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What is a shadow minister?

A shadow minister is a politician who is a member of the Opposition and has been appointed to speak about how an alternative government would do things differently.

Each member of the Government has an opposite number whose job it is to scrutinise them. If the party in Opposition wins a general election, shadow ministers replace the members of the Government.

So, for example, a shadow Home Office minister would help to deal with home affairs if their party was in Government.

One of the jobs of shadow ministers is to make sure Government ministers are performing to the best of their ability. This is often done by asking ministers difficult questions in Parliament.

Shadow ministers will present voters with an alternative way of running the country. They will criticise ministers if they disapprove of the work they’re doing.

Senior shadow ministers make up the Shadow Cabinet.

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