Young replaces demoted Duncan

By Alex Stevenson

David Cameron has promoted Speaker contest runner-up Sir George Young to the shadow Cabinet, after demoting Alan Duncan.

Sir George replaces Mr Duncan as shadow leader of the House after the latter was caught on hidden camera expressing the view that MPs had to live “on rations”.

As chairman of the Commons’ standards and privileges committee he was already charged with scrutinising the behaviour of his peers and was the initial favourite to succeed Michael Martin in the Speaker’s chair.

He lost that race to John Bercow, but is now arguably in a more influential position to shape the reform of parliament’s lower house.

Mr Duncan, whose sparkling exchanges with Harriet Harman lightened up Thursday lunchtimes in Westminster, was told of David Cameron’s choice in person last night.

“This is a sensible decision,” he said in a statement.

“You have to be realistic about how difficult the expenses issue has been. What matters most is winning the election and David Cameron becoming the prime minister. I am very happy to get stuck into another job.”

He takes on the post of shadow prisons minister, which is outside of the shadow Cabinet.