Daily Archives: May 8, 2015
Breaking News: British Conservatives Win Outright Majority
London: Prime Minister David Cameron and his Conservative Party won a surprisingly solid victory in the British general election Thursday, with projections and partial results Friday morning showing that the party will at a minimum come close to winning an overall majority in Parliament.
Even if the Conservatives fall short of a majority, Cameron appears all but certain to remain prime minister, with the choice of working with at least two smaller parties or trying to run a minority government.
The vote was a significant disappointment for the Labour Party and its leader, Ed Miliband, who saw his hopes of ejecting Cameron from Downing Street dissipate overnight.
Labour was nearly wiped out in Scotland by the surging Scottish National Party and did poorer than pre-election polls had suggested it would in the rest of Britain.
“Now the results are still coming in, but this has clearly been a very disappointing and difficult night for the Labour Party,” Miliband said in a quasi concession after being re-elected to his seat in the House of Commons.
The results were also a disaster for Nick Clegg and the centrist Liberal Democrats, who have been the junior partner in a coalition with the Conservatives. The results raised questions about whether Miliband and Clegg might have to resign as leaders of their parties.
The latest projections by the BBC, based on incomplete results and a national exit poll, put the Conservatives at 329 seats, three more than an absolute majority in the 650-member House of Commons.
Should the Conservatives win 329 seats when all the votes are tallied Friday, it would be a gain of 22 seats from the last election, in 2010.
Speaking in his electoral district after his re-election, Cameron said it was “clearly a very strong night for the Conservative Party,” although he added that it was too soon to say exactly what sort of result there will be when all the results are declared.
The projections put the Labour total at 233 seats, a decline of 25 seats from the 2010 results. The Scottish National Party was projected to be on track to have won 56 of 59 seats in Scotland, rolling over Labour. In 2010, the Scottish nationalists won only six seats.
For Cameron, the results appeared to be a vindication after a campaign in which opinion polls consistently showed Labour running even with the Conservatives.
But even if the final results give him the ability to govern without a coalition partner, he will face immense challenges, not least in holding off calls from Scotland for independence and in managing pressure from within his own party for Britain to leave the European Union.
Cameron has promised to try to renegotiate terms of Britain’s membership in the 28-nation European bloc and to hold a referendum by the end of 2017 on whether Britain should remain in the European Union.
Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives are on track to govern Britain for another five years even though they are likely to fall just short of an outright majority at Thursday’s election, an exit poll showed.
The poll gave the Conservatives 316 of 650 seats in the lower house of parliament and the main opposition Labour Party 239. If accurate, that would be one of centre-left Labour’s worst ever results.
Conservative government minister Michael Gove said that if the exit poll proved correct “the Conservatives have clearly won this election”.
Such a result means Britain is likely to face a historic in-out European Union membership referendum in the next two years and that billions of pounds will be cut from government spending to eliminate the budget deficit in the world’s fifth largest economy.
Sterling jumped to a one-week high after the poll. The pound jumped nearly 2 U.S. cents to $1.5430 in early Australasian trade, hitting its strongest since April 30.
UK election exit polls have a good track record but the large number of parties competing this time has raised the potential for error. It will be well into Friday before final results are announced.
The poll, conducted for Britain’s national broadcasters, suggests Cameron will have multiple options to form a government, perhaps with the support of either the Liberal Democrats, his current coalition partners, or Northern Irish unionists or both. He could also try and go it alone.
Stunning Scottish Forecast
The same poll said the Scottish National Party (SNP) would win 58 of Scotland’s 59 seats, all but wiping Labour out in its former stronghold.
Opponents fear the SNP is preparing to use an emphatic win to renew its push for an independence referendum even though it lost such a plebiscite only last year.
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon said the exit poll’s prediction should be treated with huge caution. But even if the final tally is a little lower it would still be the nationalists’ best result in a UK-wide election by a huge margin.
The centrist Liberal Democrats, who have governed in coalition with the Conservatives for the past five years, will finish with just 10 seats, the exit poll said. If confirmed, that would represent a disaster for leader and deputy prime minister Nick Clegg.
The UK Independence Party, which wants an immediate British withdrawal from the EU and enjoyed a poll surge last year, was on track to get just two seats.
A separate poll of Britons who had already voted by YouGov extrapolated a more even result however, putting the Conservatives on 284 seats and Labour on 263, the Liberal Democrats on 31 and the Scottish Nationalists on 48.
Before the election, opinion polls had shown the Conservatives and Labour neck-and-neck, leaving that industry facing a potential inquest.
If the main exit poll is accurate, Cameron’s position as Conservative leader, which had been looking shaky before the election, would be secure. By exceeding expectations he could expect to quell dissent within his party.
Conversely, the result would be a crushing defeat for Labour and Ed Miliband, its leader.
Even if the centre-left party got together with the left-leaning Scottish nationalists and the Greens the exit poll suggested it would still be well short of the 326 seats needed for a majority in parliament.
Miliband, who was widely perceived to have performed better in the campaign than expected, would be likely to come under pressure to step down as leader.
The country’s mostly right-wing press has long criticised him for being socially-awkward and presiding over what it has described as a dangerous lurch to the left.
Cameron has pledged to eliminate Britain’s budget deficit, now running at 5 percent of gross domestic product, by 2018/19, including through cuts to welfare spending of 12 billion pounds.