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AS, A-Level
AQA, Edexcel, OCR, IB

Last updated 22 Mar 2021

Frontbenchers in the House of Commons are Government ministers – of which there are about one hundred, and their opposing counterparts – called Shadow Ministers. Frontbenchers tend to be spokespeople for the different government departments.

The Government frontbench in the UK House of Commons is traditionally called the Treasury bench, because HM Treasury is the oldest government department. The government frontbench is on the right hand side as seen by the Speaker, and will be filled by the Government ministers, with the opposition frontbench to the left, occupied by shadow ministers, the most senior of whom are the Shadow Cabinet.

Behind the frontbenchers on both sides of the House sit the backbenchers, who are those without any type of ministerial, or shadow ministerial, portfolio. Frontbenchers are usually expected to vote with the Party leadership and the party ‘line’ or they may have to resign their position.

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