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May 9, 2015

Conservatives win majority in 2015 UK general election

Conservatives win majority in 2015 UK general election

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Saturday, May 9, 2015

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David Cameron is to continue being Prime Minister of the UK after his Conservative Party won a majority of seats in a general election on Thursday. Although the party led a Coalition government it formed alongside the Liberal Democrats after the previous general election in 2010, this is the first time the party has won an overall majority since 1992.

Cquote1.svg Our manifesto is a manifesto for working people and as a majority government, we will be able to deliver all of it. Indeed, it is the reason why I think majority government is more accountable Cquote2.svg

David Cameron

Across the UK, Conservatives won 331 seats out of the 650 available, an increase of 24 on their 2010 total. The Labour Party, which won 258 seats in 2010, now has 232. The Liberal Democrats experienced the heaviest number of seat losses, dropping from 57 to eight. Amongst the Liberal Democrat figures to lose seats were David Laws, Charles Kennedy, Simon Hughes, Jo Swinson, Lynne Featherstone and Jenny Willott. Liberal Democrats leader Nick Clegg said while “fear and grievance have won, liberalism has lost”.

Although UKIP and the Greens each only won one seat, their national vote share increased by 9.5% to 12.6% and by 2.8% to 3.8%, respectively; this compares to 7.9% for the Liberal Democrats, 30.4% for Labour and 36.9% for Conservatives. Statistics reported by the BBC suggest the voting turnout was 66.1%, based on an electorate of approximately 46.4 million.

The bulk of Conservative seat increases occurred in England, where their seat total increased by 21 to 319 out of a possible 533. Labour’s seat count here increased by 15 to 206, while the Liberal Democrats dropped from 43 seats to six. The final results defied opinion polls, which had broadly suggested Labour and Conservatives were tied for the lead. An independent inquiry is set to be conducted into opinion polling accuracy in the UK, given they had appeared to underestimate the Conservatives’ success and/or overestimate Labour’s results.

“I truly believe we are on the brink of something special in our country”, David Cameron said in a speech yesterday. “We can make Britain a place where a good life is in reach for everyone who is willing to work and do the right thing. Our manifesto is a manifesto for working people and as a majority government, we will be able to deliver all of it. Indeed, it is the reason why I think majority government is more accountable.” In highlighting what a Conservative government would set out to achieve, he said it would include “Three million apprenticeships, more help with childcare, helping 30 million people cope with the cost of living by cutting their taxes, building homes that people are able to buy and own, creating millions more jobs that give people the chance of a better future and yes, we will deliver that in-out referendum on our future in Europe.” He went on to talk about new powers the UK Government had and would devolve to regional administrations in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. For the latter, he said, “our plans are to create the strongest devolved government anywhere in the world with important powers over taxation.”

In Scotland, the Scottish National Party (SNP) made the largest gains of any party in the UK, increasing from six seats to 56 seats out of a possible 59, the highest number they have ever had, based on a Scotland vote share of approximately 50%. The number of constituencies held by Labour and Liberal Democrats there decreased from 41 and 11, respectively, to one for each of them, with the Conservatives staying at one seat. SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, who said this result had surpassed her expectations, said “the tectonic plates of Scottish politics [have] shifted”. Sturgeon also stated that the SNP would “work with others across the UK, to try to get more progressive politics at the heart of Westminster”. One seat, Glasgow North East, experienced a record swing of 39% from Labour to the SNP. On top of that, 20-year-old student and SNP candidate Mhairi Black became the youngest MP to be elected in the UK since 1667.

In Wales, Conservatives went up from eight to eleven of a possible 40 seats. Labour achieved 25, down one from 2010; the Liberal Democrats went down two to one seat and Plaid Cymru remained at three seats. In Northern Ireland, most of the 18 constituencies did not change hands. However, Sinn Féin went down one to four seats, while the Alliance Party lost their one seat. The Ulster Unionist Party, who did not win any seats in the last general election, won two seats this time.

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls was one of the high profile losses for Labour, having lost his seat to the Conservatives by a narrow 422-vote margin. Numerous Liberal Democrats who were previously government ministers, including Ed Davey, Vince Cable and Danny Alexander, all lost their seats. In the wake of the results, Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage all announced they would resign from their roles as the leaders of Labour, Liberal Democrats and UKIP, respectively. Farage had said he would stand down as leader if he did not win the seat of Thanet South, which he did not, but said yesterday he was considering whether or not to stand in a leadership election for the party later this year. Clegg described the situation for his party as “a very dark hour for our party”. He blamed the large loss of Liberal Democrat MPs on “forces beyond their control”, describing the situation as “simply heartbreaking”. Meanwhile, Miliband said “I have done my best for nearly five years” and that “Britain needs a Labour Party that can rebuild after this defeat”. Harriet Harman — the current deputy leader — is to serve as interim leader until a new Labour leader is selected. Harman also intends to resign the deputy leadership.

Tom Watson, Labour MP for West Bromwich East, said he is considering running for Labour deputy leader. “I’ve always thought that the deputy leader role is the campaigning role”, he said. “We’ve got a mayoral election in Tower Hamlets to fight in six weeks’ time. Who knows, we might even have a by-election for London mayor. So this party has got to keep campaigning whilst we try and understand what’s gone on in the general election.”

Meanwhile, Cameron has begun to appoint members of his new cabinet, announcing George Osborne, Theresa May, Philip Hammond and Michael Fallon are to retain their posts as Chancellor of the Exchequer, Home Secretary, Foreign Secretary and Defence Secretary, respectively.

David Cameron, Conservative Party leader and Prime Minister. Image: Land of Hope and Glory.

David Cameron, Conservative Party leader and Prime Minister.
Image: Land of Hope and Glory.

Ed Miliband, outgoing Labour Party leader. Image: Department of Energy.

Ed Miliband, outgoing Labour Party leader.
Image: Department of Energy.

Nick Clegg, outgoing Liberal Democrats leader. Image: World Economic Forum.

Nick Clegg, outgoing Liberal Democrats leader.
Image: World Economic Forum.

Nigel Farage, outgoing UKIP leader. Image: Nigel Farage.

Nigel Farage, outgoing UKIP leader.
Image: Nigel Farage.

Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish National Party leader and Scottish First Minister. Image: Scottish Government.

Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish National Party leader and Scottish First Minister.
Image: Scottish Government.



Related articles

  • “Labour grabs poll lead in UK General Election campaign” — Wikinews, April 10, 2015
  • “UK elections: Hung parliament, Cameron to negotiate with Liberal Democrats” — Wikinews, May 7, 2010
  • 2010 UK general election results” — Wikinews, May 6, 2010

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April 10, 2015

Labour grabs poll lead in UK General Election campaign

Labour grabs poll lead in UK General Election campaign

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Friday, April 10, 2015

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Labour leader Ed Miliband.
Image: Department of Energy.

The approval ratings of UK Labour leader Ed Miliband rose above those of his Conservative opponent, David Cameron, for the first time in this year’s bitterly fought general election campaign. The poll results showed support for the Labour Party was also rising.

A poll by Panelbase yesterday showed Labour six points ahead; a similar survey by Survation for the Daily Mirror showed Labour four points ahead of the Conservatives. This latter poll was mixed for the Labour leader as it showed only 25% of voters were convinced Miliband was suited to the job of Prime Minister while 37% preferred David Cameron, but it also shows that people preferred Miliband’s recent conduct as party leader to Cameron’s. A poll by TNS found a three point lead for Labour.

ComRes polling indicated the eventual outcome of the election is too close to call, projecting the Conservatives with 34% of the vote and Labour 33%.

Following the poll results, the Conservative Party fired a volley of negative remarks towards Labour. Defense secretary Michael Fallon said Ed Miliband would end up signing up for “a grubby backstairs deal” with the Scottish National Party (SNP) which would lead to the cancellation or non-renewal of the Trident nuclear submarine programme. The Labour Party have stated they support the continuation of Trident and will not negotiate on Trident with the SNP.

Fallon’s comments on Trident were backed up by David Cameron.

The Labour Party counter-claimed a deal between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats had put the cost of Trident renewal up by £1.4bn.

Miliband responded to Fallon’s comments: “Michael Fallon is a decent man, but today I think he has demeaned himself and he has demeaned his office. National security is too important to play politics with and I will never compromise national security.”

Former Labour leader Tony Blair said Fallon’s remarks hinted at desperation: “The Tories were up to their old tricks in their personal attack on Ed this morning. I remember the ‘demon eyes’ poster of 1997. It is always a sign of desperation and it will backfire. It shows how nervous they are of a Labour campaign full of confidence, which is showing that it understands the challenges facing working people and how to overcome them. The more they indulge in these tactics the better we should feel.”

Liberal Democrat Vince Cable expressed his displeasure at Fallon’s remarks, saying it was “an appalling way to conduct the argument”.

The two main parties have also proposed a number of new ideas for policy. Labour’s Yvette Cooper is to formally announce a new policy today to protect 10,000 police officers’ jobs by eliminating elected Police and Crime Commissioners and gun licensing subsidy, and sharing of police back-office services and procurement. The Labour crime and justice manifesto also includes creating a new commission on sexual and domestic violence, banning “legal highs“, and reforming prisons to introduce more education and work for prisoners.

Conservative Cameron pre-announced a proposal to change the rules so workers in the public sector and for companies with 250 employees or more — which between the two is estimated to be around half the work force — would be entitled to three days of paid volunteering leave per year. In prepared remarks, Cameron is to call the move represents the “clearest demonstration of the Big Society in action”. This marks a return of the language of the ‘Big Society’ which had slowly disappeared from use since the last election.



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July 3, 2014

Unite union tell UK Labour to offer EU referendum

Unite union tell UK Labour to offer EU referendum

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The British trade union Unite voted yesterday to ask the Labour Party to offer a referendum on Britain’s continued membership in the European Union as part of its election promises, and said failing to do so would make Labour’s electoral success a “hostage to fortune”. The shadow chancellor, Ed Balls, has ruled out such a move as “silly”.

Unite’s general secretary Len McCluskey said of the motion passed by the union: “It calls on Labour not to box itself in on the referendum question. This issue has bedevilled British politics for decades. For much of that time it has been the Tories who have had to deal with divisions in their ranks over Europe. But the next general election will be different. Both UKIP and the Tories will be offering a referendum on the issue of Britain’s membership.”

McCluskey accused Labour of being in a position where “ducking this question is seen as part of Labour’s commitment to business”.

McCluskey also said: “We do not seek a referendum to take Britain out of the EU. We seek a referendum rethink in order to help get Labour into power here in Britain. Without such a pledge our party will stand exposed. UKIP will be strengthened in some key constituencies. The Tories will hypocritically charge Labour with being anti-democratic.”

Balls responded on the BBC programme Newsnight: “That would be a silly thing for us to say. We made a very clear commitment: if there is any proposal in the next parliament for a transfer of powers to Brussels [the EU] we will have an in/out referendum.

“We are not proposing a referendum now because we think to spend two or three years blighting investment and undermining our economy on the prospect of a referendum which David Cameron says he is going to have after he gets an unknown package of reforms would be bad for jobs and investment.

“If Len McCluskey is supporting the David Cameron position, I disagree with Len McCluskey.”

At Prime Minister’s Questions, Conservatives had fun at the expense of Labour leader Ed Miliband and the perceived division in Labour ranks over Europe. Conservative MP Sir Tony Baldry joked: “In the ’83 general election, a 13-year-old boy delivered leaflets around my constituency pledging that [then-Labour MP] Michael Foot would take Labour out of the European Union. Does my right hon[ourable] Friend find it strange that that same boy, now leader of the Labour party, is not willing either to support the renegotiation of Britain’s terms of membership of the European Union or to pledge to trust the people of Britain in a referendum on our membership of the European Union?”

Ahead of the 2015 general election, the parties remain divided on Europe. David Cameron has pledged the Conservatives will hold a referendum in 2017 after a renegotiation of treaties. The Liberal Democrats recently faced a challenge to their policy on Europe with a number of senior party members calling for a referendum on membership — this push to change course was defeated and the party remains committed to a policy of not holding a referendum unless further British sovereignty is transferred to the EU.



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June 6, 2014

Queen\’s Speech sets out Coalition government\’s final year agenda

Queen’s Speech sets out Coalition government’s final year agenda

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Friday, June 6, 2014

File:Queen Elizabeth II delivering 2013 Queen’s Speech.jpg

Queen Elizabeth II, opening Parliament in a similar event last year.
Image: VOA.
(Image missing from commons: image; log)

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Queen Elizabeth II formally reopened Parliament on Wednesday and announced the legislative agenda of the UK government for the final year of the Coalition’s five year term. New measures introduced covered crime, the economy, energy and house building.

Business and economy

The next year of legislative changes would, the speech claimed, “deliver on [the government’s] long-term plan to build a stronger economy and a fairer society”. On economics, it promised the government would continue to lower taxes, produce an updated Charter for Budget Responsibility to “ensure that future governments spend taxpayers’ money responsibly”, and continue reduction of the deficit.

On employment law, the Queen’s Speech announced reduction in employment tribunal delays and plans to try and “improve the fairness of contracts for low paid workers” — a response to “zero-hours” contracts. The Institute of Directors support reforms to zero-hours contracts, specifically by removing “exclusivity” clauses. The speech also announced the introduction of a “collective pension” system similar to schemes in use in the Netherlands.

The government is also to increase penalties on companies that do not pay employees minimum wage, and reform National Insurance contributions by self-employed people. The government also plans to extend the ISA and Premium Bond savings schemes and abolish the 10% tax rate on savings. The speech also promised more house building, and also to introduce legislation to reduce the use of plastic bags.

Crime and law

The speech announced the government would seek to pass a new Serious Crime Bill “to tackle child neglect, disrupt serious organised crime and strengthen powers to seize the proceeds of crime”. Another bill will be introduced to deal with modern slavery and human trafficking and to support victims of these offences. The speech also said the government “will lead efforts to prevent sexual violence in conflict worldwide”.

The Serious Crime Bill would also include an increase in the sentence for those who bring about “cyberattacks which result in loss of life, serious illness or injury or serious damage to national security, or a significant risk thereof”. Under the Computer Misuse Act 1990, these are currently subject to a ten year prison sentence, but the punishment would now risk imprisonment for life. Punishment for cyberattacks that cause “a significant risk of severe economic or environmental damage or social disruption” would increase from the current ten year maximum tariff to fourteen years.

Jim Killock from the Open Rights Group said existing laws already allow effective prosecution of those engaging in cyberattacks.

The speech also announced legislation would be introduced “to provide that where a person acts heroically, responsibly or for the benefit of others, this will be taken into account by the courts”.

Constituents would be able to “recall” an MP who had been found guilty of misconduct under a proposed law that will be debated. The Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith described the current plans as “meaningless” and said voters had been “duped”. The Bill would force a by-election if 10% of voters signed a petition within eight weeks, but only if a Commons committee had decided the MP could be recalled. This latter requirement will make it “impossible to recall anyone” according to Goldsmith.

Business minister Michael Fallon defended the recall proposals: “we have to protect MPs from being recalled by people who just disagree with them[…] What you have to ensure is an MP can’t be hounded out just because people disagree with them back in their constituency.”

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said he agreed with Goldsmith the bill was not perfect, and he wanted “a radical California-style recall” system, but he had settled for a “modest” bill to satisfy “Conservative Party resistance”. Goldsmith claimed Clegg had been “the architect of the current Recall Bill”.

Tim Aker, head of policy for the UK Independence Party, said: “The decision to only offer recall voting on a signed-off-by-Parliament-basis reflects a political class that does not know, does not trust and certainly does not represent its people.”

Fracking

Green MP Caroline Lucas spoke in opposition to the government’s fracking proposals.
Image: The Health Hotel.

The speech included measures to make it easier for businesses to engage in hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) of shale gas. The Institute of Directors said laws “must be updated if the UK is to enjoy the benefits of our shale potential”, specifically by scrapping laws on trespass to allow the gas extraction to occur. The British Chamber of Commerce also support such a reform: “While fracking may be unpalatable to some, it is absolutely essential, and business will support legislative measures to exploit Britain’s shale gas deposits”. Activists from Greenpeace fenced off Prime Minister David Cameron’s home in Oxfordshire with a sign reading “We apologise for any inconvenience while we frack under your home”, and delivered a £50 cheque — identified as the maximum compensation suggested for property owners.

Simon Clydedale from Greenpeace UK said of the fracking proposals: “The prime minister is about to auction off over half of Britain to the frackers, including national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty like the Cotswolds. Fracking won’t deliver energy on a meaningful scale for years, if ever, by which time we’ll need to have moved away from dirty fossil fuels and towards high-tech clean power if we’re to head off dangerous climate change.”

Caroline Lucas, Green Party MP, spoke in opposition to the fracking proposals after the Queen’s Speech: “Not only does this bill defy public opinion, it denies people a voice. To allow fracking companies to drill under people’s homes and land without their permission is to ignore public interest in pursuit of the vested interests of a few.” A poll conducted by YouGov found 74% of respondents opposed the plans.

Reaction

Following the Queen’s Speech, politicians from all parties debated the direction of the government in the year ahead.

Prime Minister David Cameron said that the Queen’s Speech showcased “a packed programme of a busy and radical government”, whose “long-term economic plan is working but there is much, much more to do”, and it would “take the rest of this Parliament and the next to finish the task of turning our country around”.

Labour leader Ed Miliband said: “We would have a Queen’s Speech with legislation which would make work pay, reform our banks, freeze energy bills and build homes again in Britain. A Queen’s Speech which signals a new direction for Britain, not one which offers more of the same.”

Cameron described Miliband as having a “rag bag, pick-and-mix selection of statist Seventies ideas [… a] revival of Michael Foot‘s policies paid for by Len McCluskey‘s money” — a reference to controversies surrounding the substantial funding Labour gets from trade union Unite.

Liberal Democrat president Tim Farron said of the Queen’s Speech: “I suspect the pensions proposals will be around for a generation or more and will be remembered. It’s about making sure they are fairer, cheaper, more secure, more reliable and potentially better for people.”

Plaid Cymru MP Elfyn Llwyd said: “This was an uninspired Queen’s Speech delivered by a government that has well and truly run out of steam.”

Angus Robertson, the leader of the Scottish National Party in Westminster, said the Queen’s Speech barely mentioned Scotland: “The absence of any mention at all of the Westminster parties’ plans for Scotland in the Queen’s Speech is extraordinary. […] In this – the year of the biggest opportunity in Scotland’s history – Scotland hardly even gets a nod at Westminster, and not a single mention of future plans for improving government in Scotland.”

The speech made brief mention of Scotland: “My government will continue to implement new financial powers for the Scottish Parliament and make the case for Scotland to remain a part of the United Kingdom.”



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Conservatives win Newark by-election

Conservatives win Newark by-election – Wikinews, the free news source

Conservatives win Newark by-election

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Friday, June 6, 2014

Robert Jenrick, the new Conservative MP for Newark.
Image: altogetherfool.

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The Conservative Party has won the Newark, England by-election but with a reduced majority. Voters gave 45.03% of the vote to Robert Jenrick, while the UK Independence Party candidate Roger Helmer came second with 25.91% of the vote. The turnout was 38,707, 52.67% of the electorate of 73,486.

The by-election was called following the resignation of Patrick Mercer after it was revealed he was paid to lobby and ask questions in Parliament on behalf of the country of Fiji in an investigation by the BBC Panorama programme.

Jenrick is a 32-year-old who works as managing director of Christie’s auction house. After the election result was announced, he said: “I want to thank the prime minister for his personal support to my campaign and I want to thank the government for its commitment to re-building Britain. I hope now that I can repay the faith and trust that the people of Newark have put in me as your new member of parliament — and in the months and years to come I can build a reputation as a strong and effective MP.”

UKIP’s candidate, Roger Helmer, attracted controversy during the election campaign due to past public statements about the acceptability of homosexuality. In remarks to The Sun newspaper, he compared considering homosexuality “distasteful if not viscerally repugnant” to tea preferences. He explained: “Different people may have different tastes. You may tell me that you don’t like Earl Grey tea. That may be a minority view but you are entitled not to like it if you don’t like it.” Helmer later stated the manner in which his comments were reported showed “the mainstream media are engaged in a feeding frenzy against UKIP, and are prepared to twist the facts to suit their agenda”.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage said the party had run a “stunning campaign”: “We’ve been up against probably the biggest ever Conservative machine, defending about their 40th safest seat in the country. If the indications are right, we’ll be celebrating a massive advance for our party.”

The Liberal Democrat candidate, David Watts, said coming in sixth place “wasn’t a good result, but smaller parties often get squeezed in by-elections and that’s what’s happened to us here”. He said the independent campaign by Paul Baggaley had got a lot of support, and “a lot of our voters had transferred to vote against UKIP to make sure UKIP didn’t get elected”.

Grant Shapps from the Conservative Party said the surge of support for UKIP after the European elections was now “going backwards”, while Nigel Farage said Conservative MPs in more marginal seats would be filled with “sheer horror” at UKIP’s success.

Newark by-election results
Position Candidate Party Votes Percentage
1 Robert Jenrick Conservative Party 17,431 45.03%
2 Roger Helmer UK Independence Party 10,028 25.91%
3 Michael Payne Labour Party 6,842 17.68%
4 Paul Baggaley Independent 1,891 4.89%
5 David Kirwan Green Party 1,057 2.73%
6 David Watts Liberal Democrats 1,004 2.59%
7 Nick The Flying Brick Loony 168 0.43%
8 Andy Hayes Independent 117 0.30%
9 David Bishop Bus Pass Elvis Party 87 0.22%
10 Dick Rodgers Stop Banks 64 0.17%
11 Lee Woods Patriotic Socialist Party 18 0.05%



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March 20, 2013

British Chancellor George Osborne downgrades growth forecast in annual budget

British Chancellor George Osborne downgrades growth forecast in annual budget

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

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A file photo of the British Chancellor George Osborne.
Image: HM Treasury.

The British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne delivered the budget today, an annually-held audit of the country’s finances deciding how taxpayers’ money should be spent. He set out plans to boost the housing market in his fourth budget, as well as stating the economy will grow by 0.6% — half his prediction four months ago.

George Osborne revealed plans to improve the housing market, including a “Help to Buy” shared equity scheme which would offer buyers who can place a 5% deposit on a new house, a 20% loan to buy it. He said: “This is a budget for those who aspire to own their own home”. He also offered a new Mortgage Guarantee, created in conjunction with mortgage lenders — the scheme would allow them to offer loans to homeowners without the need for a large deposit and offer guarantees to support up to £130bn of lending for three years beginning in 2014.

As a measure to attract investment to the British economy, he announced to reduce corporation tax from 21% to 20% taking effect from April 2015. The rate of corporation tax has fallen from 28% in 2010 to the current level of 21%. The United Kingdom is to have lower rates of corporation tax than the USA at 40%, France at 33%, and Germany at 29%.

The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) stated the government debt reduction programme to reduce the budget deficit will miss its targets. The government has forecast the total public sector debt will begin to fall by the financial year 2015/2016, while OBR says national debt will reach a high of 85.6% of GDP, £1.58 trillion, in 2016/17. Osborne defended the government efforts to reduce the deficit and said: “Our judgement has since been supported by the IMF, the OECD and the Governor of the Bank of England.”

In response to the Budget speech, the Leader of the Opposition Ed Miliband said: “At the worst possible time for the country. It’s a downgraded budget from a downgraded Chancellor […] Debt is higher in every year of this Parliament than he forecast at the last Budget. He is going to borrow £200 billion more than he planned.”

The Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer Ed Balls said to The Independent, “They are borrowing £245bn more in this Parliament, we said all along …said this two years ago, if they had moved more quickly with a sensible, targeted package of measures to kick-start the economy, which would have meant at that time more borrowing for a VAT [Value Added Tax] cut to bring forward housing investment, then we would have got the economy growing and the deficit coming down.”

The Business Secretary Vince Cable told the BBC in an interview, the “age of austerity” would probably end within the current decade, but made no more definite forecast.

The head of the British Federation of Small Businesses, John Walker, said: “The Budget opens the door for small businesses to grow and create jobs. The Chancellor has pulled out all the stops with a wide ranging package of measures to support small business. […] [W]e are pleased to see the scrapping of the 3p fuel duty due in September”.

Len McCluskey, the General Secretary of Unite the Union, criticized the budget for not helping working families. He said: “This is a Budget for the few by the few that attacks the many. Millionaires are days away from getting a £40,000 tax cut from the Tories, but George Osborne is using the budget to attack hard-working public sector workers. The worst chancellor in British history has gone further by giving big business another tax cut while staff caring for the sick get pay cuts. […] [H]e should have raised the national minimum wage by £1 and drop the senseless plan to give millionaires a tax break in a few days’ time”.



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March 3, 2013

Liberal Democrats hold onto Eastleigh in by-election as UKIP vote soars

Liberal Democrats hold onto Eastleigh in by-election as UKIP vote soars

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Sunday, March 3, 2013

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Image: Office of Nick Clegg.

The Liberal Democrat candidate Mike Thornton won the Eastleigh, United Kingdom parliamentary by-election on Thursday with a slim majority of 1,771 votes, with the Conservative Party finishing in third place after a voting surge for the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) who finished in second.

Thornton, who lives in Bishopstoke and has been a local councillor since 2007, said in his victory speech, “The people of Eastleigh recognise that the Liberal Democrats have always had a superb record of delivery, we’ve always listened to what people want, and we always make sure that we do a good job.” Leader of the Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg celebrated with Mike Thornton and party supporters; in a statement he said: “We held our nerve, we stood our ground. We overcame the odds and won a stunning victory”.

At the last general election in 2010, Liberal Democrats won with 46.5% of the vote, holding a 3,864-vote majority over the Conservative Party, who gained 39.3%, and the constituency has been in the Liberal Democrats’ control since another by-election in 1994. The party’s share of the vote dropped by 14.4 percentage points as UKIP posted their best-ever election results.

A map of the Eastleigh constituency.
Image: Wereon.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage has said that after their success in the by-election they will “take the tremor that [they] have created at Eastleigh and turn it into a national political earthquake” in the European Parliament election in 2014. Farage said of Prime Minister David Cameron, “He’s talking about gay marriage, wind turbines, unlimited immigration from India. He wants Turkey to join the European Union. The Conservatives’ problems are not because of UKIP, it’s because of their leader”.

Grant Shapps, the Conservative Party chairman, said “We’ll be fighting the next election providing a clear choice between David Cameron as PM or Labour Party leader] Ed Miliband.” David Cameron played down suggestions that UKIP pose a big threat to the Conservative Party at the 2015 General Election. He said, “It is a disappointing result for the Conservative Party, but it is clear that, in mid-term by-elections, people want to register a protest”.

The Labour candidate John O’Farrell ended up fourth with 9.82% of the vote. Ed Miliband responded by saying, “Clearly I would have preferred to get more votes but this was always going to be a tough fight for Labour”.

Chris Huhne, the former Secretary of State for Energy, triggered the election when he resigned as the MP after admitting perverting the course of justice by asking his wife to take speeding penalty points for him in 2003.



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January 25, 2013

UK government formally launches same-sex marriage legislation in Parliament

UK government formally launches same-sex marriage legislation in Parliament

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Friday, January 25, 2013

Maria Miller
Image: Department for Work and Pensions.

The British government formally published legislation today to allow marriage for same-sex couples. The bill is titled the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill. MPs would be able to vote on the legislation at the second reading in Parliament on February 5.

Maria Miller, the Culture Secretary, said of the legislation to BBC Radio 4: “We feel that marriage is a good thing and we should be supporting more couples to marry.” Gay and lesbian couples have been allowed since 2005 to form civil partnerships.

The Coalition for Equal Marriage, a campaign group supporting the legalisation of same-sex marriage, have tracked support by individual MPs and claim 336 MPs are likely to vote in favour of the legislation, while 130 are likely to vote against. Conservative MPs are to be given a free vote, but both Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs are broadly in support.

As part of the legislation, the government have included a set of provisions they describe as a “quadruple lock” against churches and other religious denominations being forced to perform same-sex weddings, including an explicit ban on the Church of England and the Church of Wales doing so. The “quadruple lock” consists of an explicit statement in the Bill “that no religious organisation, or individual minister, can be forced to marry same-sex couples or to permit that to happen on their premises”, an amendment to the Equality Act 2010 to prevent claims of discrimination against religious organisations for not performing same-sex weddings, an opt-in for religious groups who do wish to perform same-sex marriages, and the explicit ban for the Churches of England and Wales.

Maria Miller said the government recognises “that some churches won’t want to participate in same-sex marriages. We are trying to make sure that there are the protections there for churches who feel that this isn’t appropriate for their particular beliefs. We know that there are churches who do want to take part in same-sex marriages, so we have made sure that there are provisions there so they can.”

Former defence secretary Liam Fox, opposing the legislation, has suggested the European Court of Human Rights will overrule the government’s protections for churches. He argued earlier this month: “Any assurances that we are given that distinguishing between churches will not be used at some point by European courts to drive a coach and horses through the legislation carries little credibility with those of us who have watched similar assurances trounced in the past.”

The Roman Catholic Church has strongly opposed the measures. Archbishop Vincent Nichols has said he is “very disappointed” the government is pushing for same-sex marriage and claimed it would “weaken” the institution. The Archbishop also claimed of the legislation: “[t]here was no announcement in any party manifesto”. However, the Conservative Party’s “contract for equalities” for the 2010 election included a statement saying they would “consider” same-sex marriage: “We will also consider the case for changing the law to allow civil partnerships to be called and classified as marriage.”

A Guardian/ICM poll conducted in December 2012 found 62% of the British public favour allowing same-sex marriage.



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December 1, 2012

UK\’s Labour Party wins by-elections in Croydon North, Middlesbrough, Rotherham

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Saturday, December 1, 2012

In the United Kingdom, the has won by-elections in the constituencies of Croydon North in London, Rotherham in and Middlesbrough in North Yorkshire. Voting percentages for the political party increased in all three constituencies from the previous by-elections.

Sarah Champion, who won the Rotherham by-election, said UK Prime Minister David Cameron and the “have shown what they think of Rotherham, and today this result tells David Cameron what Rotherham thinks of the Tories.” Middlesbrough winner Andy McDonald said as part of as a victory speech that the people of his constituency now “have a new voice in Westminster, a voice that will speak up for working families who are having their budgets squeezed, young people who are struggling to find their first job and the millions ignored by this Tory-led government.”

Meanwhile, Croydon North by-election winner Steve Reed said his victory sent “a clear message” from the people of the constituency to the Prime Minister. “He cannot be the one-nation prime minister Britain needs if he stands by doing nothing while Croydon faces one of the highest levels of youth unemployment in London,” Reed stated. This sentiment was shared by Labour Party leader and Leader of the Opposition , who said voters in these three constituencies “have put their faith in a One Nation Labour Party standing up for young people trying to find work and standing up for people whose living standards are being squeezed”.

Below are tables detailing the full 2012 by-election results in Croydon North, Middlesbrough and Rotherham, respectively. Results are displayed in descending order of vote count and percentage.

Political party Candidate Votes  % ±%
Steve Reed 15898 64.71% +8.69%
Andy Stranack 4137 16.84% -7.28%
UKIP Winston McKenzie 1400 5.70% +3.97%
Marisha Ray 860 3.50% -10.48%
Green Shasha Islam Khan 855 3.48% +1.51%
Respect Lee Jasper 707 2.88% +2.35%
Christian Peoples Stephen Hammond 192 0.78% N / A
National Front Richard Edmonds 161 0.66% N / A
Communist Ben Stevenson 119 0.48% +0.17%
Monster Raving Loony John Cartwright 110 0.45% N / A
9/11 Was an Inside Job Simon Lane 66 0.27% N / A
Young People’s Robin Smith 63 0.26% N / A
Political party Candidate Votes  % ±%
Labour Andy McDonald 10201 60.48% +14.60%
UKIP Richard Elvin 1990 11.80% +8.10%
Liberal Democrats George Selmer 1672 9.91% -10.00%
Conservative Ben Houchen 1063 6.30% -12.48%
Peace Imdad Hussain 1060 6.28% N / A
BNP Peter Foreman 328 1.94% -3.90%
Trade Unionist and Socialist John Malcolm 277 1.64% N / A
Independent Mark Heslehurst 275 1.63% N / A
Trade Unionist and Socialist Ralph Dyson 261 1.22% N / A
Independent Paul Dickson 51 0.24% N / A
Independent Clint Bristow 29 0.14% N / A
Political party Candidate Votes  % ±%
Labour Sarah Champion 9866 46.25% +1.62%
UKIP Jane Collins 4648 21.79% +15.78%
BNP Marlene Guest 1804 8.46% -1.96%
Respect Yvonne Ridley 1778 8.34% N / A
Conservative Simon Wilson 1157 5.42% -11.32%
English Democrats David Wildgoose 703 3.30% N / A
Independent Simon Copley 582 2.73% -3.58%
Liberal Democrats Michael Beckett 451 2.11% -13.87%
Trade Unionist and Socialist Ralph Dyson 261 1.22% N / A
Independent Paul Dickson 51 0.24% N / A
Independent Clint Bristow 29 0.14% N / A



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November 30, 2012

UK\’s Labour Party wins by-elections in Croydon North, Middlesborough, Rotherham

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search

Friday, November 30, 2012

In the United Kingdom, the has won by-elections in the constituencies of Croydon North in London, Rotherham in and Middlesbrough in North Yorkshire. Voting percentages for the political party increased in all three constituencies from the previous by-elections.

Sarah Champion, who won the Rotherham by-election, said UK Prime Minister David Cameron and the “have shown what they think of Rotherham, and today this result tells David Cameron what Rotherham thinks of the Tories.” Middlesbrough winner Andy McDonald said as part of as a victory speech that the people of his constituency now “have a new voice in Westminster, a voice that will speak up for working families who are having their budgets squeezed, young people who are struggling to find their first job and the millions ignored by this Tory-led government.”

Meanwhile, Croydon North by-election winner Steve Reed said his victory sent “a clear message” from the people of the constituency to the Prime Minister. “He cannot be the one-nation prime minister Britain needs if he stands by doing nothing while Croydon faces one of the highest levels of youth unemployment in London,” Reed stated. This sentiment was shared by Labour Party leader and Leader of the Opposition , who said voters in these three constituencies “have put their faith in a One Nation Labour Party standing up for young people trying to find work and standing up for people whose living standards are being squeezed”.

Below are tables detailing the full 2012 by-election results in Croydon North, Middlesbrough and Rotherham, respectively.

Political party Candidate Votes  % ±%
Labour Andy McDonald 10201 60.48% +14.60%
UKIP Richard Elvin 1990 11.80% +8.10%
Liberal Democrats George Selmer 1672 9.91% -10.00%
Conservative Ben Houchen 1063 6.30% -12.48%
Peace Imdad Hussain 1060 6.28% N / A
BNP Peter Foreman 328 1.94% -3.90%
Trade Unionist and Socialist John Malcolm 277 1.64% N / A
Independent Mark Heslehurst 275 1.63% N / A
Trade Unionist and Socialist Ralph Dyson 261 1.22% N / A
Independent Paul Dickson 51 0.24% N / A
Independent Clint Bristow 29 0.14% N / A
Political party Candidate Votes  % ±%
Sarah Champion 9866 46.25% +1.62%
UKIP Jane Collins 4648 21.79% +15.78%
BNP Marlene Guest 1804 8.46% -1.96%
Respect Yvonne Ridley 1778 8.34% N / A
Simon Wilson 1157 5.42% -11.32%
English Democrats David Wildgoose 703 3.30% N / A
Independent Simon Copley 582 2.73% -3.58%
Michael Beckett 451 2.11% -13.87%
Trade Unionist and Socialist Ralph Dyson 261 1.22% N / A
Independent Paul Dickson 51 0.24% N / A
Independent Clint Bristow 29 0.14% N / A



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