The Shadow Cabinet

Michael Howard's new Shadow Cabinet sees the return of Malcolm Rifkind and Francis Maude to the front benches and big promotions for George Osborne, Liam Fox and David Cameron. It shows a real strength in depth, and when the leadership election takes place, probably in November, there will be several excellent candidates. This contrasts strongly with the Liberal Democrats who selected the rather weak Charles Kennedy from an even weaker field. Two of those who contested the LibDem leadership five years ago have subsequently lost their seats in Parliament. Labour is not short of talent, but their next leadership election is likely to be a walkover for Gordon Brown. Labour always chooses the obvious candidate. The Conservative Party is much more willing to take risks. They don't always pay off, but it is a generally better strategy than the safe path that Labour always takes.

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