Page last updated at 14:55 GMT, Tuesday, 7 October 2008 15:55 UK

Lib Dem front bench - Environment

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has divided his front bench into teams. Here are details of the MPs who will shadow the government on environment issues.

Energy and climate change - Steve Webb

Steve Webb

Steve Webb, a former economist and lecturer, has previously been the Lib Dem spokesman on health, work and pensions and the environment.

A keen advocate of using social networking websites to connect with voters, he was former party leader Sir Menzies Campbell's manifesto chief.

It was thought he might run for the Lib Dem leadership in 2007, but Mr Webb ruled himself out, backing Nick Clegg instead.

He has been MP for Northavon, in Somerset, since 1997.

He took on the new role of energy and climate change spokesman in October 2008, shadowing the new cabinet post created in Gordon Brown's reshuffle.

Environment, food and rural affairs - Tim Farron

Tim Farron had been a spokesman on countryside matters until March 2008 but was one of three Lib Dems to step down from the front bench, so they could defy the party whip and vote for a referendum on the EU Treaty.

Tim Farron

But he returned to the front bench in October in the moves prompted by Gordon Brown's cabinet reshuffle, to the role vacated by Steve Webb.

A relatively new MP, he ousted the then shadow education secretary Tim Collins to be elected as MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale in 2005.

He was quickly appointed to be the party's youth spokesman, before becoming parliamentary private secretary to then-leader Sir Menzies Campbell and was promoted to Nick Clegg's top team when he became leader.

Transport - Norman Baker

Norman Baker

A former English teacher, Norman Baker was elected to represent Lewes, in Sussex, in 1997 - the constituency's first non-Tory MP since 1874.

He quickly established a reputation for persistent and shrewd use of Parliamentary questions and claimed credit for triggering Peter Mandelson's second resignation with enquiries about the Hinduja brothers.

Mr Baker was promoted to become the Liberal Democrats' environment spokesman in 2002, at the age of 45, but quit the front bench in March 2006. He said part of the reason was that he wanted to investigate the death of government weapons scientist Dr David Kelly.

He took the cabinet office portfolio under Sir Menzies Campbell and became shadow transport spokesman in Nick Clegg's first shadow cabinet.

The MP waged a two-year Freedom of Information (FOI) battle with the Commons authorities to get a full breakdown of MPs' expenses and has led efforts to stop MPs and peers exempting themselves from the FOI Act.




SEE ALSO
Guide to Parliament: Introduction
11 Oct 07 |  UK Politics
Lib Dem front bench guide
13 Mar 08 |  UK Politics

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