Cameron’s Conservatives Win Big in Surprise U.K. Election
LONDON, 08 MAY, (DNA) -The Conservative Party swept to power Friday in Britain’s parliamentary elections, winning an unexpected majority that returns Prime Minister David Cameron to 10 Downing Street in a stronger position than before.
After meeting with Queen Elizabeth II on Friday afternoon, Cameron returned to his office to announce he would form a majority Conservative government.
In remarks outside, he signaled a conciliatory tone, congratulating his former coalition partner, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, and opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband. Both resigned as leaders Friday after disappointing election results for their parties.
“We can make Britain a place where a good life is in reach for everyone who is willing to work and do the right thing,” he said.
Cameron promised to govern as the party of “one nation, one United Kingdom,” bringing the election to a much-quicker-than-expected conclusion. Polls ahead of Election Day had shown Conservatives locked in a tight race with the opposition Labour Party, raising the possibility of days or weeks of negotiations to form a government.
Labour took a beating, mostly from energized Scottish nationalists who pulled off a landslide in Scotland.
“I’m truly sorry I did not succeed,” Miliband said. “We’ve come back before and this party will come back again.”
With the Conservatives winning an outright majority in the 650-seat House of Commons, the election result looked to be far better for him than even his own party had foreseen. With 643 constituencies counted, the Conservatives had 326 seats to Labour’s 230.
The prime minister beamed early Friday as he was announced the winner of his Witney constituency in southern England.
“This is clearly a very strong night for the Conservative Party,” he said.
Cameron, who would be the first Conservative prime minister to win a second term since Margaret Thatcher, vowed to counter the rise of Scottish nationalism with more powers for Scotland and Wales.
“I want my party, and I hope a government that I would like to lead, to reclaim a mantle that we should never have lost — the mantle of one nation, one United Kingdom,” he said.
Labour was routed in Scotland by the Scottish National Party, which took almost all of the 59 seats. SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon told the BBC that the vote represented “a clear voice for an end to austerity, better public services and more progressive politics at Westminster.”
“The Scottish lion has roared this morning across the country,” said former SNP leader Alex Salmond, who was elected in the seat of Gordon.
Cameron’s coalition partner, the Liberal Democrat party, faced electoral disaster, losing most of its seats as punishment for supporting a Conservative-led agenda since 2010. Clegg did hold onto his seat.
Almost 50 million people were registered to vote in Thursday’s election. Votes in each constituency were counted by hand and the results followed a familiar ritual. Candidates, each wearing a bright rosette in the color of their party, line up onstage like boxers as a returning officer reads out the results. DNA
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