Key ministers in Britain's new government

12th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

Key posts in Britain's new Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government:

-- Prime Minister David Cameron

The 43-year-old leader of the Conservatives, who have most seats in the new parliament, is Britain's youngest prime minister for two centuries.

He was only elected to parliament in 2001, to the seat of Witney in Oxfordshire, southern England, and took over as party leader in 2005 with a pledge to modernise the party in his idea of "compassionate Conservatism".

He stresses the need for individual responsibility but is also committed to public services, in particular the state-run health service which treated his disabled son Ivan, who died last year aged six.

Cameron and his wife Samantha have two other young children and she is expecting another in September.

-- Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg

The leader of the Liberal Democrats, who held the balance of power after last week's inconclusive elections. The job has no official portfolio and it remains to be seen what he does with it.

Clegg, 43, has been a member of parliament since 2005, representing Sheffield Hallam in northern England, and took over the party in December 2007, although he was previously a lawmaker in the European Parliament.

He speaks five languages, is fervently pro-European and is on the right of his centrist party.

He is married to Miriam Gonzalez, a Spanish commercial lawyer, and has three sons.

-- Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne

Osborne, 38, is a close friend of Cameron and a key member of the team that modernised the Tories.

He is a skilled political operator, credited with the party's plan to cut inheritance tax which panicked Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown into abandoning plans to call an election in 2007.

He has held the finance brief for five years, but his lack of experience and his youth has caused concern in some quarters that he is ill-equipped for the huge job of securing recovery and tackling the deficit.

Osborne is married to Frances and they have two children.

-- Foreign Secretary William Hague

The straight-talking Yorkshireman is one of the most popular and respected members of the Conservatives.

He left frontline politics in 2001 after a disastrous four years as Conservative leader but was brought back by Cameron in 2005.

On the right of the party, the 49-year-old is famously eurosceptic but has toned down his rhetoric under Cameron.

He made a name for himself at a young age, addressing the Conservative party conference at just 16, becoming MP for Richmond in Yorkshire, northern England, when he was just 28, and becoming a minister at just 34.

He has written two biographies of political figures and is married to Ffion.

-- Defence Secretary Liam Fox

The 48-year-old Scot served as junior Foreign Office minister in the last year of John Major's Conservative government which was comprehensively voted out in 1997, and has held the defence brief under Cameron since 2005.

A former doctor, Fox has been a lawmaker since 1992. He is a skilled debater but is a social conservative on the right of the party and lost out to Cameron in the 2005 Tory leadership contest.

He is married to Jesme.

-- Business Secretary Vince Cable

The Liberal Democrats' finance spokesman became known as a voice of reason during the financial crisis, and the party's most visible figure before Clegg got his chance during the pre-election television debates.

A former chief economist at oil giant Shell, the 66-year-old has a strong finance background and had a long career before joining parliament in 1997 to represent Twickenham in southwest London.

His first wife was Kenyan and they had three children, but she died of cancer in 2001. He married his second wife, Rachel, in 2004.

© 2010 AFP

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