UK’s Cameron says coalition will defy doubters

UK’s Cameron says coalition will defy doubters
# 14 May 2010 22:00 (UTC +04:00)
Baku – APA. Britain’s ruling coalition partners will provide a strong, lasting, stable government that will take early action to cut the country’s record budget deficit, Prime Minister David Cameron said on Friday, APA reports quoting “Reuters”.
Cameron, who took power this week after 13 years of Labour rule, said he would be able to maintain his power-sharing deal with the smaller Liberal Democrats despite the pressing need for public spending cuts and tax rises.
Political rivals, analysts and even some within Cameron’s own center-right party have raised concerns the two sides’ political views are too far apart for the coalition to succeed.
But Cameron, who traveled on Friday to Scotland where his party has only a single lawmaker, said his alliance with the center-left Liberal Democrats would defy the skeptics and grow in strength during its scheduled five-year term.
"I think having a government that can last for five years with two parties who have put aside their differences for the national interest and the common good raises exciting possibilities for our whole nation of trying to solve our big challenges, confront our big problems and actually provide good, strong, stable government," he told reporters in Edinburgh.
Unlike many other European countries, Britain is not used to coalition governments -- this is its first since 1945 -- and the divisions between the main parties are deep and historic.
A former Conservative deputy prime minister, Michael Heseltine, predicted the inevitable spending cuts would cause "terrible strains" in the coalition.
"We are living in a false dawn," he was reported as saying in the Independent newspaper. "The sun is shining. It is not going to last very long ... there is a rocky road ahead."
The first signs of dissent surfaced over Cameron’s proposals to change the way parliament can vote to remove a government if it proves unpopular during its five-year term.
Under the plan, Britain would have fixed-term parliaments, ending the prime minister’s right to decide the timing of an election. Any vote on dissolving a parliament mid-term would need the support of at least 55 percent of lawmakers.
"I’m the first prime minister in British history to give up the right, unilaterally, to ask the queen for a dissolution of parliament. It is a big giving-up of power," Cameron said.
"If you want a fixed term parliament, you have to have a mechanism to deliver it."
Critics say the change is unconstitutional and would give the coalition too strong a grip on power as it has 56 percent of the seats in parliament.
The coalition’s most pressing task is to cut the budget deficit running at more than 11 percent of GDP.
Britain is emerging from the worst recession since World War Two but the new government is under pressure to reduce public spending and raise taxes to balance the books.
On Wednesday Bank of England governor Mervyn King backed the coalition’s fiscal plans but said urgent action was needed.
"The governor of the Bank of England this week gave the clearest possible sign that the dangers of inaction were much greater than the dangers of action," Cameron said.
"He said substantial action and some early action was essential. The advice for the treasury seems to be the same, that is why action should be proceeded with."
Finance minister George Osborne is expected to set out tax and spending plans in an emergency budget in the next few weeks.
New Foreign Secretary William Hague, a former Conservative leader who lost to Tony Blair in the 2001 election, will meet his U.S. counterpart Hillary Clinton in Washington.
"Our immediate priorities are making sure that we get to grips with Afghanistan and tackling nuclear proliferation (in) Iran," Hague told the Times newspaper.