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Amid uncertainty on new leader, UK goes to polls

Published May 7, 2015, 7:02 am IST
Updated Mar 29, 2019, 6:37 am IST
London: Britain’s political leaders launched their last day of campaigning on Wednesday for the most unpredictable election in living memory which could yield no clear winner and weeks of haggling over the next government. With neither Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives nor Ed Miliband’s Labour expected to win a majority on Thursday and smaller parties on the rise, the election could also confirm a shift to a fragmented style of politics more familiar in other parts of Europe.
A Conservative win would raise the risk of Britain exiting the European Union because Cameron has promised a referendum on membership, while some business leaders and investors have warned Labour could be bad for the economy. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, leader of the centrist Liberal Democrats who have been in coalition with the Conservatives for the last five years, has even suggested there could be another election this year. Cameron and Miliband, whose parties are virtually tied in opinion polls, have both embarked on frenetic tours of the country in a last-minute scramble for votes. “This has been a remarkable election,” Professor Tony Travers of the London School of Economics said, predicting that it would lead to some form of multi-party government “probably less stable than the one that formed in 2010.” 
Both Cameron and Miliband insist they are still fighting for a clear majority in the 650-seat House of Commons which would let them govern alone but attention is increasingly turning to alliances they could make with smaller parties. Cameron told the BBC: “People know with me that in 2010, we didn’t win a majority, I put the country first, I formed the first coalition government for 70 years because I wanted to provide strong and stable government for Britain.”   His Conservatives look well placed to team up again with Clegg’s Liberal Democrats, assuming the Liberal Democrat leader can hold on to his own, tightly fought seat in Sheffield, northern England.


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