Shadow Cabinet

Shadow Cabinet

The Shadow Cabinet (also called the Shadow Front Bench or Shadow Ministry) is a senior group of opposition spokespeople in the Westminster system of government who together under the leadership of the Leader of the Opposition form an alternative cabinet to the government's, whose members shadow or mark each individual member of the government. Members of a shadow cabinet are often but not always appointed to a Cabinet post if and when their party gets into government. It is the Shadow Cabinet's responsibility to pass criticism on the current government and its respective legislation, as well as offering alternative policies.

In the United Kingdom and Canada the major opposition party and specifically its shadow cabinet is often called His or Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition.[1] The adjective "loyal" is used because, while the role of the opposition is to oppose Her Majesty's Government, it does not dispute the sovereign's right to the throne and therefore the legitimacy of the government. However in other countries that use the Westminster system (for example, New Zealand), the opposition is known simply as The Parliamentary Opposition instead of shadow.

Some parliamentary parties, notably the Australian Labor Party, elect all the members of their shadow cabinets in a partyroom ballot, with the Leader of the Opposition then allocating portfolios to the Shadow Ministers. In other parliamentary parties, the membership and composition of the Shadow Cabinet is generally determined solely by the Leader of the Opposition.

In most countries, a member of the shadow cabinet is referred to as a Shadow Minister. In Canada, however, the term Opposition Critics is more usual.


List of Shadow Cabinets


New South Wales

The Bahamas



Ireland, Republic of




New Zealand



  • Shadow Cabinet (Romanian: Cabinetul din umbră)


  • Expert Council of the Slovenian Democratic Party

Solomon Islands

South Africa



United Kingdom



See also


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Shadow cabinet — Cabinet fantôme Pour les articles homonymes, voir Cabinet. Le cabinet fantôme est un gouvernement virtuel formé par le principal parti de l opposition (Opposition officielle) dénué de pouvoirs réels, que l on trouve principalement dans les États… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • shadow cabinet — n. in the Brit. Parliament, those members of the opposition party who function as unofficial counterparts to the cabinet ministers of the party in power …   English World dictionary

  • shadow cabinet — noun a group of senior members of the political party that is out of power; these members would probably assume corresponding positions as ministers in the British Cabinet if their party was elected • Regions: ↑United Kingdom, ↑UK, ↑U.K.,… …   Useful english dictionary

  • shadow cabinet — šešėlinė vyriausybė statusas T sritis Politika apibrėžtis D. Britanijoje ir kai kuriose kitose, dažniausiai dvipartinėse, Vestminsterio tradicijos šalyse (Airija, Australija, Indija, Kanada) didžiausios opozicinės partijos sudarytas alternatyvus… …   Politikos mokslų enciklopedinis žodynas

  • shadow cabinet — noun Date: 1906 a group of leaders of a parliamentary opposition who constitute the probable membership of the cabinet when their party is returned to power …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • shadow cabinet — (in the British Parliament) a group of prominent members of the opposition who are expected to hold positions in the cabinet when their party assumes power. [1905 10] * * * …   Universalium

  • Shadow Cabinet — noun a senior group of opposition politicians who shadow the members of the government …   Wiktionary

  • shadow cabinet — shad′ow cab inet n. gov a group of prominent members of the parliamentary opposition who are expected to hold positions in the cabinet when their party assumes power • Etymology: 1905–10 …   From formal English to slang

  • shadow cabinet — /ʃædoʊ ˈkæbənət/ (say shadoh kabuhnuht) noun the group of members of the chief opposition party who speak on behalf of the party on major issues, each member having a special responsibility for the ministerial portfolio held by their counterpart… …   Australian English dictionary

  • Shadow Cabinet —    The frontbench spokespersons of the official HM Opposition Party. They seek to present themselves as an alternative team of ministers to the existing Government …   Glossary of UK Government and Politics

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