Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer


Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer

The Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer in the British Parliamentary system is the member of the Shadow Cabinet who is responsible for shadowing the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The title is in the gift of the Leader of the Opposition but is informal. The Shadow Chancellor has no constitutional role.

The name for the position has a mixed history. It is used to designate the lead economic spokesman for the Opposition, although some Shadow Cabinets have not used the term (the Thatcher Shadow Cabinet, for example)(see The Conservative Party Campaign Guide 1979). As a consequence of this and of the rise of the Liberal Democrats (who now claim the title themselves) the term is used interchangeably with 'Economic Spokesman' for both parties.

This confusion has been a source of humour for the previous Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown, who has played the two off against one another in Parliament.

"I, too, have a great deal of time for the shadow Chancellor who resides in Twickenham, rather than the shadow Chancellor for the Conservative party." [http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200506/cmhansrd/cm051205/debtext/51205-08.htm]

The current Shadow Chancellor is George Osborne MP. However, Vince Cable also claims the title for the Liberal Democrats, a trend started under his predecessor, Matthew Taylor.

List of Shadow Chancellors of the Exchequer


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