Page last updated at 10:23 GMT, Tuesday, 7 October 2008 11:23 UK

Lib Dem EU rebels win back jobs

Nick Clegg
Mr Clegg said at the time he regretted the loss of the three rebels

Three Lib Dem MPs who resigned from the front bench over the party's stance on the EU referendum have won back posts in a minor reshuffle.

Alistair Carmichael returns as Scotland and Northern Ireland spokesman and Tim Farron takes on the environment brief.

David Heath will lead a commission on privacy in the UK.

Steve Webb will shadow Ed Miliband in his new energy and climate change department, created in Gordon Brown's reshuffle last week.

Mr Farron, who had been countryside matters spokesman before resigning in March, replaces him in his previous frontbench role as environment, food and rural affairs spokesman.

Vote abstention

In other changes Sarah Teather becomes housing spokeswoman, replacing Lembit Opik who stepped down last month to concentrate on his campaign to become Lib Dem president.

John Thurso becomes the party's business spokesman, which was Ms Teather's previous role.

The team I am announcing today is a reflection of the vast talent in the Liberal Democrat party
Nick Clegg

Mr Carmichael, Mr Farron and Mr Heath all resigned from the front bench in March to vote in favour of a referendum, joining another 12 MPs to defy party orders on a Commons vote on the EU Treaty.

Party leader Nick Clegg had ordered all his MPs to abstain from the vote - a Conservative amendment which urged a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.

It was defeated by 311 votes to 248. Mr Clegg had argued he wanted a wider referendum on whether Britain should remain in the European Union.

Mr Clegg said at the time he "greatly regretted" the loss of the three and respected their views but "collective responsibility" had to be maintained.

On Tuesday he said: "The team I am announcing today is a reflection of the vast talent in the Liberal Democrat party which will be able to hold the new cabinet to account.

"I look forward to working with them to take forward my agenda and show that the Liberal Democrats are the only party with practical plans to help people in their everyday lives."


SEE ALSO
In full: Reshuffle changes
06 Oct 08 |  UK Politics
Clark made shadow energy minister
06 Oct 08 |  UK Politics
'Proud' Mandelson back in cabinet
03 Oct 08 |  UK Politics
Opik leaves Lib Dem front bench
24 Sep 08 |  UK Politics
Senior Lib Dems quit over EU vote
05 Mar 08 |  UK Politics


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