Page last updated at 15:18 GMT, Wednesday, 9 September 2009 16:18 UK

Shadow Cabinet: Who's Who

William Hague, David Cameron and George Osborne

Leader - David Cameron

David Cameron was virtually unknown outside Westminster when he was elected Tory leader in December 2005 at the age of 39.

The Old Etonian had dazzled that year's party conference with his youthful dynamism and charisma, reportedly telling journalists he was the "heir to Blair".

He has sought to plant the Conservative flag firmly in the centre ground of British politics, but his assault on traditional Tory touchstones, such as grammar schools, has brought him into conflict with the party's grassroots.

Before becoming leader, he was the Conservatives' campaign co-ordinator at the 2005 general election and shadow education secretary.

He was special adviser to Home Secretary Michael Howard and Chancellor Norman Lamont in the 1990s before spending seven years as a public relations executive with commercial broadcaster Carlton.

Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer - George Osborne

One of David Cameron's closest friends and political allies - the pair have been dubbed the "Blair and Brown" of the Conservative Party - George Osborne has enjoyed a rapid rise through the ranks since becoming MP for Tatton in 2001.

Michael Howard promoted him from shadow chief secretary to the Treasury to shadow chancellor in May 2005, at the age of 34. It is a post he has kept under Mr Cameron.

Before entering Parliament, he was a special adviser in the agriculture department when the Tories were in government and later served as political secretary to William Hague.

He is also heir to the Osborne and Little wallpaper fortune.

Party chairman - Eric Pickles

Eric Pickles was first elected to the Commons in 1992, representing an Essex seat far from his Yorkshire roots.

He has extensive local government experience, having led Bradford District Council for three years up to 1991.

He has also served in a variety of shadow ministerial roles, including transport, local government and social security spokesman, earning a reputation for loyalty and good humour.

He boosted his reputation and profile in the party by masterminding its landmark victory over Labour in the Crewe and Nantwich by-election and was appointed party chairman in David Cameron's January 2009 reshuffle.

Shadow Secretary of State for Justice - Dominic Grieve

A Conservative activist from an early age - and the son of a former Tory MP - Dominic Grieve was elected to the Commons in 1997 as the MP for Beaconsfield in South Buckinghamshire.

He is a barrister and was the shadow attorney general for four and a half years until June 2008, when he was appointed shadow home secretary.

He filled the vacancy created when David Davis quit as an MP to fight by-election on civil liberties and plans for a 42-day terror detention limit.

Mr Grieve is an ex-member of the London Diocesan Synod with an interest in constitutional issues and an opposition to devolution - he is a past shadow Scottish affairs spokesman.

Regarded as a skilled and assiduous Commons performer, he was made shadow justice secretary in January 2009.

Chief Whip - Patrick McLoughlin

The former miner has been MP for West Derbyshire since 1986.

When the Conservatives were in power, he was a minister at the departments of transport, employment, trade and industry, and in the whips' office. In opposition, he became deputy chief whip in 1998.

Mr McLoughlin has an unusual background for a Tory MP. His mother was a factory worker and he worked as a farm labourer before following his father and grandfather into the pits.

He spoke out against Arthur Scargill in the miners' strike, when he was a strike-breaker.

Shadow Leader of the House of Commons - Sir George Young

The North West Hampshire MP, 68, was appointed to the job after the demotion of Alan Duncan in September 2009. It marked a return to the shadow cabinet after a gap of nine years.

Sir George, an old Etonian known as the "bicycling baronet" after his election to the old Ealing Acton seat in 1974, had been chairman of the committee on standards and privileges since 2001.

A widely respected figure in Parliament, who has twice stood unsuccessfully for the post of Speaker, he held the shadow Commons leader's job under William Hague's leadership.

He served as a health, environment and housing minister before becoming Financial Secretary to the Treasury in 1994 under then prime minister John Major. He served as transport secretary from 1995-97.

Shadow Culture, Media and Sport Secretary - Jeremy Hunt

MP for South West Surrey since 2005, Jeremy Hunt became the Conservatives' culture spokesman at the age of 40, in recognition of his work on disability issues.

He was previously the party's spokesman on disabilities and welfare reform.

He replaced Hugo Swire, who was sacked as culture spokesman shortly after suggesting free museum entry might be scrapped.

Mr Hunt, a fluent Japanese speaker, founded a company called Hotcourses, offering guides to help students find the right course before entering Parliament.

Shadow Secretary of State for Defence - Liam Fox

The former GP came third in the 2005 party leadership contest, presenting himself as a candidate of the right.

A popular figure with the party's grassroots, he was co-chairman during the 2005 general election but was moved to the shadow foreign secretary portfolio in May.

Under both William Hague and Iain Duncan Smith, he served as shadow health secretary.

And when the Conservatives were in government in the 1990s, Dr Fox was a whip and later a Foreign Office minister.

Shadow International Development Secretary - Andrew Mitchell

Mr Mitchell ran David Davis' leadership campaign in 2005 and kept his shadow-cabinet job under the new regime.

A former social security minister and whip, Mr Mitchell has also served as shadow minister for police.

He first became an MP in 1987 and lost his Gelding seat a decade later, only to return as MP for Sutton Coldfield in 2001.

Before going to university, Mr Mitchell served in the Royal Tank Regiment and later worked for investment bank Lazard, where he remains a director.

Shadow Energy and Climate Change - Greg Clark

One of a new generation of more liberal-minded Conservative MPs, Mr Clark is close to David Cameron and, as the Tories' former director of policy, a key influence on his thinking on social issues.

Within a year of being elected MP for Tunbridge Wells in 2005, he was made the Conservative spokesman on charities. He raised eyebrows in the party when he said the politics of left-wing columnist Polly Toynbee were more relevant to the modern Conservative Party than those of Winston Churchill.

He was promoted to the newly created and more high profile role of shadow secretary for energy and climate change in response to Gordon Brown's creation of the department, headed by Ed Miliband.

Shadow Education: Children, Schools and Families - Michael Gove

Seen as one of the brightest talents in the 2005 intake, the former Times journalist is a key member of David Cameron's inner circle and helps write many of his speeches.

As the Tories' housing spokesman, Mr Gove made a name for himself as an effective Commons performer in attacks on the government's home information packs.

He was drafted into the shadow cabinet, as children, schools and families spokesman, at the age of 39 when his leader split the education brief in two to reflect Gordon Brown's Whitehall changes.

Mr Gove headed the Policy Exchange think tank for three years before landing the safe seat of Surrey Heath.

Shadow Education: Innovation, Universities and Skills - David Willetts

Known as one of the party's big thinkers, former shadow education secretary David "Two Brains" Willetts was shunted sideways in the July 2007 reshuffle after a bitter row over the party's policy on grammar schools.

A former Treasury civil servant and graduate of the Number 10 policy unit at the height of Margaret Thatcher's time in office, he subsequently became director of research for the Centre for Policy Studies.

After his eleciton to the Commons in 1992, he enjoyed a rapid rise through the ranks before being criticised for his role as a whip during the Neil Hamilton cash-for-questions investigation.

In opposition, he served as shadow education and employment secretary under William Hague before taking on the work and pensions job. He briefly dallied with a party leadership bid in 2005 before throwing his weight behind David Davis.

Shadow Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary - Nick Herbert

Seen as one of the Conservatives' fastest-rising stars, Nick Herbert is a longstanding supporter of shadow home secretary David Davis, backing his leadership bids in 2001 and 2005.

He became an MP in 2005, taking over as candidate in Arundel in South Downs after MP Howard Flight was sacked by Michael Howard for hinting the party's plans for spending cuts went further than it had admitted.

The party's second openly gay frontbencher, after Alan Duncan, Mr Herbert was instrumental in setting up the Countryside Alliance and is a former head of right leaning think tank Reform, where he advocated radical policies on schools and hospitals.

He was drafted into the shadow cabinet as Justice spokesman, after impressing David Cameron as Tory spokesman on police reform. He moved to the environment brief in January 2009 at the age of 45.

Shadow Community Cohesion Minister - Sayeeda Warsi

Sayeeda Warsi became the first Muslim woman to sit on the front bench of a British political party in July 2007 at the age of 36.

Straight-talking and combative - she describes herself as a "northern, working-class-roots mum" - she gave up her job as a solicitor in 2004 to stand for Parliament in her home town of Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, losing out to Labour's Shahid Malik.

She was also a special adviser on community relations to then Tory leader Michael Howard before becoming the party's vice-chairman.

Ms Warsi - who is married with a daughter - says her admiration for Conservative principles is inspired by her father, who went from working in a mill to running a £2m-a-year bed-manufacturing firm.

Shadow Cabinet Office Minister - Francis Maude

The high priest of Tory modernisers, as party chairman Francis Maude was at the forefront of David Cameron's efforts to move the Conservatives to the centre ground - a role that won him few friends among party traditionalists.

He was demoted to shadow Cabinet Office minister in July 2007, with responsibility for implementing policy.

The son of Tory MP Angus Maude, he has enjoyed a rollercoaster career since his election to the Commons in 1983, serving in the Whips' office, the Foreign Office and the Treasury.

He lost his seat at the 1992 election but returned to the Commons five years later, serving as shadow chancellor and shadow foreign secretary.

He managed Michael Portillo's 2001 leadership bid, returning to the backbenches to argue the case for reform when Mr Portillo withdrew from the race.

Shadow Foreign Secretary - William Hague

A witty and engaging Commons performer who is popular with grassroots Tory members, Mr Hague scaled back his lucrative career as an author and after-dinner speaker to return to the frontbench in 2005.

He had been the youngest Tory leader since William Pitt when he took over the party in 1997 at the tender age of 36, but resigned after gaining just one seat at the 2001 general election.

Mr Hague entered Parliament in 1989 having been special adviser to Chancellor Sir Geoffrey Howe. He was soon promoted to be a social security minister and in 1995 entered the Cabinet as Wales secretary.

In addition to his duties as shadow foreign secretary, David Cameron has put Mr Hague in charge of rebuilding the party in the North of England, as chairman of its Northern Board.

Shadow Secretary of State for Health - Andrew Lansley

The former civil servant became an active Conservative in the 1980s after a spell as private secretary to Norman Tebbit.

In 1990 he became head of the Conservative Research Department and was one of the architects of the Tories' surprise 1992 election victory. However, he later faced criticism for his central role in the disastrous 2001 poll campaign.

He returned to the shadow cabinet in 2003 under Michael Howard as shadow health secretary, the role he continues to hold under David Cameron.

Shadow Home Secretary - Chris Grayling

A former television producer and management consultant, Chris Grayling has gained a reputation as one of the Conservatives' most effective front-bench performers with his bruising attacks on Labour figures such as John Prescott.

He has held a string of shadow ministerial positions since becoming MP for Epsom and Ewell in 2001, at the age of 38, including shadow leader of the house and shadow transport spokesman.

He has written several books including a history of the Bridgwater Canal and life in England after the First World War.

He moved into the key role of shadow home secretary in January 2009 after being widely seen to have performed well in the work and pensions brief.

Security - Dame Pauline Neville-Jones

Dame Pauline was the first woman to chair the Joint Intelligence Committee, the body that scrutinises intelligence reports from MI5 and MI6.

She was also John Major's foreign affairs adviser and the former Director of Political Affairs at the Foreign Office, as well as being a former governor of the BBC.

She was a foreign office diplomat for more than 30 years, rising to be political director and deputy under-secretary, acting as senior UK negotiator at the Dayton peace talks which brought the Bosnian war to an end in 1995.

Dame Pauline was born in 1939 and attended school in Leeds before taking an arts degree at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. She was brought into the shadow cabinet by Tory leader David Cameron as shadow security minister. She also acts as Mr Cameron's national security adviser.

Shadow Secretary of State for Business and Enterprise - Ken Clarke

The 68-year-old returned to the Conservative front bench as shadow business secretary in David Cameron's January 2009 reshuffle amid continuing economic crisis.

Mr Cameron said that Mr Clarke was a "big figure" with "great experience" and had been the last chancellor to lead the UK out of recession - during the John Major government of the 1990s.

His return has been seen as somewhat of a gamble for Mr Cameron given that Mr Clarke - who held a host of ministerial jobs in the Thatcher and Major governments - has staunchly pro-European views.

These views are widely seen to be the reason for his failure to win the three party leadership contests he entered - but Mr Cameron decided that Mr Clarke's experience was worth the risk of reopening party splits.

Mr Clarke was president of the union at Cambridge, became a QC in 1980 and after a succession of junior ministerial jobs he served as health, education and home secretaries before becoming chancellor from 1993 to 1997.

Shadow Leader of the Lords - Lord Strathclyde

Lord (Tom) Strathclyde has been in the shadow cabinet since 1997 after being promoted to Lords leader following a term as opposition chief whip.

During that time, he has led the Tory charge in an upper house which has often given the Labour government more problems than the House of Commons.

A former insurance broker, Lord Strathclyde has wide experience from the Tories' time in government.

He was a minister of state at the Department of Trade and Industry during the 1990s and his various junior ministerial jobs covered tourism, Scotland, environment and consumer affairs.

Shadow Communities and Local Government Secretary - Caroline Spelman

Caroline Spelman became the second woman, after Theresa May, to be Conservative Party chairman in 2007, at the age of 49.

She entered Parliament in 1997 and was tipped for a shadow cabinet post when Michael Howard became Tory leader in 2003. But she was first appointed spokesman for the environment and shadow minister for women - both non-frontbench positions.

She served as shadow secretary of state for international development and more recently as shadow secretary for local and devolved government.

Before entering Parliament, she worked in agriculture, including a spell as deputy director of the International Confederation of European Beetgrowers, in Paris.

Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary - Owen Paterson

Owen Paterson entered the shadow cabinet for the first time, at the age of 50, in David Cameron's July 2007 reshuffle.

A former managing director of the British Leather company, he entered Parliament as MP for Shropshire North in 1997, concentrating on rural issues as a junior agriculture spokesman and chairman of the Conservative Rural Action Group.

A Eurosceptic and member of the right wing Cornerstone Group, which campaigns for traditional Tory values, he helped Iain Duncan Smith during his 2001 leadership bid and was briefly parliamentary private secretary to Ann Widdecombe. He has also served in the Opposition whips office.

Shadow Transport Secretary - Theresa Villiers

A member of the 2005 Commons intake, Theresa Villiers became Transport Secretary in the July 2007 reshuffle, at the age of 39.

She is no novice in the world of politics having served as an MEP from 1999 to 2005, including a stint as the party's deputy leader in the European Parliament.

A Eurosceptic, she is a former barrister and lecturer at King's College, London.

The MP for Chipping Barnet was promoted to the shadow Cabinet after just seven months, becoming Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury.

Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury - Philip Hammond

Philip Hammond has build up a reputation as an articulate and effective Commons performer since being elected MP for Runnymede and Weybridge in 1997.

A former director of companies supplying medical equipment, he was initially a member of the shadow health team before going on to serve as trade and industry spokesman. He also backed Michael Portillo's 2001 leadership bid.

In summer 2002, he went to shadow the now defunct Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and local government department before being made shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, at the age of 51, in the July 2007 reshuffle.

Work and Pensions Secretary - Theresa May

Theresa May was the first woman to become party chairman, under the leadership of Iain Duncan Smith.

She then took up the culture and family portfolios before being made shadow Commons leader by David Cameron.

She has been a keen advocate of positive action to recruit more women Tories to winnable seats and was a key architect of the "A list" of preferred candidates.

A passionate moderniser with an exotic taste in shoes, she is famous for telling Tory activists they were seen as members of the "nasty party".

After 18 months of weekly battles with Commons leader Harriet Harman Mrs May moved to work and pensions in the January 2009 reshuffle.

Shadow Welsh Secretary - Cheryl Gillan

MP for Chesham and Amersham since 1992, Cheryl Gilllan was a junior education minister in John Major's government.

In opposition, her front-bench jobs have covered trade and industry, the Foreign Office and a period as a party whip.

Born in Cardiff, she became a member of the shadow cabinet in 2005, at the age of 53, replacing Bill Wiggin as Welsh spokesman, which became a shadow cabinet post under David Cameron.

Her jobs before entering Parliament include marketing consultant and director of British Film Year. In her spare time, she keeps rare Buff Orpington and Black Rock hybrid hens.

Shadow Scottish Secretary - David Mundell

The only Tory MP in Scotland at the time, Mr Mundell quickly landed a shadow cabinet job after entering Parliament in May 2005.

But his political experience goes back further.

He was elected as a member of the Scottish Parliament for the south of Scotland in 1999, and re-elected in 2003.

Policy review - Oliver Letwin

A former shadow home secretary and shadow chancellor, Oliver Letwin is one of the most experienced and erudite members of David Cameron's top team, playing a key role in the formulation of the policies with which the Conservatives will fight the next general election.

An Old Etonian and former merchant banker, he has been MP for West Dorset since 1997.

In the 2001 election, he famously went into "hiding" after suggesting to a newspaper that the party wanted to cut public spending by £20bn.

After the 2005 general election, at the age of 50, he decided to take the environment, food and rural affairs brief before being handed the job of reviewing policy across the board and made chairman of the Conservative research department.

Shadow Europe minister - Mark Francois

Mark Francois was appointed shadow Europe minister in 2007 and joined the shadow cabinet in 2009.

The former banker and business consultant served on Basildon Council for four years in the 1990s before unsuccessfully fighting the Brent East seat at the 1997 election.

He was elected MP for Rayleigh four years later and became an opposition whip in 2002.

Mr Francois, who served in the Territorial Army in the 1980s, has held a number of frontbench positions since then.

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