Cameron Re-elected, Pledges A ‘Greater Britain’
DAVID Cameron yesterday promised to lead a government for “one nation” and make “Great Britain greater” as he returned to Downing Street as Prime Minister.
Speaking outside No 10 Downing Street after visiting Buckingham Palace, he said the UK was “on the brink of something special”.
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reported that the Conservatives have 330 seats, four more than needed for a Commons majority, their first such victory since 1992.
Mr Cameron’s rivals Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage have all resigned after election disappointment. The Conservative leader is now beginning the process of putting together the new government, with senior Cabinet appointments expected to be announced later yesterday.
Mr Cameron said he would reach out to all parts of the UK and strive to “bring the country together” in the wake of the SNP’s election landslide in Scotland where it won 56 of the 59 seats.
He said: “We will govern as a party of one nation, one United Kingdom. That means ensuring this recovery reaches all parts of our country, from north to south, to east to west.”
He added that he would press ahead with devolution of powers to all nations as well as referendum on the UK’s EU membership.
“I have always believed in governing with respect,” he said. “That’s why in the last parliament we devolved power to Scotland and Wales, and gave the people of Scotland a referendum on whether to stay inside the United Kingdom.
“This has been an election which may have more profound consequences than almost any in living memory. We now face a generational decision about our future in Europe, with an EU referendum in two years’ time almost certain.
“There will also be serious questions about the future of the Union, following an SNP landslide that has turned Scotland into a virtual one-party state. In this parliament, I will stay true to my word and implement as fast as I can the devolution that all parties agreed for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.”
George Osborne, who is expected to remain as Chancellor, said the Conservatives had been “given a mandate to get on with the work we started five years ago” and would follow the “clear instructions” of the British public.
Speaking in London, Mr Miliband said he had phoned David Cameron to congratulate him on his victory.
He said he would step down as leader with immediate effect after Labour lost nearly 48 seats, adding that deputy leader, Harriet Harman would succeed him pending a leadership contest.
Labour, he said, needed an “open and honest debate about the way forward without constraints. “I am truly sorry that I did not succeed,” he told party supporters. “I have done my best for five years.”
He added: “Britain needs a strong Labour Party. Britain needs a Labour Party that can rebuild after this defeat. We have come back before and we will come back again.”
Announcing his own exit as leader after more than seven years, Mr Clegg said the results – which saw his party reduced from 57 to eight seats – were the most “crushing blow” to the Liberal Democrats since they were formed in the late 1980s.