United Kingdom

Cameron hails 'historic' coalition

Reuters
5 min

British Prime Minister David Cameron has said the new coalition government could mark a “seismic shift” in politics that will take the country in a “historic new direction.” Cameron was speaking as he launched a joint policy programme with the Liberal Democrat leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.

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The programme makes cutting the country’s deficit a priority and also includes pledges to introduce a banking levy and not to join the euro currency.

The Conservatives joined forces with Britain’s third-largest party to form a government after Lib Dem talks with Labour broke down. Outgoing prime minister Gordon Brown then resigned from politics after conceding that 13 years of Labour rule had come to an end.

“We are announcing a new politics, a new politics where the national interest is more important than the party interest,” Cameron told reporters outside Downing Street on Wednesday.

Comment: Former Labour MP Tony Benn

“It can be a historic and seismic shift in our political leadership. Our liberal-conservative government will take Britain in a historic new direction.”

Former Labour minister Tony Benn had a word of warning for the centrist Lib Democrats, however, who are ideologically closer to Labour than the Conservatives.

“I think it’s a great risk for the Liberal party to throw their lot in with the Conservatives,” he told RFI. “One thing the Conservatives are very keen on is very substantial cuts in public expenditure, which will mean rising unemployment and could drive us back into the recession.

“I think if they do make cuts and raise unemployment, the trade union movement will be very strongly opposed and so will the Labour Party. The Liberals will find themselves caught up with right-wing policies, which is something they have always denied that they believed in.”

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