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Cameron finally becomes UK PM as Brown quits

12 May, 2010

David Cameron finally becomes UK PM as Brown quits
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LONDON: David Cameron became Britain’s new prime minister on Tuesday and vowed to form a “strong and stable” coalition, after breaking five days of deadlock following an inconclusive general election.

Ending 13 years in opposition for his Conservative party, Cameron was invited to form a government by Queen Elizabeth II after the resignation of Labour premier Gordon Brown. Speaking shortly afterwards outside 10 Downing Street, he said he would form a “full” coalition government with the Liberal Democrats, who emerged as kingmakers from last week’s cliffhanger elections. “I aim to form a proper and full coalition between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats,” said 43-year-old Cameron, Britain’s youngest premier for some two centuries, accompanied by his wife Samantha.

“I believe that is the right way to provide this country with the strong, the stable, the good and decent government that I think we need so badly”.

US President Barack Obama called new British Prime Minister David Cameron on Tuesday, minutes after the Conservative Party leader took up his duties in 10 Downing Street, an AFP photographer said.

Obama placed the call from his desk in the Oval Office, before a small pool of news photographers, in what amounted to one of Cameron’s first official duties after taking over from Gordon Brown as prime minister.

Brown had announced he was quitting just an hour-and-a-half before Cameron walked through the famous 10 Downing Street front door. He wished Cameron well as he departed from top-level politics, while acknowledging the personal weaknesses — such as poor presentational skills and impatience — which hampered his three-year premiership.

“Only those who have held the office of prime minister can understand the full weight of its responsibilities and its great capacity for good,” Brown said. “I have been privileged to learn much about the very best in human nature and a fair amount too about its frailties — including my own.” Brown then walked down Downing Street for the last time holding hands with his wife Sarah and their two young sons, John and Fraser, who were making an extremely rare public appearance.

Immediately afterwards, he and Sarah were driven from Downing Street to Buckingham Palace for Brown to offer his resignation to the Queen, which was accepted in a 15-minute meeting.

Brown had said he would resign as Labour leader on Monday but could have stayed on for several months as a caretaker had Labour struck a deal with the Lib Dems. He has spoken to his predecessor Tony Blair by phone, media reports said. Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman will act as caretaker leader while a leadership campaign takes place which is expected to conclude by September.

Some 40 minutes later, Cameron arrived at the palace with his wife for a ceremony with the Queen known as the kissing of hands. A statement from Buckingham Palace confirmed he had been asked to form a government. They left for Downing Street after 25 minutes, their chauffeur-driven Jaguar car attracting toots and waves from passing vehicles, and were greeted by cheering crowds. In last Thursday’s general election, the Conservatives won 306 seats in the 650-member House of Commons — 20 short of a clear majority of 326 — followed by Labour on 258 and the Lib Dems on 57.


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