Weird Election, Indeed: Surprises Abound in UK

Conservative Party sweeps to power
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 8, 2015 3:38 AM CDT
Updated May 8, 2015 6:49 AM CDT
Conservatives Headed for Surprise Win in UK
Labour Party leader Ed Miliband waits to speak as results are announced in Britain's general election in Doncaster, England, today.   (AP Photo/Jon Super)

(Newser) – The Conservative Party swept to power today in Britain's Parliamentary elections, winning a wholly unexpected and resounding victory and bringing the election to a much-quicker-than-expected conclusion. Polls ahead of Election Day showed Conservatives locked in a tight race with the opposition Labour Party, raising the possibility of days or weeks of negotiations to form a government. Instead, the party won an outright majority, taking 326 of 650 seats. But as Prime Minister David Cameron returns to 10 Downing Street in a stronger position than before, a trio of big names are out: Labour Party leader Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg of the Liberal Democrats, and Independence Party leader Nigel Farage have resigned in the election's wake. More:

  • Line of the night, from Cameron: "I want my party, and I hope a government that I would like to lead, to reclaim a mantle that we should never have lost—the mantle of one nation, one United Kingdom."
  • CNN runs down the implications of the Conservative Party win. Two big ones: Expect to start reading the word "Brexit" much more often, with Cameron having vowed to hold a 2017 referendum on whether the UK should remain a part of the EU. And could Scotland leave Britain? CNN presents the possibility, noting that the Scottish National Party's victory was a staggering one, with it taking 56 out of the 59 UK parliamentary seats in Scotland. CNN points to "rumblings in the British press" that such an SNP victory could spur yet another referendum, this one in 2016, on a split.
  • The view from Michael Wolff: "It might be argued that the Cameron government's campaign last year to defeat the referendum for Scottish independence helped propel the popularity of the SNP, which in turn undermined the Labour Party's traditional strength in Scotland, thereby helping to [ensure] the Tory victory," he writes in USA Today.
  • Interesting side-reading: The biggest loser of the night? Russell Brand.
  • Among the night's most fascinating victors: Mhairi Black, who becomes the UK's youngest lawmaker since 1667.
(Read more Britain stories.)

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