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Cameron reaches out to Lib Dems with 'open and comprehensive offer'

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2010-05-07

Tory leader David Cameron made an offer to the Liberal Democrats to form a new government Friday, insisting that Labour PM Gordon Brown had lost the mandate to govern following Thursday's election.

UK General Election Results

Conservative: 306 seats
36.1% of the vote

Labour: 258 seats
29.1% of the vote

Liberal Democrats: 57 seats
23.0% of the vote

Seats needed for a majority: 326
649 of 650 seats declared

Britain’s opposition Conservatives said Friday they would try to form a government with the centrist Liberal Democrats after failing to secure an absolute majority in Thursday’s general election.

The tightest British general election in a generation has resulted in a hung parliament, sending both Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Conservative leader David Cameron after the Lib Dems as a potential partner in government.

The Tory leader – whose party won the most seats – announced he would make a “big open and comprehensive offer” to the Lib Dems. Mr. Cameron vowed to fix Britain’s “broken political system”, referring to the Lib Dems’ key demand for electoral reform.

Speaking outside his Downing Street residence earlier today, Gordon Brown said he accepted that Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg had the right to enter talks with Mr. Cameron first, but left the door open for potential negotiations between Labour and the Lib Dems.

Brown stressed the “common ground” shared by the two parties, and said he would speak to the Lib Dems if their talks with the Conservatives proved unsuccessful.

According to FRANCE 24’s correspondent in London, Benedict Paviot, however, an alliance between Labour and the Lib-Dems looks increasingly unlikely.

“Even if you add the Labour seats to the Liberal-Democrats seats, that’s not enough to get an absolute majority. So we’re looking at a possible Conservative–Liberal Democrat government right now”, said Paviot.

Political parties will try to reach an agreement before 25 May, when the Queen is due to formally open the new parliamentary session.

Market jitters

By 17.00 Paris time (GMT+2) the Tories held 305 seats, falling shy of the 326 needed with just 2 results left unconfirmed.

There has not been a hung parliament as a result of an election in Britain since 1974. Britain traditionally relies on a strong majority in the House of Commons to push through the political agenda of the day.

The prospect of the first inconclusive election in over three decades and uncertainty over would form the next government further troubled febrile financial markets.

The pound slumped to a 13-month low against the dollar, due also to turmoil on other exchanges. Results from the 650 seats rolled in against a backdrop of global market turmoil, following a surge sell-off on Wall Street and the fall-out from the Greek debt crisis.

 

Date created : 2010-05-07

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