GEORGE Osborne was last night confirmed as chancellor of the exchequer and William Hague as foreign secretary in the new Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition government – securing top jobs for the men who brokered the eventual deal.
The decision leaves the two men in the positions they held in recent years in opposition, and scotched widespread speculation that the chancellor’s job could go to Kenneth Clarke, who performed the role between 1993 and 1997, or even Lib Dem Vince Cable.
Osborne, who takes on the role,just two weeks shy of his 39th birthday, will now have to convince the City that he is up to the job. The key part of that job will be to begin the process of cutting Britain’s record deficit amid widespread fears that too much, too soon could see the UK end up back in recession.
Meanwhile, Hague, who led the Tories into electoral disaster in 2001, is now one of Cameron’s closest allies – described by Cameron as his deputy in all but name. The 49-year old, a fierce eurosceptic who returned to frontline politics in 2005, is one of the party’s most popular MPs.