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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 May 2005, 15:30 GMT 16:30 UK
Profile: George Osborne
By Brian Wheeler
BBC News political reporter

George Osborne is one of the Conservative Party's fastest rising stars, whose telegenic style was put to good use during the recent general election campaign.

GEORGE OSBORNE
George Osborne
Born: 1971 - son of Sir Peter Osborne, founder of Osborne and Little
Educated: St Paul's School, Magdalen College, Oxford
Family: Married with two children
Job: Shadow chancellor

The 33-year-old Tatton MP is often spoken of in the same breath as David Cameron, Michael Howard's former policy chief and now shadow education spokesman, as the Conservatives' answer to Gordon Brown and Tony Blair.

Like Blair and Brown, the pair entered parliament in the same year and were immediately singled out as future leadership material.

But the description is not one Mr Osborne, who became an MP in 2001, is comfortable with.

"It's normally the kiss of death to be identified as a rising star, or someone to watch. Both David and I have to put up with this.

"But, you know, both of us are not in remotely the same situation as Brown and Blair in the 1980s, where they had to repudiate everything they believed in to get themselves elected," he said in an interview for the BBC News Website in December.

Notting Hill

Osborne and Cameron have also been portrayed as part of the so-called "Notting Hill set," a group of bright young things supposedly clustered around Mr Howard, whose sophisticated metropolitan views stand in stark contrast to traditional Tory values.

POLITICAL CV
1993: Head of political section, Conservative Research Department
1994-95: Special Adviser, MAFF
1995-97: Political office, 10 Downing Street
1997-2001: Political secretary to William Hague
2001: Elected MP for Tatton
2004: Appointed shadow chief secretary to the Treasury
2005: Shadow chancellor
Mr Osborne rejects the Notting Hill analysis as "nonsense" and although he hails Mr Howard's efforts to recruit women and people from ethnic minorities to winnable seats, he is not among those who argue the Conservatives will not become electable until they disavow their Thatcherite past.

"I would be reluctant to give myself the moderniser label [because] I don't think you achieve those things by going to war with the existing membership of the Conservative Party.

"I don't think you achieve those things by having some great internal battle."

Rejection

Mr Osborne increased his parliamentary majority by 3.8%, to 11,731, in last week's general election.

A former public school boy and heir to the Osborne and Little wallpaper fortune, he says he has been a Conservative all of his life.

He describes one of his earliest jobs in politics, as official Conservative Party observer at Labour's annual conference, as the worst he has had.

He enjoyed his time as political secretary to former party leader William Hague more - but he witnessed at first hand the electorate's rejection of Mr Hague's appeal to traditional right wing values at the 2001 general election, something which appears to have deeply influenced his approach to politics.

He remains a Eurosceptic but he has little of the ideological fervour of the Thatcherite wing of the party.

He believes the bitter political struggles of the 1980s are over, with today's electorate behaving "more like consumers".

He said, in that December interview: "There is a room for people seeing you have strong values.

"But those values can be about fighting poverty or ensuring that everyone has access to decent health services or a first-class education, or tackling injustice."

Aren't these the same as Labour values?

"They may be values Labour politicians talk about, but I am not sure they deliver on them."

Asked if politics was more fun in the 1980s, when it was not just about which party could manage things best, he replied: "I don't know, I was at school."



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