Britain to switch to Conservative rule as Brown quits

May 12th, 2010 - 2:31 am ICT by IANS  

Gordon Brown London, May 12 (DPA) British Prime Minister Gordon Brown resigned Tuesday after his ruling Labour party failed to form a government following last week’s general election.

Brown’s resignation ends 13 years of Labour government and is set to usher in a new Conservative-led government under David Cameron.

Cameron, 43, was expected to lead a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats, but details of a possible deal struck with the Liberals were not immediately known.

Brown, 59, became prime minister in 2007. He had previously been Britain’s chancellor of the exchequer for 10 years.

He said his resignation as Labour leader, which he announced Monday, would also come into immediate effect.

“I loved the job, not for its prestige, its titles and its ceremony, which I do not love at all,” Brown said in his resignation speech outside Downing Street.

Flanked by his wife, Sarah, he said he would now return to his “first job in life”, being a “husband and a father”.

He was then driven, with his wife and their two young sons, to Buckingham Palace to tender his resignation to Queen Elizabeth II.

Soon afterwards, Cameron, 43, and his wife, Samantha, were expected to make the same journey for him to be appointed Britain’s first Conservative prime minister since 1997.

The traditional change-of-power ceremony followed five days of high political drama, resulting from last Thursday’s inconclusive general election, which gave neither of the two big parties an outright majority.

As a result, Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader and new “kingmaker” of British politics, had offered both sides talks about a new government.

He chose to negotiate first with the Conservatives, which emerged as the biggest party from the election. But neither they nor the Labour Party won an outright majority.

However, Labour, which suffered heavy losses, had also been keen to strike a deal with the Lib Dems that would have enabled it to stay in power.

But it became clear earlier Tuesday that the Lib-Lab talks had not come to a successful conclusion, with the economy and civil liberties named as main stumbling blocks.

In what increasingly looked like a game of political poker, the momentum of the negotiations then swung back firmly to the Conservatives, who resumed talks with the Lib Dems Tuesday afternoon.

But even though the Liberals and the Conservatives have less in common politically than the Liberals and Labour, Clegg clearly felt that he could strike a deal with Cameron.

Liberal demands for electoral reform have also been a key part of the talks.

While Labour promised immediate legislation on voting reform and a referendum on proportional representation, the Conservatives pledged a referendum.

If the Conservatives and Liberals were to strike an agreement on governmental cooperation, they would have a clear majority of 363 seats in the 650-seat House of Commons.

All parties stressed the need for a “stable government” to emerge from the negotiations at a time of deep economic uncertainty in Britain and Europe.

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