Liberal Democrat frontbench team
|Frontbench Teams since 1997|
|Ashdown Team (1997–1999)|
|Kennedy Team (1999–2006)|
|Campbell Team (2006–2007)|
|First Cable Team (2007)|
|Clegg Team (2007–2010)|
|General Election Cabinet (2015)|
|Farron Team (2015–2017)|
|Second Cable Team (2017–2019)|
|Swinson Team (2019–Present)|
The Liberal Democrats are a political party in the United Kingdom. While in opposition, the Leader of the Liberal Democrats appoints a frontbench team of Members of Parliament (MPs), Peers, Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) and Members of the National Assembly for Wales (AMs), to speak for the party on different issues. Their areas of responsibility broadly corresponded to those of Government ministers. The frontbench team is divided into departmental sub-units, the principal ones being the economy, foreign policy, and home affairs. Sometimes the frontbench team consists of more than just the principal positions.
Formerly, the Liberal Democrats frontbench team did not use the term 'Shadow Cabinet', with a number of front bench spokespeople covering areas (e.g., Defence and Foreign Affairs) rather than directly shadowing specific Cabinet portfolios. Under Charles Kennedy's leadership, and with the increase in numbers of Liberal Democrat MPs, the senior members of the frontbench team referred to themselves as a Shadow Cabinet. This was controversial, because in the two-party political system that dominated UK politics in the 20th century, the term 'Shadow Cabinet' referred to senior members of the frontbench team of the largest single opposition party in the House of Commons. This party, known as the Official Opposition, has constitutional status, although its Shadow Cabinet does not. Following Kennedy's decision to change the nomenclature, the UK Parliament's website now uses the term 'Liberal Democrat Shadow Cabinet' in place of the old term 'Frontbench Team'.
This is not without contention, and was disputed by the Conservative Party, who were then the Official Opposition. However, the official listing at the Parliament website is explicit in using the term 'Shadow Cabinet'. In 2001, Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown said the following in the House of Commons:
The House of Commons is in the unique position of having two shadow Chancellors: one sits in Folkestone and the other in Truro. It is rather like the mediaeval papacy: two hon. Members claim to hold the position of shadow Chancellor. I shall organise a play-off during the year.
Brown returned to this theme, comparing his frosty relationship with the official Shadow Chancellor George Osborne with his apparently warm relationship with Vince Cable (whom he has referred to as "the Shadow Chancellor from Twickenham").
The Official Opposition receives support for its official function which is denied to smaller opposition parties, although they, along with every parliamentary party, do receive Short Money. While the Opposition Leader and Chief Whips draw salaries, smaller opposition parties do not. The Official Opposition also has the exclusive use of facilities within Parliament.
Following the 2010 general election and the confirmation of Conservative David Cameron as Prime Minister on 11 May 2010, a coalition cabinet was formed that included Liberal Democrat ministers. The team was updated again during a September 2012 reshuffle.
Following the 2015 general election, the Liberal Democrats were reduced to just eight seats in the House of Commons, falling into fourth place behind the Scottish National Party (SNP) for the first time. As a result of this, Parliament's website listed the SNP's frontbench team (in comparison with the Conservative Cabinet and Labour Shadow Cabinet) in lieu of the Liberal Democrat frontbench team.
Current Liberal Democrat frontbench teamEdit
Frontbench Team of Jo SwinsonEdit
Other Roles and SpokespeopleEdit
Previous frontbench teamsEdit
Previous team key-members in summary:
- "Directory of MPs, Peers, Offices and Overseas Delegations". House of Commons Information Office. Archived from the original on 2 September 2006. Retrieved 4 September 2006.
- "Liberal Democrat Shadow Cabinet and Parliamentary Team". House of Commons Information Office. Archived from the original on 21 August 2006. Retrieved 4 September 2006.
- "UK Parliament". House of Commons Information Office – libdems. Archived from the original on 2 August 2008. Retrieved 25 September 2008.
- "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 27 Nov 2001 (pt 8)". The Stationery Office Ltd. 27 November 2001. Retrieved 4 September 2006.
- "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 16 Oct 2003 (pt 2)". 16 October 2003. Archived from the original on 5 June 2011.
- "Spokespersons in the House of Lords". UK Parliament. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
- http://www.libdems.org.uk/ (16 January 2014). "Joan Walmsley". Liberal Democrats. Retrieved 7 November 2017.
- http://www.libdems.org.uk/ (22 January 2014). "Sal Brinton". Liberal Democrats. Retrieved 7 November 2017.