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Europe

The three main parties vie for support ahead of May vote

Text by Julien PEYRON

Latest update : 2010-04-20

The three main UK political parties – the ruling Labour party, the opposition Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats – are now all on the campaign trail as Britain gears up for the general election on May 6th.

Britons are set to head to the polls on May 6, electing a Member of Parliament (MP) who will represent their constituency in the UK’s lower house, the House of Commons. After voting has finished, the party that has the majority of MPs goes on to form the government, which includes selecting the Prime Minister and forming a Cabinet. The UK local elections are set to take place on the same day.
 

 

 
The Labour Party led by Prime Minister Gordon Brown
In power for the past 13 years, Labour has lost much of its luster since the controversial decision of former Prime Minister Tony Blair to take a significant role in the US-led war in Iraq. Since Brown’s tenure began in 2007, Labour’s popularity has been further undermined by the financial crisis, and by a general ‘time for a change’ factor. But new polls give Labour some reason to hope, as they have watched the Conservatives’ lead diminishing week by week. The bookies deem it unlikely that Labour will continue to dominate parliament, putting the odds at five to one.
 
 
The Conservatives, under the new leadership of David Cameron
The Conservatives have been confined in the role of the opposition since the departure of their last prime minister, John Major, from Downing Street in 1997. Their new leader, David Cameron, presents himself as a modern politician who, while conservative, is also in tune with the challenges of the era, such as environmental issues. However, he has not managed to clearly define himself politically, and his inexperience could cost him the coveted post that seemed to be his destiny just a few months ago. Nevertheless, the Tories are the bookies’ favourites, with odds of nine to eight.  
 
 
The Liberal Democrats of Nick Clegg
The “Lib-Dems” could play a pivotal role in the next parliament if no clear majority emerges from the vote. Acting as a third column, the centre-left party could end up playing the part of referee as they consider whether to ally with the Tories or join Labour if there is a hung parliament. The bookies put their odds at 200 to one.

Date created : 2010-04-06

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