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Last Updated: Monday, 16 May, 2005, 14:50 GMT 15:50 UK
Kennedy unveils new Lib Dem team
Steve Webb, Lib Dem MP
Steve Webb moves from pensions to health
Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy has shaken up his top team, with new faces to tackle education and health.

Ed Davey becomes the party's education spokesman and Steve Webb takes over at health in the Lib Dem reshuffle.

Foreign affairs spokesman Sir Menzies Campbell, Treasury spokesman Vince Cable and home affairs spokesman Mark Oaten stay in their top posts.

The changes also see Norman Lamb and Sarah Teather join the Lib Dem "shadow cabinet" for the first time.

Mr Lamb will be trade and industry spokesman while Ms Teather, who this month held the Brent East seat she originally won in a by-election, will take the communities and local government brief.

The Lib Dems are the last of the main parties to announce their reshuffle - both Labour and the Conservatives unveiled their new top teams last week.

Promotions

The party says former education spokesman Phil Willis, health spokesman Paul Burstow, defence spokesman Paul Keetch and trade spokesman Malcolm Bruce have all asked to leave the front bench.

The changes also see party president Simon Hughes return to a frontline post in the Commons to tackle Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott.

David Laws is promoted from number two in the Treasury team to be work and pensions spokesman.

There is promotion too for Mike Moore, who moves from foreign affairs to be the party's main defence spokesman.

Tom Brake becomes transport spokesman and the international development brief goes to Andrew George.

Mr Kennedy has used the reshuffle to cut the size of his "shadow cabinet" from 25 to 21.

Real alternative?

Mr Kennedy said: "Following our excellent general election result on 5 May we have brought together a superb team of individuals, combining experience with youth.

"I am confident that we will continue to provide a real alternative to the Labour government as the new parliamentary session gets underway."

The reshuffle means Mr Webb leaves the pensions brief, where he had been seen as an expert.

Mr Davey departs from local government, where he had helped mastermind plans for a local income tax to replace council tax.

The Conservatives particularly used the plan to attack the Lib Dems for planning tax rises, although Mr Kennedy and his team said it made the system fairer.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Who's who in the Lib Dem shake-up



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