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Last Updated: Monday, 15 March, 2004, 16:37 GMT
Curry quits the Tory front bench
David Curry
Mr Curry was a minister under John Major
A senior Tory has quit his party's front bench in the first resignation since Michael Howard was crowned leader of the Conservative Party.

Local government spokesman David Curry said he decided to go "entirely for family reasons".

In his resignation letter to Mr Howard he said there was "no political disagreement between us".

Environment and women's spokesman Caroline Spelman has already been appointed to take over from Mr Curry.

New faces

Mr Howard replied to Mr Curry's resignation by thanking him for "all the tremendous work you have done".

Ms Spelman's responsibilities are to be taken over by Richard Ottaway, who will assume the environment role, and by Eleanor Laing, who becomes spokesman for women.

Mr Curry served as local government minister in John Major's administration.

Seen as a key ally of former leadership contender Ken Clarke, he quit William Hague's front bench after the then Tory leader ruled out joining the euro for a decade.

Responding to her new appointment, Ms Spelman said: "This is a hugely important policy area where we have many opportunities to make our case, and to expose the failings of a discredited government."

Other front bench changes include:

  • Geoffrey Clifton Brown moves back to the whips' office from the local government team

  • David Cameron gives up his role as a Tory deputy chairman and joins the local government team with specific responsibility for finance

  • Mark Field leaves the whips' office and becomes shadow minister for London.

  • David Ruffley joins the whips' office

  • Andrew Rosindell becomes Tory vice chairman

  • Desmond Swayne moves from the defence team to become deputy to Northern Ireland spokesman David Lidington.

  • Angela Watkinson leaves the whips' office to become a shadow minister in the health and education team.




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