Fri | Sep 22, 2017

UK election round-up - Conservatives win with slim majority

Published:Friday | May 8, 2015 | 5:25 AM
Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha leave 10 Downing Street in London on their way to Buckingham Palace to see Britain's Queen Elizabeth II Friday, May 8, 2015. British Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives have secured enough seats to form a government, with returns Friday backing an exit poll's prediction that Prime Minister David Cameron would remain in 10 Downing Street.

LONDON (AP)

1:15 p.m. (1215 GMT; 8:15 a.m. EDT)

Prime Minister David Cameron says he will form a majority Conservative government after securing a majority in the Britain's general election.

Cameron signaled a conciliatory tone after securing a majority, congratulating former coalition partner, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, and opposition leader Ed Miliband. He promised to govern as the party of "One nation, One United Kingdom."

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12:45 p.m. (1145 GMT; 7:45 a.m. EDT)

Prime Minister David Cameron has won an absolute majority in Britain's Parliamentary elections, taking 326 of the possible 650 seats up for grabs in the House of Commons.

A win in the Cotswolds constituency in western England announced in the early afternoon took the Conservatives past the threshold.

The stunning result comes after polls predicted for weeks that the race between the Conservatives and the opposition Labour Party would be a dead heat.

Cameron went Friday afternoon to Buckingham Palace, where he is expected to tell Queen Elizabeth II that he has enough support to form a government.

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12:20 p.m. (1120 GMT; 7:20 a.m. EDT)

Ed Miliband, the leader of Britain's Labour Party, says he will step down after a worse-than-expected result in the election.

The party lost dozens of seats to the separatist Scottish National Party, which took almost all of the 59 seats in Scotland.

Speaking to party members who cheered in support, Miliband said Friday he wanted to resign straight away so that the party can rebuild itself.

With 641 of 650 seats counted, Labour has 229 seats, finishing well below the 258 seats secured five years ago by former leader and ex-Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

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11:45 a.m. (1045 GMT; 6:45 a.m. EDT)

Nick Clegg has resigned as leader of Britain's Liberal Democrats after a disastrous result for his party in the election.

Clegg said he must take responsibility for the party's losses, which he described as much more crushing that he expected.

The Liberal Democrats, the Conservatives' junior coalition partner, lost most of the seats they held in Parliament. Many of their most senior and experienced politicians lost their seats.

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11:40 a.m. (1040 GMT; 6:40 a.m. EDT)

Nigel Farage has resigned as leader of the populist U.K. Independence Party after failed to win a seat in the U.K. parliamentary election.

Farage, who had earlier promised to resign if he lost, told activists "I'm a man of my word."

But he raised the prospect he would consider running again in the future.

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11:30 a.m. (1030 GMT; 6:30 a.m. EDT)

British Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservatives have secured enough seats to form a majority government.

Results from Thursday's election show that the Conservatives won at least 324 of the House of Commons' 650 seats, enough to form a slim majority government.

The Conservatives are ahead of their main rival, the Labour Party, which lost dozens of seats to the separatist Scottish National Party.

The win makes Cameron the first Conservative prime minister to win a second term since Margaret Thatcher.

Cameron stopped just short of declaring overall victory earlier Friday, saying he hoped to govern "one nation, one United Kingdom" if he was fortunate enough to continue as prime minister.

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10:40 a.m. (0940 GMT; 5:40 a.m. EDT)

The United Kingdom Independence Party leader, Nigel Farage, has lost his bid to win a seat in Parliament and could resign despite his right-wing party's surge to third in the popular vote nationwide.

Farage finished second to Conservative Party candidate Craig Mackinlay, a former UKIP activist, in the South Thanet constituency east of London as results were announced Friday.

Before the result, Farage had pledged to quit as UKIP leader if he failed to win the seat. He decried the British electoral system's use of winner-takes-all constituencies. UKIP received nearly 3.8 million votes, but finished second or third in dozens of districts.

Farage said before the result: "The system is bust. You've got a first-past-the-post system where we clearly become the third party in Britain but get hardly any seats."

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9:25 a.m. (0825 GMT; 4:25 a.m. EDT)

With Prime Minister David Cameron on the brink of a majority for another five years of Conservative government in the U.K, markets seemed buoyed by prospect of avoiding weeks of political wrangling for power.

Mark Dampier, head of investment research at Hargreaves Lansdown stockbrokers, says that "business as usual might be the order of the day from this election result.

But markets are likely to be concerned over the next two years about the prospect of a referendum on whether or not to leave the European Union.

HSBC economists Simon Wells and Liz Martins say a referendum on EU membership by end-2017 now seems much more likely.

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8:55 a.m. (0755 GMT; 3:55 a.m. EDT)

Prime Minister David Cameron's office says he is going to Buckingham Palace later Friday to see Queen Elizabeth II.

Downing Street says that will take place at 12:30p.m. (1130 GMT).

He is expected to tell her that he has enough support in Parliament to form a government.

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8:45 a.m. (0745 GMT; 3:45 a.m. EDT)

Another big Labour figure has fallen in U.K. national elections, as the party's Treasury spokesman, Ed Balls, lost his seat in northern England to the Conservatives by 422 votes.

Had Labour won, Balls would have been finance minister.

He said that "any personal disappointment I have at this result is as nothing as compared to the sense of sorrow I have at the result Labour has achieved ... and the sense of concern I have about the future."

Balls said Britain faces "five years where questions will arise about the future of our union, about whether we can stay as a member of the European Union and fight for jobs and investment, whether we can make sure we secure our National Health Service at a time when public spending is cut."

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8:35 a.m. (0735 GMT; 3:35 a.m. EDT)

British voters are reacting with surprise as they wake to the news that Prime Minister David Cameron may headed toward a Parliamentary majority. Polls have been showing a virtual dead heat in the race, and many expected weeks of wrangling over who would be in power.

Account manager Nicky Kelly-Lord, 38, is among those startled by the result. "I thought it would be closer," she says.

But some, like project manager Jonathan Heeley, 42, thought of it as inevitable that a country dealing with the wake of the 2008 financial crisis would be anxious to keep the economic recovery going. Heeley says, "the country's rebuilding itself and people want to stay with that, that's my opinion."

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7:55 a.m. (0655 GMT, 2:55 a.m. EDT)

All night, famous political faces and household names in Britain had to stand on stages at vote counting centers to hear they had lost their seats in Parliament.

Douglas Alexander, who directed the opposition Labour's campaign and would have been Britain's foreign secretary if they had won, was defeated by a 20-year-old student from the Scottish National Party.

The Liberal Democrats suffered the worst, as almost their entire top team — many of them government ministers — was felled. Casualties included Business Secretary Vince Cable, chief secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander, Energy Secretary Ed Davey and high-profile lawmakers Lynne Featherstone and Simon Hughes.

"This has been a terrible night for our party all over," Cable said. "But I am absolutely sure that we are going to bounce back."

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg kept his own seat but was meeting with colleagues Friday to figure out whether he will resign.

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7:45 a.m. (0645 GMT, 2:45 a.m. EDT)

All seats in Scotland have been counted in Britain's latest vote, making clear the scale of the landslide by the Scottish National Party, which captured 56 of the region's 59 seats.

That was a gain of 50 seats over the nationalists' previous six seats in the 650-seat House of Commons.

The opposition Labour Party lost 40 seats in Scotland. The result left the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats with just one seat each in Scotland.

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7:20 a.m. (0620 GMT, 2:20 a.m. EDT)

With 568 of 650 constituencies reporting results Friday morning in Britain's parliamentary election, the Conservatives were leading with 269 seats, according to election officials.

The opposition Labour Party has won 214 seats and the Scottish National Party 55. Eight seats have gone to the Democratic Unionists in Northern Ireland and to the Liberal Democrats, and the U.K. Independence Party has earned one seat. Thirteen seats went to other smaller parties.

An exit poll has predicted that the Conservatives will be the top party in Thursday's vote and the chief pollster says the Conservatives may even capture a majority of the 650 seats in the House of Commons.

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7 a.m. (0600 GMT, 2 a.m. EDT)

With 508 of 650 constituencies reporting results Friday morning in Britain's parliamentary election, the Conservatives were leading with 222 seats, according to election officials.

The opposition Labour Party has won 203 seats and the Scottish National Party 55. Eight seats have gone to the Democratic Unionists in Northern Ireland, while the Liberal Democrats won six seats and the U.K. Independence Party earned one. Thirteen seats went to other smaller parties.

An exit poll has predicted that the Conservatives will be the top party in Thursday's vote, winning 316 of the 650 seats in the House of Commons.

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6:40 a.m. (0540 GMT, 1:40 a.m. EDT)

Labour leader Ed Miliband has acknowledged that his party is facing likely defeat in Britain's general election.

He says "This has clearly been a very disappointing and difficult night for the Labour Party."

Miliband won his own Doncaster North seat, but Labour looks set to win fewer than the 256 seats it held before the election. It has been all but wiped out in Scotland, a former stronghold, as voters defected in droves to the Scottish National Party.

Miliband said "we haven't made the gains that we'd wanted in England and Wales and in Scotland we have seen a surge of nationalism overwhelm our party."

He said whoever is prime minister in the next government would face the challenge of uniting Britain after a divisive campaign.

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