Page last updated at 14:43 GMT, Monday, 1 September 2008 15:43 UK


In the House of Commons, the two sets of green benches facing each other directly in front of the Speaker are known as the frontbenches.

The term "frontbench" only applies to the benches in front of the table of the House and the despatch boxes, not those further down the chamber.

The government frontbench, also known as the "Treasury Bench" is occupied by leading members of the governing party: the Cabinet and other departmental ministers.

Similarly, the shadow cabinet will occupy the opposition frontbench.

"Frontbencher" is a term often used to describe members of the various departmental ministerial teams who occupy these benches when answering or asking questions in the House.

This also applies to the House of Lords where members of the government and opposition occupy the benches in front of the Despatch Boxes.

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