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Spelman's back on local authority beat

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The return of Caroline Spelman and the arrival of high-flying junior minister Justine Greening were the highlights for local government of the long-anticipated Conservative shadow cabinet reshuffle.

Ms Spelman, who is under investigation by the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner after it emerged her children’s nanny had been paid using Commons allowances, moves to shadow communities secretary.

She swaps jobs with Eric Pickles, who replaces her as party chairman.

Ms Spelman’s return was widely welcomed by local government Conservatives. “Caroline will obviously have the big advantage of being able to hit the ground running,” said David Shakespeare (Con), leader of the Local Government Association Conservative group.

Another eye-catching appointment is that of Ms Greening, who campaigned against road taxes and Heathrow’s third runway, who leaves a shadow Treasury posting to take the number two position in the local government team.

“The fact that Justine Greening has been brought in as second in command is interesting as she is young and seen as very dynamic,” said James Morris, chief executive of thinktank Localis.

Planning minister Jacqui Lait returns to the backbenches.

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