New Prime Minister Cameron vows to take on Britain’s ’deep and pressing problems’

New Prime Minister Cameron vows to take on Britain’s ’deep and pressing problems’
# 12 May 2010 01:49 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. As the Conservative leader takes over from Gordon Brown, he cites economic, social and political problems and says he plans to form a ’proper’ coalition with the Liberal Democrat party, APA reports quoting Los Angeles Times.
Conservative Party leader David Cameron became Britain’s new prime minister Tuesday, ending 13 years of Labor Party rule and opening the door to an unprecedented coalition government with the third-party Liberal Democrats.

After three days of negotiations between the parties, Cameron emerged from Buckingham Palace, where Queen Elizabeth II formally invited him to form a government. The Conservatives fell just short of a majority in last week’s election and sought the support of the Liberal Democrats to solidify their grip on power.

Cameron left the palace for the prime minister’s official Downing Street residence, which had been vacated by Gordon Brown, who stepped down as prime minister and Labor leader earlier Tuesday after failing in his own attempt to strike a deal with the Liberal Democrats.

Speaking outside Downing Street, Cameron said he aimed "to form a proper and full coalition" with the Liberal Democrats and their leader, Nick Clegg.

"Our country has a hung Parliament and some deep and pressing problems," Cameron said. He cited economic weakness and social stresses, as well as a political system in need of reform – a reference to the central demand of the Liberal Democrats for an electoral system that would more closely align a party’s voting strength with representation in Parliament.

Cameron said he and Clegg would have to set aside deep differences between the two parties on a variety of issues, including spending cuts and immigration.

Earlier in the day, Brown announced his resignation with wife Sarah at his side.

"It was a privilege to serve, and yes, I love the job [but] not for its prestige, its titles and its ceremony, which I do not love at all," Brown said. "No, I love the job for its potential to make this country I love fairer, more tolerant, more green, more democratic, more prosperous and more just, truly a greater Britain.

"I have always strived to serve, to do my best in the interest of Britain, its values and its people," he said.

His voice cracked as he thanked his wife and two sons.

The rise of the 43-year-old Cameron closes the door on 13 years of "New Labor," the centrist experiment and party makeover pioneered by Tony Blair. Brown, 59, served as Blair’s formidable No. 2 for a decade before inheriting the top job three years ago.

Later Tuesday, Cameron was expected to announce a power-sharing deal with the Liberal Democrats that would see the smaller, left-leaning party in government for the first time in decades. Cameron’s Cabinet is likely to include senior figures from the Liberal Democrats such as Clegg.

Clegg, who is the same age as Cameron, has been in the position of kingmaker since Thursday’s general election, which produced the first divided Parliament without a single-party majority in 36 years. The Liberal Democrats came in third but held the balance of power.

The expected coalition government is a marriage few would have foreseen only a few weeks ago and could yet prove unstable. The two parties diverge on many policy issues, but after five days of negotiations, they were near striking a bargain Tuesday that was acceptable to both sides.

Part of any deal probably would be movement on the Liberal Democrats’ key demand of reform to Britain’s electoral system, which tends to produce governments elected without a majority of the popular vote.

In exchange, the Conservatives, as the dominant partner, will probably be able to push through their agenda of spending cuts to rein in Britain’s runaway budget deficit.

Hopes of an alternative Labor-Liberal Democrat alliance flared Monday when Brown offered to step down from office by the fall, meeting a demand from Clegg and others. But talks between the two parties Tuesday apparently went nowhere.

Under the charismatic Blair, Labor won three elections. But Brown was unable to keep the momentum going after becoming prime minister when Blair stepped down in 2007.

Voter exhaustion after two wars, some parliamentary scandals and a harsh economic downturn led to a sound defeat at the polls for Labor.

Brown said he would step down immediately from his post as party leader and might leave politics altogether rather than remain a backbench member of Parliament.