Ashdown shuffles his pack

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Indy Politics
THE Liberal Democrat leader, Paddy Ashdown, last night announced changes in the line-up of his Commons lieutenants, naming those who will head teams in seven policy areas.

Alan Beith, MP for Berwick-upon-Tweed and present treasury spokesman, stays as his deputy and will lead on home affairs. The new treasury team leader is Malcolm Bruce (Gordon), who moves up from speaking on trade and industry matters. Menzies Campbell (Fife NE), the present defence spokesman, is to lead on foreign affairs and defence, replacing Sir David Steel who will retire at the next general election.

Simon Hughes (Southwark and Bermondsey) takes over a new post as community and urban affairs team leader, combined with education. The environment team will be led by Matthew Taylor (Truro); Charles Kennedy (Ross, Cromarty and Skye) will lead on Europe; and Alex Carlile (Montgomery), the party leader in Wales, will head the health and welfare team. Appointments within teams are still to be made.