Cameron and Clegg rearrange front bench

David Cameron and Nick Clegg have rearranged their shadow front benches following the government reshuffle.

Greg Clark has been made shadow energy and climate change secretary for the Tories. He will face up to Ed Miliband, who is running the new department.

Greg Barker has been made shadow minister for climate change while Charles Hendry becomes shadow minister for energy.

Mr Clark’s promotion from shadow minister for charities marks a highlight in a meteoric rise through the party ranks. He entered parliament only three years ago in the 2005 general election.

Firmly on the more liberal end of the Conservative spectrum, he caused consternation in Tory ranks and considerable bemusement in the media when he called on the party to pay less attention to Winston Churchill and more to left-wing Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee.

As a student in Cambridge, he was a member of David Owen’s Social Democrat party.

Nick Clegg also changed the faces on his front bench team.

Steve Webb, former environment spokesman, moves to head the Lib Dems’ climate change and energy department. Mr Webb is one of the authors of the infamous Orange Book, which moved the party to the right. Tim Farron takes over his environment brief.

John Thurso, the first hereditary peer of the United Kingdom allowed to sit in the Commons without first disclaiming his title, has become business spokesman.

Interestingly, Mr Clegg’s mini reshuffle does not limit itself to merely reflecting the changes in the government. David Heath has been asked to lead a Commission on Privacy to examine the state of privacy in the UK.

“The team I am announcing today is a reflection of the vast talent in the Liberal Democrat party which will be able to hold the new cabinet to account,” Mr Clegg said.

Three of the men to return to frontline politics – Mr Farron, Mr Heath and new Scotland and Northern Ireland spokesman Alistair Carmichael – previously resigned from the front bench over the party’s stance on the EU referendum.