Lib-Dems join Tories in coalition

David Cameron is the new PM, Clegg is deputy PM, William Hague new FM.

May 12, 2010 03:06
3 minute read.
Britain's new Prime Minister David Cameron makes a

Cameron new PM. (photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)


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LONDON — New British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said Wednesday his Liberal Democrat party had overwhelmingly approved a coalition deal with its larger rival, the Conservative Party, to form a new government.

Clegg and four colleagues will join a joint Cabinet with new Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron after they sealed a pact following Britain's inconclusive national election.

"We are going to form a new government — more importantly, we are going to form a new kind of government," Clegg said in a news conference.

Conservative Party leader David Cameron became Britain's youngest prime minister in almost 200 years Tuesday after Gordon Brown stepped down and ended 13 years of Labour government.

President Barack Obama has telephoned his congratulations to Britain's new prime minister, Conservative leader David Cameron. The pair discussed Afghanistan, Iran, and the Middle East peace process, according to a statement released by the new prime minister's office. Obama affirmed his commitment to US-UK "special relationship." Cameron also fielded a call from German leader Angela Merkel, with whom he talked about the world economy.

Nick Clegg, leader of the third-placed Liberal Democrats, drove a hard bargain in return for his support in a coalition deal. Cameron appointed his new partner as deputy prime minister and awarded Clegg's group four other Cabinet posts.

The agreement, reached after five occasionally tense days of negotiation, delivered Britain's first full coalition government since World War II.

Cameron and Clegg's pact was sealed after the Conservative Party won the most seats but did not get a majority in the country's national election last week.

Britain's government confirmed Clegg had been appointed by Queen Elizabeth II as deputy prime minister — a rarely used, but coveted Cabinet post title.

Cameron's Conservative Party said ex-leader William Hague will serve as foreign secretary, senior lawmaker George Osborne as Treasury chief, and lawmaker Liam Fox as defense secretary.

Other leading positions were being finalized, as were key policy decision ahead of the presentation of the coalition's first legislative program later this month.

Cameron, 43, said it would be "hard and difficult work" to govern as a coalition but added that Britain had serious economic issues to tackle. Cameron visited Buckingham Palace and was asked to form a government by the queen less than an hour after Brown tendered his resignation to the monarch.

Arriving at London's Downing Street hand in hand with his wife Samantha, Cameron said he believed that Britain's "best days lie ahead."

"We have some deep and pressing problems — a huge deficit, deep social problems, a political system in need of reform," Cameron said. "For those reasons, I aim to form a proper and full coalition between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats."

"Nick Clegg and I are both political leaders who want to put aside party differences and work hard for the common good and for the national interest," Cameron said.

Standing outside 10 Downing St. alongside his wife Sarah, Brown spoke in strained tones as he wished Cameron well.

"Only those who have held the office of prime minister can understand the full weight of its responsibilities and its great capacity for good," he said.

Brown said he had "loved the job, not for its prestige, its titles and its ceremony, which I do not love at all."

"No, I loved the job for its potential to make this country I love fairer, more tolerant, more green, more democratic, more prosperous, more just — truly a greater Britain."

After his brief statement, the 59-year-old Brown walked hand-in-hand with his wife and young sons John and Fraser down Downing Street, where a car waited to take him to the palace.

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