farron Team (2015-present)

The Liberal Democrats are a political party in the United Kingdom. While in opposition, the Leader of the Liberal Democrats appoints a frontbench team of Members of Parliament (MPs), Peers, Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) and Members of the National Assembly for Wales (AMs), to speak for the party on different issues. Their areas of responsibility broadly corresponded to those of Government ministers. The shadow ministerial team is divided into departmental sub-units, the principle ones being the economy, foreign policy and home affairs. Sometimes the frontbench team consists of more than just the principle positions.

Status[edit]

Formerly, the Liberal Democrats frontbench team did not use the term 'Shadow Cabinet', with a number of front bench spokespeople covering areas (e.g., Defence and Foreign Affairs) rather than directly shadowing specific Cabinet portfolios. Under Charles Kennedy's leadership, and with the increase in numbers of Liberal Democrat MPs, the senior members of the front bench team referred to themselves as a Shadow Cabinet.

This was controversial, because in the two-party political system that dominated UK politics in the 20th century, the term 'Shadow Cabinet' referred to senior members of the frontbench team of the largest opposition party in the House of Commons. This party, known as the Official Opposition, has constitutional status, although its Shadow Cabinet does not. Following Charles Kennedy's decision to change the nomenclature, the UK Parliament's website now uses the term 'Liberal Democrat Shadow Cabinet' and does not use the old term 'Frontbench Team'.[1][2]

This is not without contention, and was disputed by the Conservative Party, who were then the Official Opposition. However, the official listing at the Parliament website is very explicit to use the term 'Shadow Cabinet'.[3] Gordon Brown made a notable remark that in the House of Commons in 2001:

The House of Commons is in the unique position of having two shadow Chancellors: one sits in Folkestone and the other in Truro. It is rather like the mediaeval papacy: two hon. Members claim to hold the position of shadow Chancellor. I shall organise a play-off during the year.[4]

This is a theme to which then Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown returned, comparing and contrasting his frosty relationship with the official Shadow Chancellor George Osborne with his apparently warm relationship with Vince Cable (whom he has referred to as "the Shadow Chancellor from Twickenham").[5]

The Official Opposition receives support for its official function which is denied to smaller opposition parties, although they, along with every parliamentary party, do receive Short Money. Salaries are paid to the Opposition Leader and the Chief Whips but not to smaller opposition parties. Moreover, the Official Opposition has the exclusive use of facilities within Parliament.

Following the 2010 general election and the confirmation of Conservative David Cameron as Prime Minister on 11 May 2010, a coalition cabinet was formed that included Liberal Democrat ministers. The team was updated again during a September 2012 reshuffle.

Following the 2015 general election the Liberal Democrats were reduced to just 8 seats in the House of Commons, falling into fourth place behind the Scottish National Party for the first time. As a result of this, the UK Parliament website no longer lists the Liberal Democrat frontbench team at all and now lists the SNP frontbench team instead.

Current Liberal Democrat frontbench team[edit]

Member of the House of Commons Member of the House of Lords
Member of the Scottish Parliament Member of the Welsh Assembly
Member of local government Privy Counsellor

Attending Frontbench meetings[edit]

Tim Farron revealed his frontbench team on 29 July 2015.[6] The shadow ministers are as follows:

Portfolio Name
Leader of the Liberal Democrats Tim farron 2014.jpg Tim Farron
MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale
Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords Jim Wallace.jpg Jim Wallace
Baron Wallace of Tankerness
Queen's Counsellor
Privy Councellor
Liberal Democrat Spokeperson for Economics Susan Kramer 01.jpg Susan Kramer
Baroness Kramer
Privy Councellor
Liberal Democrat Spokeperson for Foreign Affairs
Chief Whip of the Liberal Democrats
Liberal Democrat Shadow Leader of the House of Commons
Tom Brake (2009).jpg Tom Brake
MP for Carshalton and Wallington
Privy Councellor
Liberal Democrat Spokeperson for Defence Judith Jolly at Gateshead.jpg Judith Jolly
Baroness Jolly
Liberal Democrat Spokeperson for Home Affairs Alistair Carmichael at Glasgow 2014.jpg Alistair Carmichael
MP for Orkney and Shetland
Privy Councellor
Liberal Democrat Spokeperson for Health Norman Lamb (2013).jpg Norman Lamb
MP for Norfolk North
Privy Councellor
Liberal Democrat Spokeperson for Education John Pugh at Sheffield 2011 (cropped).jpg John Pugh
MP for Southport
Liberal Democrat Spokeperson for Work and Pensions Zahida Manzoor 2015.jpg Zahida Manzoor
Baroness Manzoor
Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Liberal Democrat Spokeperson for Business, Innovation and Skills Lorely Burt Parliament.JPG Lorely Burt
Baroness Burt of Solihull
Liberal Democrat Spokeperson for Energy and Climate Change Lynne Featherstone - under secretary for equalities and criminal information.jpg Lynne Featherstone
Baroness Featherstone
Privy Councellor
Liberal Democrat Spokeperson for Communities and Local Government Dorothy Thornhill at Bournemouth.jpg Dorothy Thornhill
Baroness Thornhill
Member of the Order of the British Empire
Liberal Democrat Spokeperson for Transport Jenny Randerson.jpg Jenny Randerson
Baroness Randerson
Privy Councellor
Liberal Democrat Spokeperson for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Deputy Leader in the House of Lords
Kathryn Parminter at Birmingham 2011.jpg Kate Parminter
Baroness Parminter
Liberal Democrat Spokeperson for International Development Baroness Northover (cropped).jpg Lindsay Northover
Baroness Northover
Privy Councellor
Liberal Democrat Spokeperson for Culture, Media and Sport Jane Bonham Carter at Brighton 2013.jpg Jane Bonham-Carter
Baroness Bonham-Carter of Yarnbury
Liberal Democrat Spokeperson for Women and Equalities Meral Hussein-Ece at Glasgow.jpg Meral Hussein-Ece
Baroness Hussein-Ece
Officer of the Order of the British Empire
Liberal Democrat Spokeperson for Justice
Liberal Democrat Shadow Attorney General
Jonathan Marks at Sheffield 2011.jpg Jonathan Marks
Baron Marks of Henley-on-Thames
Queen's Counsellor
Liberal Democrat Spokeperson for Northern Ireland Lord Alderdice.jpg John Alderdice
Baron Alderdice
Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats
Liberal Democrat Spokeperson for Scotland
WillieRennieMSP20110510.JPG Willie Rennie
MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife
Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats
Liberal Democrat Spokeperson for Wales
Kirsty Williams 2011.jpg Kirsty Williams
AM for Brecon and Radnorshire
Chairman of Campaigns and Communications Greg Mulholland, September 2009 (cropped).jpg Greg Mulholland
MP for Leeds North West
Chief Executive of the Association of Liberal Democrat Councillors
Liberal Democrat Spokeperson for Grassroots Campaigns
Tim Pickstone
Councillor for Holyrood, Bury


Not attending Frontbench meetings[edit]

Portfolio Name
President of the Liberal Democrats Sal Brinton, Baroness Brinton
Spokesperson for Constitutional and Political Reform Paul Tyler, Baron Tyler
Spokesperson for Mental Health Claire Tyler, Baroness Tyler of Enfield
Spokesperson for Europe Sarah Ludford, Baroness Ludford
Spokesperson for Special Educational Needs Dominic Hubbard, 6th Baron Addington
Spokesperson for Voluntary Sector and Social Enterprise Elizabeth Barker, Baroness Barker
Spokesperson for Creative Industries Timothy Clement-Jones, Baron Clement-Jones
Spokesperson for Welfare Archy Kirkwood, Baron Kirkwood of Kirkhope
Spokesperson for Sport, Tourism and Cultural Participation Dee Doocey
Spokesperson for Children Kath Pinnock, Baroness Pinnock
Spokesperson for Civil Service and Public Sector Tim Razzall, Baron Razzall
Spokesperson for Communities, Decentralisation and the Northern Powerhouse John Shipley, Baron Shipley
Spokesperson for Disability Celia Thomas, Baroness Thomas of Winchester
Liberal Democrat Shadow Attorney General for England and Wales Martin Thomas, Baron Thomas of Gresford

Previous Frontbench Teams[edit]

Previous team key-members in summary:

Party Date Leader Economy Foreign affairs Home affairs
Liberal April 1966 Jo Grimond Richard Wainwright James Davidson
January 1967 Jeremy Thorpe Richard Wainwright James Davidson
June 1970 Jeremy Thorpe John Pardoe Russell Johnston
1975 Jeremy Thorpe John Pardoe David Steel
May 1976 Jo Grimond John Pardoe David Steel
July 1976 David Steel John Pardoe Jeremy Thorpe
1977 David Steel John Pardoe Jeremy Thorpe Emlyn Hooson
May 1979 David Steel Richard Wainwright Russell Johnston
October 1981 David Steel Richard Wainwright Russell Johnston Bill Pitt
June 1983 David Steel Richard Wainwright Russell Johnston
1985 David Steel David Penhaligon Alan Beith
January 1987 David Steel Alan Beith
June 1987 David Steel Alan Beith Russell Johnston
Liberal
Democrats
March 1988 David Steel and
Robert Maclennan
(co-leaders)
Alan Beith Russell Johnston Robert Maclennan
July 1988 Paddy Ashdown Alan Beith Russell Johnston Robert Maclennan
July 1989 Paddy Ashdown Alan Beith David Steel Robert Maclennan
July 1994 Paddy Ashdown Malcolm Bruce Menzies Campbell Alan Beith
August 1999 Charles Kennedy Matthew Taylor Menzies Campbell Simon Hughes
June 2003 Charles Kennedy Vince Cable Menzies Campbell Mark Oaten
January 2006 Menzies Campbell
(acting)
Vince Cable Menzies Campbell Mark Oaten
January 2006 Menzies Campbell
(acting)
Vince Cable Menzies Campbell Alistair Carmichael
March 2006 Menzies Campbell Vince Cable Michael Moore Nick Clegg
October 2007 Vince Cable
(acting)
Vince Cable Michael Moore Nick Clegg
December 2007 Nick Clegg Vince Cable Ed Davey Chris Huhne
May 2010 Nick Clegg (Deputy Prime Minister) David Laws (Chief Secretary to the Treasury) Jeremy Browne (Minister of State for Foreign Affairs) Tom McNally (Minister of State for Justice)
May 2010 Nick Clegg (Deputy Prime Minister) Danny Alexander (Chief Secretary to the Treasury) Jeremy Browne (Minister of State for Foreign Affairs) Tom McNally (Minister of State for Justice)
September 2012 Nick Clegg (Deputy Prime Minister) Danny Alexander (Chief Secretary to the Treasury) Lynne Featherstone (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development) Jeremy Browne (Minister of State for Home Affairs)
October 2013 Nick Clegg (Deputy Prime Minister) Danny Alexander (Chief Secretary to the Treasury) Lynne Featherstone (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development) Norman Baker (Minister of State for Home Affairs)
November 2014 Nick Clegg (Deputy Prime Minister) Danny Alexander (Chief Secretary to the Treasury) Lynne Featherstone (Minister of State for Home Affairs)
January 2015 Nick Clegg (Deputy Prime Minister) Danny Alexander (Chief Secretary to the Treasury) Tim Farron Lynne Featherstone (Minister of State for Home Affairs)
May 2015 Nick Clegg Norman Lamb Tim Farron Tom McNally
July 2015 Tim Farron Susan Kramer Tom Brake Alistair Carmichael

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Directory of MPs, Peers, Offices and Overseas Delegations". House of Commons Information Office. Archived from the original on 2 September 2006. Retrieved 4 September 2006. 
  2. ^ "Liberal Democrat Shadow Cabinet and Parliamentary Team". House of Commons Information Office. Archived from the original on 21 August 2006. Retrieved 4 September 2006. 
  3. ^ "UK Parliament". House of Commons Information Office – libdems. Archived from the original on 2 August 2008. Retrieved 25 September 2008. 
  4. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 27 Nov 2001 (pt 8)". The Stationery Office Ltd. 27 November 2001. Retrieved 4 September 2006. 
  5. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 16 Oct 2003 (pt 2)". 16 October 2003. 
  6. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-33700930

External links[edit]