Cameron prepares to form Conservative government after election victory

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In an election suffused with historical and political significance, the Tories won 330 seats, four more than the 326 required for an overall majority, while Labour collapsed to 232, worse than its dismal 2010 performance. The result confounded a string of opinion polls that suggested Labour and the Conservatives were neck and neck, and that Britain was heading for a constitutional stalemate.

Cameron’s position means, paradoxically, that he is more reliant on the support of his backbenchers than in the last government, when the combined strength of the Tory-Lib Dem coalition meant he enjoyed a stronger majority in the Commons.

In Scotland, Labour found its citadel sacked, securing only one seat – Edinburgh South – in what had once been its heartland. The SNP took 56 of the 59 seats north of the border.

The Liberal Democrats were devastated across Britain, collapsing from 57 seats to eight. Its most senior ministerial figures, including Ed Davey, Danny Alexander, Simon Hughes, Vince Cable and David Laws were ejected by an electorate that had lost trust in Clegg’s party.

Speaking on the steps of Downing Street, Cameron promised to restore the Conservative party’s one-nation credentials and recommitted himself to holding an in-out European Union referendum by 2017. He has also promised to try to reach out to backbenchers, ending the sense of cliquishness around the leadership.

The prime minister said: “ I want my party, and I hope a government I would like to lead, to reclaim a mantle that we should never have lost – the mantle of one nation, one United Kingdom.”

He paid tribute to Miliband and Clegg, and adopted a more emollient tone than in the wake of the Scottish referendum last September, saying he wanted to bring together the nations of the United Kingdom.

“I have always believed in governing with respect.” This was why, he said, he had offered devolution to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. In Scotland his plan was “to create the strongest devolved government anywhere in the world with important powers over taxation”. Rather than dwelling on the rights of the English, he said: “No constitutional settlement will be complete if it did not also offer fairness to England.”

Cameron promised to rebalance the economic recovery and give the poorest people the chance of training for a job and hope for the future.

His triumph was largely built on a barrage of warnings that a minority Labour government propped up by the Scottish National party would threaten the economic recovery, and leave Miliband as prey to the demands of the SNP leader, Nicola Sturgeon.

In a day of often dignified and thoughtful concession speeches, Farage, thwarted in his attempt to become MP for Thanet South, said he was personally relieved by his defeat. He claimed his party, which finished second in a swath of constituencies in the north of England held by Labour, had become the party of young, working women.


Source:The guardian