DAVID CAMERON ENTERS 10 DOWNING STREET AS BRITISH PRIME MINISTER

cameron-may-11-1
David Cameron and his wife Samantha, at their new home, 10 Downing Street.

The London Independent

David Cameron entered No 10 tonight as the first Conservative Prime Minister in 13 years.

The Tory leader said he intended to form a “proper and full” coalition government with the Liberal Democrats.

Arriving in Downing Street with his wife Samantha, he announced: “Her Majesty the Queen has asked me to form a new Government and I have accepted.”

cameron-may-11-2
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II inviting Conservative
Party leader David Cameron to be the next
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
on Tuesday May 11, 2010.

Mr Cameron paid tribute to Gordon Brown for his “long record of dedicated public service” and said that after more than a decade of Labour rule, Britain was “more open at home and more compassionate abroad”.

Looking ahead to the coalition he will form with the Lib Dems, he said: “We have some deep and pressing problems – a huge deficit, deep social problems, a political system in need of reform.

“For those reasons, I aim to form a proper and full coalition between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats.

“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.”

Mr Cameron said: “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.

“I believe that is the best way to get the strong Government that we need, decisive Government that we need today.

“I came into politics because I love this country, I think its best days still lie ahead and I believe deeply in public service, and I think the service our country needs right now is to face up to our really big challenges, to confront our problems, to take difficult decisions, to lead people through those difficult decisions so that together we can reach better times ahead.”

The Prime Minister went on: “One of the tasks that we clearly have is to rebuild trust in our political system.

“Yes, that’s about cleaning up expenses, yes, that’s about reforming parliament, and yes, it’s about making sure people are in control and that the politicians are always their servants and never their masters.

“But I believe it’s also something else – it’s about being honest about what government can achieve.

“Real change is not what government can do on its own, real change is when everyone pulls together, comes together, works together, when we all exercise our responsibilities to ourselves, our families, to our communities and to others.

“And I want to build a more responsible society here in Britain, one where we don’t just ask what are my entitlements but what are my responsibilities, one where we don’t ask what am I just owed but more what can I give, and a guide for that society that those that can should and those who can’t we will always help.”

The Prime Minister continued: “I want to make sure that my Government always looks after the elderly, the frail, the poorest in our country.

“We must take everyone through us on some of the difficult decisions that we have ahead.

“Above all it will be a Government that is built on some clear values, values of freedom, values of fairness and values of responsibility.

“I want us to build an economy that rewards work, I want us to build a society with stronger families and stronger communities and I want a political system that people can trust and look up to once again.

“This is going to be hard and difficult work. The coalition will throw up all sorts of challenges, but 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.

“Those are the things I care about, those are the things that this Government will now start work on doing. Thank you very much.”

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs revealed via Twitter that US President Barack Obama was to telephone Mr Cameron shortly.

Liberal Democrat frontbencher Simon Hughes said he expected the coalition deal to be approved by his party’s MPs, peers and ruling federal executive at a meeting tonight.

There had been a “surprising coming together” during the negotiations, Mr Hughes said, though he denied that Mr Cameron was now a Liberal Democrat.

“I don’t think he is one of us, he is a Conservative – we come from different strands,” Mr Hughes told BBC News.

“But there has been a surprising coming together, and I pay tribute to the Conservative Party who in all the negotiations have both shown sincerity and a willingness to come to an agreement on issues that matter to us.

“That’s why people like me from the radical centre-left of the party I think will be willing tonight to put my hand up and say, ‘Yes, this is how we should proceed’.”

A “progressive arrangement” had been reached to lift the poor out of tax, make sure investment goes to education, build Britain out of recession and guarantee political reform, Mr Hughes added.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson, a friend of the new Prime Minister from their days at Oxford University, texted his congratulations to Mr Cameron as he arrived at Downing Street and wished him well in Number 10.

Mr Johnson said: “David Cameron has changed his party and now offers real change for the country.

“Having known him for many years, I know that he has the steel, the energy and compassion to rise to the tough challenges ahead. I wish him well and look forward to working together for the good of London and the UK.”

A senior Tory source confirmed tonight that George Osborne will be Chancellor in the new coalition Government and William Hague Foreign Secretary – both keeping the roles they had in the shadow cabinet.

The source said no other positions would be announced tonight amid reports that Liberal Democrat positions in the Cabinet would include Vince Cable as Chief Secretary to the Treasury and David Laws as Schools Secretary.

Tory Andrew Lansley was reported to be the new Health Secretary – also keeping his shadow brief.

A No 10 spokeswoman said no roles would be confirmed by Downing Street tonight.

Mr Clegg and Mr Cable arrived at Local Government House in central London to meet Lib Dem MPs. Mr Clegg is expected to make a statement afterwards.

Mr Clegg was asked if he was deputy prime minister as he arrived for a joint meeting of Lib Dem MPs, peers and the ruling federal executive.

“I will make an announcement after this meeting,” he told reporters outside Local Government House in central London.

Treasury spokesman Vince Cable said “I can’t tell you, I don’t know” when asked how many Cabinet jobs had been offered to the Lib Dems.

And schools spokesman David Laws said tonight’s meeting was “a report back and then a decision”.

See Related: WORLD POLITICS


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