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Cameron's government: A guide to who's who

17 October 11 17:16 GMT

Click on the pictures to read profiles of David Cameron's Conservative-Lib Dem coalition cabinet:

PRIME MINISTER - DAVID CAMERON

Conservative 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 match the former PM by putting the Conservatives at the centre ground of British politics.

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.

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DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER - NICK CLEGG

In just five years, Liberal Democrat Nick Clegg, at 43 the same age as Mr Cameron, has gone from political obscurity to the absolute front line of British politics.

After becoming MP for Sheffield Hallam at the 2005 election, he was promoted to Europe spokesman, before moving on to the home affairs role.

When Sir Menzies Campbell resigned as leader in 2007, he entered the race to succeed him, in the end narrowly beating Chris Huhne.

He has campaigned against the government over civil liberties and opposed the Conservatives' spending cuts plans, attempting to create a distance between the Lib Dems and what he calls the "old parties".

But he really came to prominence during the televised debates ahead of the general elections, being judged in polls to have been the big winner of the first one.

However, this appeared to do little to help the Lib Dems when they actually lost seats on 6 May. The party, though, retained enough MPs to become the vital players in the hung parliament.

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FOREIGN SECRETARY - WILLIAM HAGUE

Since he returned to the shadow cabinet in 2005, Conservative William Hague has become a key adviser to David Cameron, and was seen as de facto deputy party leader.

The new foreign secretary has plenty of experience to call upon, having been Tory leader himself from 1997 to 2001 and shadow foreign secretary until the election.

A witty and engaging Commons performer who is popular with grassroots Tory members, 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 Secretary of State for Wales.

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

Mr Hague has said that as foreign secretary, he is determined to put in place a "distinctive British foreign policy" and the situation in Afghanistan is a priority.

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CHANCELLOR - GEORGE OSBORNE

One of David Cameron's closest friends and Conservative allies, George Osborne rose rapidly after 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.

Mr Osborne took a key role in the election campaign and has been at the forefront of the debate on how to deal with the recession and the UK's spending deficit.

Even before Mr Cameron became leader the two were being likened to Labour's Blair/Brown duo. The two have emulated them by becoming prime minister and chancellor, but will want to avoid the spats.

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.

The BBC understands that as chancellor, Mr Osborne, along with the Treasury will retain responsibility for overseeing banks and financial regulation.

Mr Osborne said the coalition government was planning to change the tax system "to make it fairer for people on low and middle incomes", and undertake "long-term structural reform" of the banking sector, education and the welfare state.

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HOME SECRETARY AND MINISTER FOR WOMEN AND EQUALITY - THERESA MAY

Theresa May is the biggest winner so far in jobs allocated in the new cabinet, becoming only the second woman to hold the post of Home Secretary.

She was the first woman to become Conservative 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 she famously ruffled feathers when she told Tory activists they were seen as members of the "nasty party".

Ms May was the shadow work and pensions minister ahead of the election.

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DEFENCE SECRETARY - PHILIP HAMMOND

Philip Hammond has built 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 Conservative 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.

He became Transport Secretary after David Cameron's coalition took power after the 2010 election, building on his reputation there as an effective performer before being shifted into the defence brief after the resignation of Liam Fox from the job in October 2011.

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LORD CHANCELLOR AND SECRETARY OF STATE FOR JUSTICE - KEN CLARKE

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

His return to the Tory frontbench last year was 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 - had staunchly pro-European views.

These views were 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.

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HEALTH SECRETARY - ANDREW LANSLEY

Andrew Lansley, a 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.

Mr Cameron had long guaranteed Mr Lansley - who has played a key role in convincing people that the NHS is a high priority for the Conservatives - the role of health secretary in a government led by him.

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EDUCATION SECRETARY - MICHAEL GOVE

Tory Michael Gove was 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 who 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.

He had previously said he was prepared to give up a post in the new Cabinet to ensure the deal with the Lib Dems went ahead, but he sticks with the education brief in government.

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BUSINESS SECRETARY - VINCE CABLE

Vince Cable has had a long journey to reach the front rank of politics, having been a Labour and then an SDP supporter before its merger with the Liberals to become the Liberal Democrats.

An economist by profession, he entered Parliament as MP for Twickenham in 1997 and has gradually built up his powerbase among the Lib Dems.

As the party's deputy leader and Treasury spokesman he saw his stock rising during the credit crunch because of his earlier warnings.

When he stood in as temporary leader after the resignation of Sir Menzies Campbell, he memorably described Gordon Brown as going from "Stalin to Mr Bean".

He is also expected to be a member of a new ministerial committee which is dedicated to creating banking policy, and chaired by the chancellor.

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WORK AND PENSIONS - IAIN DUNCAN SMITH

This is a return to the front line for former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith, the MP for Chingford and Woodford Green.

A former army officer, who saw active service in Northern Ireland, Mr Duncan Smith entered Parliament in 1992 and rapidly established himself as one of the Maastricht rebels that life so difficult for then Tory leader John Major.

He was seen as a rising star of the Eurosceptic right and, after a spell as shadow defence secretary under William Hague, was the surprise victor in the September 2001 leadership contest, beating better-known and more experienced, Europhile candidate Ken Clarke.

He had a torrid time as the Tory leader, failing to land any real blows on then PM Tony Blair and enduring a relentless barrage of criticism from the press and, in some cases, his own MPs.

In November 2002, he urged his party to "unite or die" in response to persistent whisperings of a challenge to his leadership, but a year later he was ousted after narrowly failing to win the backing of enough MPs in a vote of confidence.

After losing the Tory leadership, he has successfully reinvented himself as a social reform champion who, with his centre-right think tank Centre for Social Justice, has played an influential role in developing Conservative policy on welfare and the "broken society".

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ENERGY AND CLIMATE CHANGE - CHRIS HUHNE

Chris Huhne has become Energy and Climate Change Secretary. Like Nick Clegg, Mr Huhne entered Parliament in 2005. He also attended the same school - the exclusive Westminster public school - and served as a Member of the European Parliament.

They have much in common, but they fought a close - and sometimes angry - campaign for the leadership in 2007.

Afterwards Mr Huhne, who had been environment spokesman, was promoted to the home affairs brief. He made a fortune in the City before entering politics, and is seen as being on the left of the party.

He was a key member of the Lib Dem team which held talks about a coalition with both Labour and the Conservatives.

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CHIEF SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY - DANNY ALEXANDER

Danny Alexander was Nick Clegg's chief of staff and the Liberal Democrats' campaign co-ordinator throughout the election.

He was also the former media chief of pro-euro campaign group Britain in Europe, which brought together leading Labour and Lib Dem voices with business groups.

First elected to Parliament in 2005, he rose to prominence when Mr Clegg became party leader in 2007.

The 38-year-old was the author of the party's 2010 election manifesto, becoming the Scottish Secretary in David Cameron's initial coalition cabinet.

He was promoted to chief secretary - a crucial role overseeing spending cuts - to succeed David Laws after was forced to quit over his expenses after less than three weeks in the job.

The Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey MP won one of 11 seats for the Lib Dems in Scotland.

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SCOTTISH SECRETARY - MICHAEL MOORE

Michael Moore - the MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk - was named Secretary of State for Scotland at the age 44 years.

The Lib Dem MP took over from Danny Alexander, who was promoted to Chief Secretary to the Treasury after David Law's resignation less than three weeks after the May 2010 election.

Michael Moore was elected MP for Tweeddale, Ettrick and Lauderdale at the 1997 general election, succeeding David Steel, for whom he had previously worked as a researcher.

He was elected to the new constituency in 2005, following boundary changes. Before the 2010 election he held a number of front bench spokesman jobs, including defence, foreign affairs and international development.

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CHIEF WHIP - PATRICK MCLOUGHLIN

Patrick McLoughlin - the Tory chief whip while the party was in opposition, will carry on as the Government Chief Whip.

The former miner is the MP for Derbyshire Dales.

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's 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.

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COMMUNITIES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT SECRETARY - 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 2009.

And he became a regular and confident media performer in the months leading up to the 2010 general election.

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ATTORNEY GENERAL- 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 a 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 the Tories' shadow justice secretary ahead of the election. The attorney general is not a full cabinet position under David Cameron.

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CULTURE, OLYMPICS, MEDIA AND SPORT - JEREMY HUNT

Jeremy Hunt, 43, retains his existing brief in the new cabinet but gets specific responsibility for the smooth running of the 2012 London Olympics.

The MP for South West Surrey since 2005, he became the Conservatives' culture spokesman. 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 University.

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CONSERVATIVE CO-CHAIRMAN - BARONESS WARSI

Baroness Sayeeda Warsi is the first Muslim woman to serve in a British cabinet. She is the Conservative Party's co-chairman and minister without portfolio (party fundraiser and close friend of David Cameron, Andrew Feldman, is the other co-chairman but he will not be attending cabinet).

Baroness Warsi was also 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. She succeeds Eric Pickles in her new role.

Baroness Warsi 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.

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ENVIRONMENT - CAROLINE SPELMAN

Caroline Spelman was 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, shadow secretary for local and devolved government and most recently shadow communities and local government.

Before entering Parliament, she worked in agriculture, including a spell as deputy director of the International Confederation of European Beetgrowers, in Paris. She now takes on the environment brief in the Lib Dem Conservative coalition government.

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INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT - ANDREW MITCHELL

Conservative MP Andrew Mitchell keeps his existing brief of international development.

He ran David Davis' leadership campaign in 2005 and kept his shadow-cabinet job under David Cameron's 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 Gedling 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.

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TRANSPORT - JUSTINE GREENING

Justine Greening was promoted to the cabinet in October 2011 at the age of 42.

Miss Greening, the MP for Putney since 2005, became economic secretary to the Treasury after the 2010 election, succeeding Philip Hammond as transport secretary after he was promoted to defence secretary.

Born and educated in Yorkshire, Miss Greening studied economics at Southampton University, before getting an MBA from London Business School and worked as a finance manager at British Gas owner Centrica before joining the Commons.

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NORTHERN IRELAND - OWEN PATERSON

Conservative MP Owen Paterson retains his Northern Ireland portfolio.

He 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.

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WALES - CHERYL GILLAN

Conservative MP for Chesham and Amersham since 1992, Cheryl Gillan 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. She retains it in his cabinet.

Her jobs before entering Parliament include marketing consultant and director of British Film Year.

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LEADER OF HOUSE OF 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 Conservative charge in an upper house which often gave the Labour government more problems than the House of Commons.

A former insurance broker, Lord Strathclyde has wide experience from the Conservatives' previous spell 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.

Lords Chief Whip (Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen at Arms) - Baroness Anelay (Conservative)

Deputy Chief Whip - Lord Shutt (Liberal Democrat)

Baroness in Waiting - Baroness Northover (Liberal Democrat)

Baroness in Waiting - Baroness Rawlings (Conservative)

Baroness in Waiting - Baroness Verma (Conservative)

Lord in Waiting - Earl Attlee (Conservative)

Lord in Waiting - Lord Astor (Conservative)

Lord in Waiting - Lord De Mauley (Conservative)

Lord In Waiting - Lord Taylor of Holbeach (Conservative)

Lord in Waiting - Lord Wallace of Saltaire (Liberal Democrat)

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LEADER OF THE COMMONS - SIR GEORGE YOUNG

The North West Hampshire Tory MP, 68, was appointed shadow leader of the Commons after the demotion of Alan Duncan in September 2009. It marked a return to the shadow cabinet after a gap of nine years, and he has now retained the role in government, although he will not be a full cabinet member.

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.

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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. He and his team have been in months of talks with civil servants to ensure as smooth as possible a transition in the event of a new government - and to avoid wasting a first term as Mr Cameron's team believe Tony Blair did in 1997. He has also been working on detailed plans to shake-up the civil service and make them more accountable to ministers.

He will carry on with a similar policy implementation role in government, but he will not be full cabinet member.

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.

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MINISTER OF STATE AT CABINET OFFICE, POLICY - 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 responsible for writing the Conservatives' general election manifesto. He will continue with the policy formation role he played in opposition as a minster of state, although he will not be a full member of cabinet.

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.

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UNIVERSITIES AND SCIENCE - DAVID WILLETTS

David Willetts is the minister of state for universities and science, within the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, attending cabinet rather than a full member.

Known as one of the Conservative 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 election 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.

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SOLICITOR GENERAL - EDWARD GARNIER

Edward Garnier became an MP in 1992 at the age of 40. Appointed Queen's Counsel in 1995, he served under Michael Howard in 2001. He was appointed to David Cameron's shadow frontbench team with responsibilities for justice in the July 2007 reshuffle. In September 2009, he became shadow attorney general.

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