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The BBC's John Kampfner reports
"If the Tories do badly next time around Mr Portillo will be associated with this defeat"
 real 28k

The BBC's Robin Oakley
"Mr Hague has linked his fortunes with the man many say is his greatest threat"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 2 February, 2000, 06:45 GMT
Portillo promoted in Tory shake-up

William Hague shocked Westminster with the surprise move


Michael Portillo has returned to a top job in UK politics after being made shadow chancellor in a surprise shake-up of the Conservative Party's front bench team.

Tory reshuffle
In: Michael Portillo; Archie Norman
Moved: Francis Maude
Out: John Redwood; John Maples
The reshuffle has also seen John Redwood axed from Tory leader William Hague's shadow cabinet.

Mr Hague has promoted former defence secretary Mr Portillo to his top team just two months after he returned to Parliament in the Kensington and Chelsea by-election.

The former shadow chancellor, Francis Maude, becomes shadow foreign secretary.

And John Maples, who had been the Tories' foreign affairs spokesman, loses his job.

Mr Portillo lost his Enfield Southgate seat in the 1997 general election.

But after spending 30 months in the political wilderness he won in Kensington and Chelsea with a majority of 6,706.

High profile

The by-election had been prompted by the death of controversial MP Alan Clark.

Mr Portillo, who will now play a high profile role in the Tory campaign in the next general election, said: "I'm delighted to be joining William Hague's team as shadow chancellor.

"I am looking forward to the closest working relationship with William as together we battle for a lower burden of tax and less interference in business.

"We want Britain competitive so as to provide good quality jobs for the future."

Mr Redwood, who had been the Tory spokesman on environment and transport, is replaced by Archie Norman.

Mr Hague said Mr Portillo was a "proven political heavyweight" and that Mr Norman, formerly Shadow Europe Minister, was one of "Britain's most successful businessmen".

He said: "They are going to be adding their enthusiasm and talent and energy and skill to the work of our party over the coming months and we are all looking forward to it."

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See also:
01 Feb 00 |  UK Politics
Hague's team for the election
26 Nov 99 |  UK Politics
Michael Portillo: A political rebirth
01 Feb 00 |  UK Politics
John Redwood: Heavy fall thwarts high hopes
26 Nov 99 |  UK Politics
Portillo returns to Parliament

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