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George Osborne is Britain's youngest Chancellor

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Conservative Chancellor George Osborne

Conservative Chancellor George Osborne

Christopher Furlong

Britain's new Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife, Samantha, on the doorstep of 10 Downing Street after an audience with The Queen at which she invited him to form a new government

Britain's new Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife, Samantha, on the doorstep of 10 Downing Street after an audience with The Queen at which she invited him to form a new government

Lewis Whyld

Britain's new Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife, Samantha, wave on the doorstep of 10 Downing Street after an audience with The Queen

Britain's new Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife, Samantha, wave on the doorstep of 10 Downing Street after an audience with The Queen

Lewis Whyld

Britain's new Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife, Samantha, stand in Downing Street after an audience with The Queen

Britain's new Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife, Samantha, stand in Downing Street after an audience with The Queen

Anthony Devlin

Britain's new Prime Minister David Cameron leaves Buckingham Palace after receiving an invitation from Britain's Queen Elizabeth II to form a new government

Britain's new Prime Minister David Cameron leaves Buckingham Palace after receiving an invitation from Britain's Queen Elizabeth II to form a new government

John Stillwell

Britain's new Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife, Samantha, stand in Downing Street

Britain's new Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife, Samantha, stand in Downing Street

Anthony Devlin

Britain's new Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife, Samantha, stand in Downing Street

Britain's new Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife, Samantha, stand in Downing Street

Anthony Devlin

Britain's new Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife, Samantha, stand in Downing Street after an audience with The Queen at which she invited him to form a new government

Britain's new Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife, Samantha, stand in Downing Street after an audience with The Queen at which she invited him to form a new government

Anthony Devlin

The official Buckingham Palace document released by the press office, announcing Queen Elizabeth II's request for David Cameron to form a new administration

The official Buckingham Palace document released by the press office, announcing Queen Elizabeth II's request for David Cameron to form a new administration

John Stillwell

Britain's new Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife, Samantha, wave on the doorstep of 10 Downing Street

Britain's new Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife, Samantha, wave on the doorstep of 10 Downing Street

Lewis Whyld

Britain's new Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife, Samantha, on the doorstep of 10 Downing Street

Britain's new Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife, Samantha, on the doorstep of 10 Downing Street

Lewis Whyld

Staff listen to  British Prime Minister Gordon Brown making a statement as he leaves Downing Street on May 11, 2010 in London, England

Staff listen to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown making a statement as he leaves Downing Street on May 11, 2010 in London, England

Jeff J Mitchell

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II greets David Cameron at Buckingham Palace in an audience to invite him to be the next Prime Minister

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II greets David Cameron at Buckingham Palace in an audience to invite him to be the next Prime Minister

WPA Pool

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II greets David Cameron at Buckingham Palace in an audience to invite him to be the next Prime Minister

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II greets David Cameron at Buckingham Palace in an audience to invite him to be the next Prime Minister

WPA Pool

The new Prime Minister David Cameron leaves Buckingham Palace on May 11, 2010 in London, England

The new Prime Minister David Cameron leaves Buckingham Palace on May 11, 2010 in London, England

Matt Cardy

Prime Minister David Cameron and wife Samantha Cameron stand on the steps of Downing Street

Prime Minister David Cameron and wife Samantha Cameron stand on the steps of Downing Street

Dan Kitwood

Prime Minister Gordon Brown, his wife Sarah and their sons James Fraser and John leave Downing Street on May 11, 2010 in London, England. After five days of negotiation a Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government has been confirmed

Prime Minister Gordon Brown, his wife Sarah and their sons James Fraser and John leave Downing Street on May 11, 2010 in London, England. After five days of negotiation a Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government has been confirmed

Prime Minister Gordon Brown gives a statement outside 10 Downing Street

Prime Minister Gordon Brown gives a statement outside 10 Downing Street

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has announced his resignation

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has announced his resignation

Prime Minister Gordon Brown speaks about the current state of Government and announces that he will step down as Labour leader, outside number 10 Downing Street on May 10, 2010 in London

Prime Minister Gordon Brown speaks about the current state of Government and announces that he will step down as Labour leader, outside number 10 Downing Street on May 10, 2010 in London

Matt Cardy

Possible candidates to replace Gordon Brown as leader of the Labour Party (1st row, left - right) Harriet Harman, Alan Johnson, David Miliband (2nd row, left - right) Ed Balls, Jack Straw and Ed Miliband. David Miliband emerged as early favourite to take over from Gordon Brown as the next Labour leader, according to bookmakers. The Foreign Secretary is the front-runner in the Labour leadership contest with the bookmakers Paddy Power, William Hill and Ladbrokes.

Possible candidates to replace Gordon Brown as leader of the Labour Party (1st row, left - right) Harriet Harman, Alan Johnson, David Miliband (2nd row, left - right) Ed Balls, Jack Straw and Ed Miliband. David Miliband emerged as early favourite to take over from Gordon Brown as the next Labour leader, according to bookmakers. The Foreign Secretary is the front-runner in the Labour leadership contest with the bookmakers Paddy Power, William Hill and Ladbrokes.

PA

Television crews conduct interviews with politicians and journalists into the night adjacent to the Houses of Parliament on May 10, 2010

Television crews conduct interviews with politicians and journalists into the night adjacent to the Houses of Parliament on May 10, 2010

Oli Scarff

Gordon Brown jokes with David Miliband - the man who could now replace him as Labour leader

Gordon Brown jokes with David Miliband - the man who could now replace him as Labour leader

Foreign Secretary David Miliband leaves Downing Street on May 10, 2010 in London, England.

Foreign Secretary David Miliband leaves Downing Street on May 10, 2010 in London, England.

Dan Kitwood

William Hague, the Conservative Shadow Foreign Secretary, addresses media outside the Houses of Parliament on May 10, 2010

William Hague, the Conservative Shadow Foreign Secretary, addresses media outside the Houses of Parliament on May 10, 2010

Jeff J Mitchell

Electoral reform protesters demonstrate outside the Workers Foundation in Westminster on May 10, 2010 in London, England

Electoral reform protesters demonstrate outside the Workers Foundation in Westminster on May 10, 2010 in London, England

Oli Scarff

An electoral reform protester wears a mask depecting David Cameron as they gather outside the Workers Foundation in Westminster on May 10, 2010 in London, England

An electoral reform protester wears a mask depecting David Cameron as they gather outside the Workers Foundation in Westminster on May 10, 2010 in London, England

Christopher Furlong

An electoral reform protester wears a mask depecting David Cameron as they gather outside the Workers Foundation in Westminster on May 10, 2010 in London, England

An electoral reform protester wears a mask depecting David Cameron as they gather outside the Workers Foundation in Westminster on May 10, 2010 in London, England

Christopher Furlong

Conservative Party education spokeman Michael Gove gestures to a colleague at Parliament on May 10, 2010 in London, England

Conservative Party education spokeman Michael Gove gestures to a colleague at Parliament on May 10, 2010 in London, England

Peter Macdiarmid

Conservative Party education spokeman Michael Gove (L) talks with former Liberal Democrat MP Lembit Opik at Parliament on May 10

Conservative Party education spokeman Michael Gove (L) talks with former Liberal Democrat MP Lembit Opik at Parliament on May 10

Peter Macdiarmid

Hilary Benn, the Environment Secretary, leaves Downing Street following a cabinet meeting on May 10, 2010 in London, England

Hilary Benn, the Environment Secretary, leaves Downing Street following a cabinet meeting on May 10, 2010 in London, England

Matt Cardy

Peter Hain, the Welsh secretary, leaves Downing Street following a cabinet meeting on May 10, 2010

Peter Hain, the Welsh secretary, leaves Downing Street following a cabinet meeting on May 10, 2010

Matt Cardy

Secretary of State for Health Andy Burnham arrives for a cabinet meeting at 10 Downing Street, London on May 10, 2010 in London

Secretary of State for Health Andy Burnham arrives for a cabinet meeting at 10 Downing Street, London on May 10, 2010 in London

Matt Cardy

Harriet Harman, Labour's deputy leader leaves Downing Street following a cabinet meeting on May 10, 2010 in London, England

Harriet Harman, Labour's deputy leader leaves Downing Street following a cabinet meeting on May 10, 2010 in London, England

Matt Cardy

Conservative Chancellor George Osborne

George Osborne, 38, today became the youngest Chancellor of the Exchequer to take charge at the Treasury for over a century.

But while few doubt his talent, questions have been raised over whether he has the experience and judgment to manage the nation's finances at such a critical time.

Like his friend David Cameron, he comes from a background of wealth and privilege as heir to a baronetcy with a fortune reportedly in excess of £4 million.

But he is also something of a political high-wire act who has more than once found himself in hot water.

In 2005 - when he was managing Mr Cameron's successful leadership campaign - he was hit by the appearance in a Sunday newspaper of a photograph of him taken in his 20s with a woman described as a "cocaine-snorting hooker".

More seriously, his career almost came off the rails three years later when he was hit by allegations that he tried to solicit a donation from a Russian oligarch in breach of party funding legislation.

Although Mr Osborne denied the claim - and the Electoral Commission eventually ruled there was no evidence of an offence - the so-called "yachtgate" affair threw an unwelcome spotlight on the lifestyle of the Tory elite.

It arose out of a holiday he spent at the Corfu villa of his old university friend Nat Rothschild, a hedge fund manager and member of the banking dynasty, where he was introduced to the Russian aluminium magnate Oleg Deripaska.

Mr Rothschild subsequently alleged that Mr Osborne had found the opportunity so good, he invited Tory fundraiser Andrew Feldman, who was staying nearby, to join him on Mr Deripaska's yacht, Queen K, "to solicit a donation" for the party.

Mr Rothschild hit out after apparently having been angered by Mr Osborne's treatment of another of his circle of guests that summer - Lord Mandelson, who was yet to rejoin the Government.

When, a few weeks later, he was made Business Secretary by Gordon Brown, Mr Osborne was quickly identified as the source of a newspaper story claiming Lord Mandelson had "dripped pure poison" about the Prime Minister during his stay on the island.

Although no donation was made and the allegations were fiercely denied by the Tories, some senior Conservatives feared Mr Osborne had been so badly damaged he would be unable to carry on, although in the event Mr Cameron determined to stand by his friend.

Born on May 23 1971, the son of a baronet and beneficiary of a family trust linked to the Osborne and Little wallpaper firm, his early career in many ways echoed that of Mr Cameron, five years his senior.

At Oxford, where he studied modern history, he was a member of the upper class Bullingdon Club, a dining society notorious for its drunken behaviour.

Like Mr Cameron, on leaving university he did a stint working at the Conservative Research Department, before entering Parliament in the 2001 general election, taking the seat of Tatton in Cheshire.

Both men were part of the so-called "Notting Hill set" of bright young modernisers who gathered around Michael Howard after he became Tory leader in 2003.

When Mr Howard decided to stand down following the Conservatives' election defeat of 2005, he appointed Mr Osborne shadow chancellor providing him with a platform from which to launch a leadership bid.

In the event however, he agreed to back Mr Cameron - apparently without the acrimony which had marked a similar deal between Mr Brown and Tony Blair a decade earlier.

In 2007 he was credited with helping to derail Mr Brown's plans for a snap general election with his promise to abolish inheritance tax on estates worth up to £1 million if the Tories won.

And his announcement that a Conservative administration would reverse Labour's planned 1p rise in National Insurance contributions dominated the early weeks of the General Election campaign.

Mr Osborne has shown himself a deft political operator on the road to power. He now faces the far greater challenge of showing he can be equally adept in dealing with Britain's worst-ever deficit as Chancellor.

Belfast Telegraph