The Shadow Cabinet
(also called the Opposition Front Bench
) is a senior group of opposition spokespeople in the Westminster System
of government who together under the leadership of the Leader of the Opposition
(or the leader of other smaller opposition parties) form an alternative cabinet to the government's, whose members shadow
or mark each individual member of the government. Members of a shadow cabinet are often but not always appointed to a Cabinet post if and when their party gets into government.
In the United Kingdom and Canada the major opposition party and specifically its shadow cabinet is often called Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition. The adjective "loyal" is used because while there are policy differences, everyone acknowledges the role of the opposition in the system.
In the UK, the Parliamentary Labour Party elects most members of the Shadow Cabinet when in opposition, but when in government, the choice of Cabinet members is left wholly to the Prime Minister.
The official Shadow Cabinet in the UK is
This number of posts represents a major cutback. Traditionally shadow cabinets have had the same number of members as the real cabinet, but this has just half. Other major posts on the opposition front bench include