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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 July 2007, 08:43 GMT 09:43 UK
Cameron reshuffles shadow team
Conservative leader David Cameron
Mr Cameron reshuffled his teams days after the PM made changes
Conservative leader David Cameron has reshuffled his shadow cabinet, bringing in more women and younger MPs.

Education spokesman David Willetts has been moved and party chairman Francis Maude replaced by Caroline Spelman.

Diplomat Dame Pauline Neville-Jones and Tory adviser Sayeeda Warsi will take up security and community cohesion roles.

Labour described the shake-up as a "panicky reshuffle" in reaction to the extensive changes made by new PM Gordon Brown to his Cabinet.

'Challenges'

But Mr Cameron said: "These changes strengthen the shadow cabinet team and harness new talent within the party as we prepare for the next general election.

"Two of the big challenges facing this country today are security and community cohesion and we now have two leading experts in these fields in Dame Pauline Neville-Jones and Sayeeda Warsi."

Cameron has handed the reactionary wing of his party the scalps they were looking for
Joan Ryan
Labour campaigns vice chair

Former Joint Intelligence Committee head Dame Pauline will be elevated to the House of Lords as a working peer, as will Ms Warsi, a British-born Muslim of Pakistani origin who was Conservative Party vice-chairwoman.

Dame Pauline, who becomes shadow secretary for security, was most recently head of Mr Cameron's security policy review group, while Ms Warsi will become shadow community cohesion minister.

Both appointments were welcomed by shadow home secretary David Davis, who has retained his position, as a "big addition to our capacity".

Education split

Among changes made by Mr Brown was the splitting of the education portfolio into two - the Department for Children, Schools and Families and the Department of Innovation, Universities and Skills.

Mr Cameron has moved Mr Willetts to shadow John Denham as minister in charge of universities.

David Willetts
A speech by Mr Willetts kick-started the grammar schools row

Mr Willetts was widely blamed for the internal party row over grammar schools, following a speech he gave on the subject.

Labour MP Joan Ryan, the party's vice chair for campaigns, claimed he and Mr Maude had been demoted to appease right-wingers.

"Cameron has handed the reactionary wing of his party the scalps they were looking for," she said.

"Willetts has been moved from the schools portfolio because he was prepared to take on the Tory right wing on grammar schools...Maude, the original moderniser, has been demoted in the face of growing hostility from the grassroots to his reforms to the party."

Election co-ordinator

Mr Maude will remain in the shadow cabinet as shadow Cabinet Office minister, while Eric Pickles joins as shadow communities and local government secretary.

Shadow chancellor George Osborne retains his job and also becomes general election campaign co-ordinator.

Michael Gove, previously the Tory housing spokesman, will shadow Ed Balls on schools and children.

Mr Gove entered Parliament in 2005, as did Jeremy Hunt, who joins the shadow cabinet in charge of culture from being a spokesman on work and pensions.

'Grey vote'

Nick Herbert, who will handle justice, also enters the shadow cabinet. He had been spokesman on police reform.

Other appointments include the first Conservative female chief whip - Baroness Anelay of St Johns will replace Lord Cope, who is retiring, as the Conservatives' chief whip in the Lords.

Tory backbencher Ann Winterton told the Parliamentary Monitor magazine that some of Mr Cameron's efforts to change the Conservatives had "left much of the party's traditional support baffled".

She urged the party leadership to remember the biggest group of those who would vote at the next general election were "those with grey hair".

"It is vital that they are not neglected as the policies are formulated," she added.


SEE ALSO
In full: Cameron's shadow cabinet
02 Jul 07 |  UK Politics
Profile: Sayeeda Warsi
02 Jul 07 |  UK Politics
Tories 'will not change strategy'
01 Jul 07 |  UK Politics
Ex-security chief gets Tory role
12 Jan 06 |  UK Politics
Tory urges talks with extremists
19 Jul 05 |  UK Politics

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