Conservatives winning election, Cameron expected to form government

2015-05-08 08:03

London - British Prime Minister David Cameron appeared to be heading for a second term in office early on Friday as an exit poll and early results suggested his Conservative Party would win enough seats to form a minority government.

"This is clearly a very strong night for the Conservative Party," Cameron said as the exit poll showed the party on course to claim 316 seats in the 650-seat parliament.

"We've had a positive response to a positive campaign," he said in a victory speech as he held his Witney constituency.

After about two-thirds of ballots were counted some anlaysts said the Conservatives could come close to winning a surprise majority in parliament, after most pre-election polls had forecast no more than 285 seats for the party.

Labour leader Ed Miliband, whose party had been widely forecast to form a minority government supported by the Socttish National Party (SNP), said his party had suffered a "difficult and disappointing night."

"In Scotland, we've seen a surge of nationalism overwhelm our party," Miliband said in a brief victory speech as he held his Doncaster North seat.

Matthew Goodwin, a political analyst at the University of Nottingham, said "pretty much every forecaster got [the election] very, very wrong," if the exit poll was accurate.

30 million people

The early results showed a sharp rise in support for the right-wing UK Independence Party, although it was not expected to win more than two seats amid forecasts that party leader Nigel Farage could fail to win his seat in parliament.

The SNP was on course to win 58 of the 59 seats in Scotland.

The Conservatives' coalition partners over the last five years, the Liberal Democrats, said they faced "devastating" losses of seats.

The NOP/MORI exit poll put the Liberal Democrats on just 10 seats, down from 57 seats in 2010.

"It is now painfullly clear that his been a cruel and punishing night for the Liberal Democracts," party leader Nick Clegg said as he was one of the few members of parliament from his party to hold a seat.

The disastrous result for the Liberal Democrats makes another coalition highly unlikely.

Instead, analysts say, Cameron is likely to court support for a minority government from Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party.

The outcome of the election will determine Britain's economic direction and could have major implications for the country's welfare services, its relationship with the European Union - and even the future integrity of the country.

Cameron said the country "must hold" a promised referendum on EU membership and allow greater devolution for Scotland and Wales "as fast as we can."

Sunny weather in many areas on Thursday was expected to have boosted turnout to more than 70% of eligible voters, or some 30 million people, with a higher figure of about 75% forecast in Scotland.

In many areas outside London, voters Thursday elected nearly 10 000 members of 290 local councils.

Read more on:    eu  |  david cameron  |  ed miliband  |  uk  |  scotland  |  uk 2015 elections

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