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What now for the UK?

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What now for the UK?


Early results from the UK elections show a tricky road ahead before a new government is formed. Euronews journalist, Seamus Kearney, asked special correspondent in London, Keith Graves, what he made of the initial figures.

Keith Graves: “We can say with some certainty that the next Prime Minister would be the right-wing Conservative leader David Cameron. What then happens of course is how is he going to form a government? He doesn’t have an overall majority. He has indicated that he would not go into a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats -that would give him a majority. So I think what will likely happen is that he will try to form some sort of a coalition with other smaller parties, with the Irish MPS. There’s a possible 10 MPs there that might go into a coalition with him, representing primarily the right-wing section of the voting population in Northern Ireland. He might try to bring in some of the Scottish members of parliament and some of the Welsh.

“Now if he did that he would have to make enormous compromises. He would have to give them a lot of their demands to get them to go along with him. He might decide to go along with a minority government. The problem then is, there’s going to be an enormous period of instability and a very real possibility that by the end of the year there would have to be another election.”

Seamus Kearney: “Some people might look at these exit polls and be surprised at the fact that the Liberal Democrats didn’t score more. Some people had been saying that they would have a tremendous result. How do you explain that?

Keith Graves: “The problem is that with the electoral system we have, where you have an outright winner, the person who has the most votes wins. The Lib Dems normally poll quite well but they don’t win seats. That’s why they have been pushing for years for a change in the electoral system, for proportional representation. It’s why the two main parties don’t want it, because it would dilute their seats almost automatically.”

Seamus Kearney: “And Gordon Brown, the incumbent Prime Minister, he can’t be a happy man seeing these exit polls. Is he likely to leave office, sooner or later?”

Keith Graves: “I’ve seen suggestions that Gordon Brown may try to stay in power with a minority government or do a deal with Lib Dems. That seems possible. I think that’s wild speculation. If you had to make a half-informed guess, I think you’d say that now Gordon Brown will be gone very quickly both as Prime Minister for sure and as leader of the Labour Party. I think he is yesterday’s man, very much so and it’s very humiliating for him.”

Seamus Kearney: “And of course for the economy, the markets really need to know what’s happening, with this uncertainty, with these results. Do you think the markets are going to be satisfied, are going to be calmed?”

Keith Graves: “Whoever takes over is going to have to make massive cuts in public spending. They may even have to cut salaries of some public servants. And they have not been honest about it and unless they come out very quickly and announce those cuts I think the markets will plummet.”

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