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Tuesday, 26 September, 2000, 17:23 GMT 18:23 UK
Browning moves in Tory reshuffle
Angela Browning, Mr Hague and Ann Widdecombe
Mr Hague has moved Angela Browning (left) from trade
William Hague has reshuffled three members of his shadow cabinet in the wake of Sir George Young's decision to stand down.

Former shadow trade and industry secretary Angela Browning becomes shadow Leader of the House in Sir George's place.

The new job-holders
Angela Browning Shadow leader of the House
David Heathcoat-Amory Shadow trade secretary
Oliver Letwin Shadow chief secretary to the Treasury
And rising Conservative stars David Heathcoat-Amory and Oliver Letwin, have been promoted in the resulting changes.

Mrs Browning's move was described by Conservative Central Office as a promotion, which insiders said would put one experienced and feisty female MP head-to-head with another - Labour's Leader of the House Margaret Beckett.

But some observers will regard the move as primarily designed to remove her from the trade and industry brief, where she was widely criticised for failing to take full advantage of Stephen Byers' problems over Rover and Ford.

The other two moves will be considered by some as a swing to the right.

The reshuffle was prompted by Sir George Young's announcement last week that he was stepping down as shadow leader of the House to campaign for the position of Speaker.

'Promotions on merit'

Mr Heathcoat-Amory is promoted to fill Mrs Browning's old position at trade and industry, after three-and-a-half years as shadow chief secretary to the Treasury.

Dorset MP Mr Letwin takes over his job, promoted from a junior position in the Treasury team.

Mr Letwin was once a member of Margaret Thatcher's policy unit and an adviser to Sir Keith Joseph.

But Tory insiders said Mr Hague regards the days of factional in-fighting between the left and right wings of the party as a thing of the past and says the promotions are based on merit.

Mr Hague wanted to move quickly following Sir George's announcement, to ensure that the appointments - which take effect immediately - were in place before next week's annual party conference.

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See also:

30 Mar 00 | UK Politics
Byers targeted in Rover crisis
31 Mar 00 | UK Politics
The shadow in the shadows
03 Apr 00 | UK Politics
Byers on defensive over Rover
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