Cameron claims absolute majority in UK Parliament
May 8, 2015 05:35 pm
Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative Party swept Friday to an unexpectedly strong election victory, making big gains at the expense of rivals in a vote that reshapes the political landscape.
Cameron’s effective majority gives him the right to govern without a coalition partner, which has party has had to do since 2010, and pushes out a generation of big-name politicians from the Labour and Liberal Democrat parties.
But it also forces major challenges on him. The pro-independence Scottish National Party emerged as a big force in British politics, presenting a strengthened challenge in keeping the U.K. together. Cameron must also deliver on his promise to hold a referendum on the country’s membership in the European Union.
The Conservatives’ showing would be a far different result than the dead heat predicted in months of pre-election surveys.
With the bulk of the 650 Parliament seats having declared Friday, the state-owned British Broadcasting Corp. projected the Conservatives could win as many as 329 seats, giving Mr. Cameron a slim majority in Parliament. The Labour Party was projected to take 233 seats.
“This is the sweetest victory of them all,” Cameron told party workers. “The pollsters got it wrong, the pundits got it wrong.”
The sterling currency, bonds and shares surged on a result that reversed expectations of an inconclusive “hung parliament” in which Cameron would have had to jockey for power with Labour rival Ed Miliband.
Instead, Cameron was due to meet Queen Elizabeth before noon to accept a swift mandate to form a government. The royal standard was raised at Buckingham Palace to signal the queen was there awaiting him.
“This is the sweetest victory of all,” he told enthusiastic supporters at party headquarters. “The real reason to celebrate tonight, the real reason to be proud, the real reason to be excited is we are going to get the opportunity to serve our country again.”
Miliband was expected to step down as Labour leader. He said on Twitter: “The responsibility for the result is mine alone.”