The General Election May 2010 Extracts fom the BBC’s website bbc.co.uk
Cameron is new UK Prime Minister
| Almost a week after the general election, the country finally has a new Prime Minister – David Cameron. The Conservative party leader moved into
10 Downing Street
on Tuesday evening, after accepting the Queen’s request to form a new government. After days of talks, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats struck a deal to work together. At last Thursday’s election, no party got enough votes to rule outright, resulting in a hung parliament.
He’s now hard at work putting together his new government – Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg will be his deputy. Four other Liberal Democrats will get posts in the cabinet.In his first speech as PM, Mr Cameron said: « Nick Clegg and I are political leaders who want to put aside party differences and work hard for the common good and national interest. » The deal was announced after Gordon Brown resigned on Tuesday evening.
UK – National seats at a glance ELECTIOn 2010
A party needed 326 seats to win an overall majority
|Democratic Unionist Party||8||-1|
|Scottish National Party||6||0|
Share OF THE VOTE
1. CON 36.1% 2. LAB 29.0%
3. LD 23.0% 4. Others 11.9%
A hung parliament is one in which no party has an overall majority, which means no party has more than half of MPs in the House of Commons. It means that whichever party ends up in power will not be able to win votes to pass laws without the support of members of other parties.
The general election in May 2010 created a hung parliament which means that one of the parties will either have to form a coalition or try to govern without an absolute majority by negotiating with other parties to get laws passed.
In the simplest terms, to get an absolute majority, a party would have needed to win 326 seats. The election results mean that no party can pass laws without support from other parties.
At a glance: General Election 2010 key stories
Britain has it first hung parliament since 1974
• The Conservatives are the largest party, but fall short of the 326 seats needed to form a majority government. • Labour loses more than 80 seats, and the Liberal Democrats fail to make gains.
• Voter turnout was 65.1% – up 4% from 2005. • The Electoral Commission is to investigate after hundreds of people across the country are prevented from voting due to huge queues as polling stations.
• The Green Party’s Caroline Lucas wins Brighton Pavilion, becoming the Green party’s first Westminster MP. • The British National Party increases its share of the vote – but win no seats. BNP Leader Nick Griffin comes third in Barking, east
Key members of the Cabinet of the Con-Lib Coalition go
David Cameron Nick Clegg George Osbourne Theresa May William Haig
Prime Minister Deputy PM Chancellor of the Exchequer Home Secretary Foreign Secretary
Who is David Cameron?
• He’s 43, was born in London and went to Eton school in
Berkshire. • David got into politics early on in life working for a Conservative MP when he was 19 before going to university where he read Politics, Philosophy and Economics at
• Elected Conservative Party leader in 2005, aged 39. He impressed the Conservative Party with his youthful dynamism and charisma, reportedly telling journalists he was the « heir to Blair ». • He’s the first Conservative Prime Minister for 13 years (the last one was John Major)
• He has sought to put the Conservatives at the centre ground of British politics. He ordered the party to end its obsession with
Europe and tried to reposition it as the party of the environment and the National Health Service, as well as recruiting more women and candidates from ethnic minorities. • He has portrayed himself as a “compassionate Conservative”.
• After the expenses scandal that rocked
Westminster he says he wants to clean up politics. • He’s the youngest prime minister in nearly 200 years.
|Family: Married to Samantha, with two children and baby on the way. First child Ivan died in 2009. Education: Eton and
Oxford (First in Philosophy, Politics and Economics)
1988: Conservative Research Department
1992: Treasury special adviser
1993: Home Office special adviser
1997: General election candidate, Stafford
2001: Elected MP for Witney, Oxfordshire
2003: Shadow deputy leader of the House, Tory vice-chairman
2005: Shadow education secretary, election campaign co-ordinator, wins party leadership
2010: Prime Minister
David Cameron: Life and times of new
UK prime minister
“I’m a practical person, and pragmatic. I know where I want to get to to, but I am not ideologically attached to one particular method”
“I’m going to be as radical a social reformer as Mrs Thatcher was an economic reformer”
Who is Nick Clegg?
Nick Clegg is the leader of the Liberal Democrat party, and even though they didn’t get many seats in the general election, he is deputy prime minister because his party has formed a coalition government with the Conservatives.
• He’s 43 and can speak five languages. • Nick is married to a Spanish lawyer, Miriam, has three sons and splits his time between his homes in Sheffield and
London, where his children go to school.
University and colleges in the US and
Belgium • Worked as a lecturer and journalist and then for the European Commission
• Became an Member of the European Parliament in 1999 • Became a Liberal Democrat MP for
Sheffield Hallam in 2005.
Europe Spokesman, then Home Affairs for the Liberal Democrats • Leader of the Liberal Democrats since 2007
• Has campaigned for civil liberties • Supports electoral reform
• Is pro-European • Has attempted to create a distance between the Lib Dems and the “old parties”
• Impressed the public in the first of the televised debates during the 2010 election • Since his decision to form a coalition government with the Conservatives, Clegg has had to adjust Lib Dem policy particularly on spending cuts to deal with the economic crisis.
Ed Miliband – the new leader of the Labour Party Adapted from bbc.co.uk
Ed Miliband beat older brother David, right, to the Labour leadership. He was elected leader at the end of September 2010.
ED MILIBAND – Some facts
- AGE: 40
- FAMILY: Lives with partner and young son
- BACKGROUND: North London Comprehensive school, read Philosophy, Politics and Economics atOxford
University, Climate and Energy Secretary under Gordon Brown
- POLICIES: Tax the rich, tackle inequality, rebuild British industry
- KEY SOUNDBITE: « I am not the candidate for the easy life »
- Has a reputation for being a “Brownite” (more on the left of the Labour Party) not a “Blairite” but he prefers to reject such labels. He also has spoken of the need to move beyond the Blair/Brown era.
- Ed called the 2003 invasion of
Iraq a « tragic error ».
- Was supported by the unions in the leadership campaign. One union leader said of him: « He understands the Labour Party needs to change and he is the best candidate to reconnect Labour with the concerns of ordinary working people.”
Britain? A Profile of MPs in the New Parliament
By Paul Hackett and Paul Hunter from the Smith Institute Taken from /www.smith-institute.org.uk/file/Who-Governs-Britain.pdf
“Parliament today better reflects the gender balance and is more ethnically diverse, but in terms of educational and vocational background the new political elite look remarkably like the old establishment. It is surprising how many of our MPs were privately educated, went to Oxbridge and worked in the professions, particularly Conservatives and Lib Dems. It seems that our Parliament is becoming less representative in terms of education and occupation, and continues to attract similar types of people from a rather narrow professional base”.
• The 2010 election witnessed a large influx of new MPs (35%).
• The average age of MPs has stayed roughly the same since 1992 (50 years). 61% of MPs are aged between 40 and 59 years.
• The gender balance of MPs has improved dramatically since the 1980s. In 1987 women made up 6% of all MPs, today it is 22% (one in five). It is noteworthy that up until the 2010 election most of the increase was accounted for by Labour MPs. However, the big shift in 2010 is in the number of Conservative women MPs which has risen from 9% in 2005 to 16%. The number of Lib Dem women MPs has fallen back to 14%.
• The number of ethnic minority MPs has risen from 15 in 2005 to 27, the largest ever increase. 4.1% of MPs are now from non-white backgrounds, compared with 2.3% in 2005 (around 8% of the total population are from non-white backgrounds). The number of ethnic minority Conservative MPs has risen from 2 to 11; and for Labour from 13 to 15. The Lib Dems are the only main party with no minority MPs.
• A remarkable 34% of MPs went to private schools (compared with a national average of around 7%). Around 54% of Conservative MPs; 41% Lib Dems; and 12% Labour MPs went to private schools.
• The overwhelming majority of MPs are university educated and nearly a quarter (24%) went to Oxford or
Cambridge (similar to 2005). Around 32% of Conservative MPs were from Oxbridge; 17% for Labour; and 26% for the Lib Dems.
• The occupational background of MPs continues to be ever more toward business, particularly finance, law, public affairs, and politics. However, there are major disparities between the parties. For example, 3% of Labour MPs have at some point worked in finance as compared with 27% for Conservatives. A similar picture emerges in regard to business where nearly a third of all Conservatives and Lib Dem MPs have worked in business occupations. An alternative trend emerges with the public and voluntary sector, which is dominated by Labour MPs. Politics, law and public affairs are more evenly spread among the MPs.