May 11th

On this day in 2010, David Cameron became prime minister, forming the first coalition government since World War Two.
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”I believe together we can provide that strong and stable government that our country needs based on those values – rebuilding family, rebuilding community, above all, rebuilding responsibility in our country.”
-an extract from David Cameron’s speech
The Conservative Party made a gain of 96 seats reaching 306, 20 short of a majority in spite of receiving a higher vote total and higher share of the vote than the Labour Party had in 2005 when a majority was achieved. Labour won 258 seats, losing 90 seats, whilst the Liberal Democrats 57 seats made up the balance of power in the immediate days following the election results. Following the results, coalition talks lasted for five days with opportunities presented for a Labour coalition as well as a conservative coalition. Gordon Brown tried to facilitate the resolution of a Labour coalition by announcing his resignation as Party Leader on the 10th May however, it soon became clear a Conservative coalition was imminent stimulating his resignation from the role of Prime Minister on the 11th May.
Not only was the creation of a coalition historic, but the victory of the Conservative party ended a 13 year period of Labour dominance, marking a shift in the direction of British politics following the perceived incapability of Labour to effectively address the issues arising from the economic crash of 2008.
The results of the 2010 general election provided interesting implications for a system of voting which justifies considerable distortion of votes in order to consistently produce a strong majority in government. The majoritarian first past the post system failed to produce the majority required for the strong government it champions, providing critics with further evidence of weaknesses of the justification of the dis-proportionality of election results under such a system. Despite this, the electoral system returned to the ‘stability’ it championed in 2015, producing a slim majority for the Conservative Party despite the excessive dis-proportionality displayed with minor parties such as UKIP and the SNP.

 

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