Clegg reshuffles front-bench

by Ian Dunt

Liberal Democrat leader has reshuffled his front bench team and set up an economic recovery group to co-ordinate the party’s response to the recession.

“I am proud to lead the best front-bench team in British politics, a team which has consistently been ahead of the curve on the big debates that matter to the British people,” he said.

“This team leaves the Liberal Democrats well placed to take the fight to both Labour and the Conservatives in the run-up to the general election and to bring about the change that Britain needs.”

The new roles are:

Simon Hughes, former Lib Dem leader of the House, becomes energy and climate change spokesman.

Steve Webb, former energy and climate change spokesman, becomes work and pensions spokesman.

David Heath, former justice minister before his resignation from the front bench early last year, becomes Lib Dem leader of the House.

Jenny Willott, former deputy chief whip and youth affairs spokesperson, becomes Lib Dem chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.

David Howarth, former Lib Dem justice minister, becomes justice spokesman.

Susan Kramer, former families spokesperson, leaves the front bench to take up a new role leading the party’s campaign against the expansion of Heathrow Airport.

Lynne Featherstone, youth and equalities spokesperson, will oversee the party’s online campaigning as chair of the new technology board.

John Sharkey, the leader’s adviser on strategic communications, is appointed deputy chair of the general election campaign. He will be working with Lord Rennard, chair of the general election campaign, and Chris Fox, the party’s new director of policy and communications.

Lord Wallace of Tankerness, former deputy first minister of Scotland, has been appointed to advise on the party’s engagement with senior civil servants.

The membership of the economic recovery group is:

Nick Clegg – leader (chair).

Vince Cable – economics spokesman.

Steve Webb – work and pensions spokesman.

John Thurso – business spokesman.

Jeremy Browne – Lib Dem chief secretary to the Treasury.

Julia Goldsworthy – communities and local government spokesperson.

Stephen Williams – innovation, universities and skills spokesman.

Lorely Burt – small business spokesman.

David Laws – education spokesman.

Chris Huhne – home affairs spokesman.

Danny Alexander – manifesto co-ordinator.