Factbox - Key ministers in new coalition government

Wed May 12, 2010 8:09pm BST

(Reuters) - The Conservative party formed a coalition government on Wednesday with the smaller, Liberal Democrats.

Below are details about the new cabinet -- the first coalition government in Britain since World War Two.

GEORGE OSBORNE (CHANCELLOR, CONSERVATIVE)

Osborne, 38, is the youngest Chancellor since Randolph Churchill in 1886.

Osborne wants early action to tackle Britain's large budget deficit and he backs cuts in wasteful government spending to reverse a planned rise in payroll tax for most people.

A Reuters poll of economists in April found Conservative Ken Clarke was their top choice as finance minister. Osborne was in fourth place.

VINCE CABLE (BUSINESS SECRETARY, LIBERAL DEMOCRAT)

Cable, 67, shot to prominence during the global banking crisis, when he gained a reputation for economic sagacity for his no-nonsense warnings of looming financial peril.

A former chief economist with Shell, he also won plaudits as a parliamentary wit after joking that the banking crash had transformed then Prime Minister Gordon Brown "from Stalin to Mr Bean, creating chaos out of order rather than order out of chaos."

WILLIAM HAGUE (FOREIGN AFFAIRS, CONSERVATIVE)

A schoolboy speech made Hague, now 49, the darling of the Conservative Party when he was just 16. At 34 he became a cabinet minister and in 1997, aged 36, he won the party leadership after the Labour Party's election victory ended 18 years of Conservative rule.

He moved the party to the right, embracing hardline policies on asylum, immigration and Europe, but succeeded only in shoring up the party's core support while alienating floating voters.

Hague resigned as leader after a crushing election defeat at the hands of then Prime Minister Tony Blair's Labour Party in 2001. He returned to front-line politics in December 2005, when new party leader David Cameron named him foreign policy spokesman.

LIAM FOX (DEFENCE, CONSERVATIVE)

Fox, 48, supported the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, although he criticised Labour's planning for the conflicts.

He wants to renew Britain's submarine-launched nuclear weapons and said before the election he would order an immediate review of defence spending if the Conservatives came to power.

Seen as a eurosceptic, Fox says Britain's most important relationship is with the United States and he has described NATO, not Europe, as the "cornerstone" of Britain's security.

THERESA MAY (HOME SECRETARY, CONSERVATIVE)

After beginning her career at the Bank, she moved to the Association for Payment Clearing Services (ACAPS) from 1989 to 1997.

May, 53, was elected to parliament in May 1997 and has been in the Shadow Cabinet since 1999. Roles included Shadow Secretary of State for Education and Employment (1999-2001), Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, (2001-02), and Shadow Leader of the House of Commons (2005-09).

KEN CLARKE (JUSTICE, CONSERVATIVE)

A Member of Parliament for 30 years, Clarke, 69, has extensive experience in government having served as both chancellor and home secretary.

A former lawyer, he has also previously held the positions of minister for health, education secretary, employment minister and minister for trade and industry.

Clarke, Shadow Secretary of State for Business since 2009, had been tipped as a contender for the job of chancellor, which he held from 1993 to 1997 as Britain recovered from recession.

DAVID LAWS (CHIEF SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY, LIBDEM)

Educated at Cambridge, he was Managing Director at Barclays Bank before joining the Liberal Democrats as the Parliamentary Party's Economic Advisor in 1994.

Laws, 44, was author of the 1994 and 1995 Liberal Democrat Alternative Budgets and was appointed Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury in 2002.

He was re-elected in 2005 and appointed Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. In 2007 he was appointed Shadow Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families.

CHRIS HUHNE (ENERGY AND CLIMATE CHANGE, LIBDEM)

A financial and economic journalist for 19 years, Huhne spent six years as a Member of the European Parliament before he was elected to the British parliament in 2005.

Six months later, in early 2006, he came runner-up in a contest for leadership of the LibDem party.

Having focussed his leadership campaign on the need for energy conservation, the reduction of carbon emissions and the importance of environmentally friendly 'eco-taxes' to combat global warming and climate change he was appointed Shadow Secretary for the Environment, Food and Rural affairs.

After unsuccessfully running for leadership of the party again in 2007, he took up the position of Shadow Home Secretary.

OTHER CABINET APPOINTMENTS

Transport, Philip Hammond, Conservative

Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith, Conservative

Education, Michael Gove, Conservative

Health, Andrew Lansley, Conservative

International Development, Andrew Mitchell, Conservative

Environment, Caroline Spelman, Conservative

Culture, Jeremy Hunt, Conservative

Local Government, Eric Pickles, Conservative

Scotland, Danny Alexander, Liberal Democrat

Wales, Cheryl Gillan, Conservative

Northern Ireland, Owen Paterson, Conservative

(Sources: Party website; lawmakers' websites; Reuters archive; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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