Support plunges for UK's Liberal Democrats

2011-05-06 10:01

kalahari.com

London - Britain's Liberal Democrats slumped in local elections and were set to lose a referendum on electoral reform on Friday after voters punished the junior coalition party for its role in a deficit-cutting government.

Votes were being counted after regional and council polls held on Thursday, but early results showed support for the centre-left Liberal Democrats had plunged. Backing for the Conservatives, the largest coalition party, held up well.

In Scotland, the Scottish National Party (SNP) made big gains in elections to a devolved assembly, which could pave the way for a future referendum on Scottish independence to end a 300-year union with England.

Treasury minister and senior Liberal Democrat Danny Alexander said the British coalition, formed a year ago, would see through its austerity programme.

"Parties in government, in the mid-term, especially when you are having to make very difficult decisions, do suffer in local elections," Alexander told Sky News.

"That is disappointing but it means we just have to redouble our efforts to deliver on the plan that we have set out."

Coalition could split

The government has embarked on a programme of swingeing public spending cuts to rein in a record budget deficit.

A poor showing for the Liberal Democrats has raised the prospect that the coalition could split and derail the austerity programme, although most analysts still expect the coalition to soldier on.

Liberal Democrat popularity has plummeted since they formed a coalition with the centre-right Conservatives last year and created Britain's first coalition since World War Two.

This may spur challenges to party leader Nick Clegg, but senior Liberal Democrat Energy Secretary Chris Huhne told the BBC now was not the time to look for a new leader.

Ill-tempered spats between the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives in the run-up to Thursday's votes could make the work of cabinet more difficult but few expect either partner to force a split and risk propelling the opposition Labour party into government.

"The problem is the combination of a painless night for the Conservatives with an extremely painful one for their coalition partners," said Philip Cowley, Professor of Parliamentary Government at the University of Nottingham.

Predictions

"But there's no prospect of it ending soon. The Conservative leadership know that they'd not win an election outright on their own," he added.

Britons were also expected to reject a proposal to change the country's voting system in a referendum that was the main prize secured by the Liberal Democrats when they entered government after decades in the political wilderness.

In the first nationwide referendum for more than 30 years, Britons were asked whether they wanted to replace the first-past-the-post method of electing national politicians with an "alternative vote" system in which they could rank candidates in order of preference.

In Scotland, the BBC predicted 65 seats for the SNP in a 129 member parliament, a one seat majority that would allow it to push through plans for a referendum on Scottish independence. Party leader Alex Salmond has said he would delay such a move until later in a new five year term.

Read more on:    nick clegg  |  uk
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com 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
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Wednesday Newlands - 13:00 PM
    Road name: M3 Southbound
    SLOW TRAFFIC approaching the Newlands Avenue exit
  • Wednesday Bakoven - 12:59 PM
    Road name: Victoria Road Northbound
    DELAYS between Oudekraal and Bakoven
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Bold 9790

Bold Design The BlackBerry Bold 9790 smartphone combines the iconic BlackBerry...

From R2979.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may find yourself fascinated by something which could draw you in to obsessively exploring this subject in depth....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

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 24.com network.

Settings

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.