Hague puts Thatcher adviser on front bench

William Hague reshuffled his front bench yesterday ahead of next week's conference, promoting Oliver Letwin, a former policy adviser to Baroness Thatcher, to the shadow cabinet treasury team.

William Hague reshuffled his front bench yesterday ahead of next week's conference, promoting Oliver Letwin, a former policy adviser to Baroness Thatcher, to the shadow cabinet treasury team.

The Conservative leader also moved Angela Browning from her trade and industry brief to take on Margaret Beckett as shadow Leader of the House of Commons. Mr Hague replaced Mrs Browning with David Heathcoat-Amory, MP for Wells, after three and a half years as shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury.

The reshuffle was prompted by Sir George Young, shadow Leader of the House, saying he wished to step down to campaign to be the next House of Commons speaker. Mr Hague's promotion of Mr Letwin, the West Dorset MP, who is regarded as a rising star in the party, will be viewed by many in Westminster as a swing to the right.

In an interview on Radio 4, earlier this year he said that the next election would be fought between a party that "wants to tax a lot and spend a lot and regulate and intervene a lot and a party that wants to tax rather less, spend rather less and intervene rather less."

The former merchant banker and director of NM Rothschild will work with Michael Portillo, shadow Chancellor, to help frame future policy on taxation and spending.

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