LONDON — British Prime Minister David Cameron has won the U.K. national election after securing the 326 seats needed for a majority.
In a dramatic night, which saw the Scottish Nationalists (SNP) become an effective one-party state in Scotland, Cameron’s Conservative Party gained at the expense of Labour and the Liberal Democrats.
Opinion polls had predicted more power sharing for Blighty as Conservative and Labour appeared locked in a grueling stalemate. But Cameron’s party was able to win enough seats to govern on their own for the first time since 1992. The share of the vote was 36.9% to the Conservatives and 30.5% to Labour.
The leaders of the two main opposition parties, Labour’s David Miliband and the Liberal Democrats’ Nick Clegg, have both resigned.
The vote was a personal and political disaster for left-of-center Miliband as his party failed to win enough seats from the Conservatives in England. In Scotland Labour was virtually wiped out as the SNP took seat after seat from Labour.
The BBC’s political editor Nick Robinson said: “Not since the fall of Thatcher or the Blair landslide has there been a political moment quite like this one.
“Personal triumphs for the Prime Minister David Cameron and for Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will not just reshape British politics but could perhaps reshape the future of the United Kingdom itself.”
Blighty’s right-wing anti-immigration party UKIP had a mixed night, actually losing one of its two seats. Leader Nigel Farage resigned after he failed to become an MP. However, due to the complexities of the U.K. voting system UKIP has replaced the Liberal Democrats as the third biggest party in Britain. Its share of the vote was 12.6%. compared with the Liberal Democrat’s 7.8%.
The Conservative’s victory was welcomed by London’s financial district, the City of London, where stock prices surged. The value of the pound against the dollar and the euro also headed north.
The Conservative win should pose no threat to the entertainment business. The party, as part of the outgoing coalition government with the Liberal Democrats, not only maintained the production incentives for the film industry put in place by the previous Labour administration, but enhanced them, and extended them to cover high-end drama series.