Cameron faces voters after lacklustre campaign

2015-05-07 07:47
British Prime Minister David Cameron. (Peter Morrison, AP)

British Prime Minister David Cameron. (Peter Morrison, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

London - British Prime Minister David Cameron appears to face two thankless alternatives after Thursday's general election - losing his job aged 48, or leading a fractious government until he steps down.

Cameron's Conservatives have been virtually tied in opinion polls with Labour for months, confounding the party's expectations of a late boost in numbers.

Defeat would be a rare failure for a man whose privileged background has led to accusations from critics that he cannot identify with most Britons.

If the tennis and karaoke-loving prime minister does retain power, his next five years in office could be even harder than his last, which were dogged by controversy over austerity cuts to public services.

Bowing to the demands of his party, Cameron has promised a referendum on leaving the EU by 2017 if he wins but would face a struggle to renegotiate Britain's relationship with Brussels beforehand.

To top it off, he has also promised to step down as leader before the next election in 2020 and identified possible successors including London Mayor Boris Johnson, which could spark a leadership race.

Rapid rise to the top

The son of a stockbroker, Cameron was educated at the elite Eton College and Oxford University.

On graduating, he worked for the Conservatives as an advisor before a stint in public relations which ended when he was elected to parliament in 2001.

Rising swiftly, he was elected Conservative leader in 2005, aged 39.

Cameron prioritised the "detoxification" of what one of his leading ministers called "the nasty party" by avoiding traditional right-wing issues like immigration and stressing a more liberal agenda.

He posed with husky dogs at the North Pole to highlight his green credentials, while his respect for public services was underlined by the care his disabled son Ivan received from the state-run National Health Service (NHS).

Ivan, who had cerebral palsy and severe epilepsy, died aged six in 2009. Cameron and his wife Samantha have three surviving children.

At the 2010 election, Cameron became Britain's youngest prime minister for 200 years but the Conservatives did not win enough seats to govern alone.

Double-dip recession

Instead, they had to team up with the centrist Liberal Democrats for Britain's first coalition government since World War II.

At home, the coalition was defined by its unpopular spending cuts, while foreign policy was dominated by wrangling over Britain's role in the EU.

Abroad, following long military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan and amid defence cuts, Britain played a smaller role on the world stage.

Nevertheless, it looked like Cameron held most of the trump cards before the election campaign.

The coalition had led Britain out of a double-dip recession and the Conservatives built their campaign around their "long-term economic plan" for recovery.

He was also facing an opponent, Labour's Ed Miliband, whose geeky image jarred with voters.

Some experts attribute the Conservatives' inability to narrow the poll gap in the polls to Cameron's failure to complete the overhaul of the Conservatives' "nasty" image.

That failure could cost Cameron dear.

Read more on:    david cameron  |  uk  |  uk 2015 elections

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.