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Friday, September 24, 1999 Published at 16:24 GMT 17:24 UK


UK Politics

Hughes rewarded in Lib Dem reshuffle

Simon Hughes: Came second in the leadership contest

Liberal Democrat leadership contender Simon Hughes has been named as the party's new home affairs spokesman in a reshuffle by party leader Charles Kennedy.

Mr Hughes had made it known that he wanted the position in the reshuffle following the leadership contest, in which he was runner up to Mr Kennedy.

Mr Kennedy has also announced that environment spokesman Matthew Taylor, who ran his leadership campaign, will speak on Treasury matters.


[ image: Matthew Taylor: New Treasury spokesman]
Matthew Taylor: New Treasury spokesman
Menzies Campbell will remain at foreign affairs and Robert Maclennan retains his constitutional affairs brief.

Mr Kennedy said: "I am extremely pleased to confirm this blend of talent and experience in the senior party spokesmanships."

The reshuffle announcement follow the party's annual conference during which Mr Hughes warned the party would have to work hard to maintain its current number of MPs.

Mr Hughes, who is currently the party's health spokesman, replaces Alan Beith, who wants to remain as the party's deputy leader.

The new home affairs spokesman said he was "pleased and excited" by his appointment.

Conference99
Mr Hughes said: "I shall serve our new leader, all my colleagues and our party enthusiastically and well.

"At all times I shall seek to serve the interests and look after the freedoms, liberties and rights of all our people."

Matthew Taylor takes over from another leadership contender, Malcolm Bruce, who has been elected chairman of the parliamentary party.

Mr Taylor said he would be devoting part of his energies to finding ways of "squaring the circle" of increasing social justice and expanding environmental taxation without increasing the overall tax burden.

The rest of the reshuffle will be announced over the next few weeks.

Mr Kennedy wants to have a much smaller team of spokespeople, and to use some of the 1997 intake of new MPs.



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