Britain’s Conservative party confounded pollsters and pundits by unexpectedly winning an absolute majority in the House of Commons to earn the right to govern the United Kingdom for five more years – this time by themselves and not in coalition with any other party.
The Conservatives are the most pro-India party in British politics. Their election manifesto committed to supporting India’s permanent membership of the UN Security Council and achieving a free trade agreement between India and the European Union. In contrast, no other party, including the Labour party, which has historically been closer to India, made any reference to India.
Indian-origin voters, though, bucked the trend by mostly continuing to support Labour. Constituencies with large Indian-origin electorates re-elected the Vaz siblings Keith and Valerie, Virendra Sharma and Seema Malhotra – all Labour candidates
An analyst attributed the Labour leadership’s silence on India to their heavy dependence on voters of Pakistani-origin. In the past, Labour has raised questions about India’s alleged human rights violations in the north Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir.
“My aim remains simple — to govern on the basis of governing for everyone in our United Kingdom,” an euphoric Cameron said:
“I want to bring our country together, our United Kingdom together, not least by implementing as fast as we can the devolution that we rightly promised and came together with other parties to agree both for Wales and for Scotland,” he added.
Scotland voted overwhelmingly in favour of the separatist Scottish National Party. They won 56 out of 59 seats in this region. Last year, the SNP failed to win an independence referendum. But their landslide success this time is a warning to Whitehall that unless the Scots are adequately appeased, they could well quit the UK.
It was a devastating result for Labour, who were reduced to one seat from 41 in Scotland without gaining much in England.
Labour leader Ed Miliband said, “Clearly this has been a very disappointing and difficult night for the Labour Party.” It was being widely speculated that he would soon resign from his post.
The outcome proved Cameron’s emphasis on the economy in his campaign fetched dividends. But there is nervousness in business circles about the Conservatives’ pledge to hold a referendum in 2017 on whether or not to remain a member of the European Union.