EXPLAINER: Why the British public is not choosing its leader
When British Prime Minister David Cameron stood in parliament on 5 June, the question on his mind was simple. How did his party fare in an election held seven months earlier? The Tories, his party, had lost their parliamentary majority, a major blow to his premiership.
The Conservatives, he would later explain, “fell short of what they needed to deliver in order to take the country forward.”
The party’s electoral fortunes had been poor. In the 2010 general election, the Conservatives had won just 44 seats, below their previous low of 54 seats in the 2010 election. In the 2012 election, Cameron’s Conservative party had only won 25 seats — their lowest level in Parliament since 1922.
And now, to add insult to injury, the Prime Minister was forced to face a national humiliation in the country’s political class. With the departure of Nick Clegg, his predecessor as leader of the Liberal Democrats, who had taken over from George Osborne on 23 June, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats were now left to negotiate with each other about who should succeed Cameron in the job of leader.
As the former education secretary and MP, Michael Gove, said in July, “the Tories need someone who is able to do for them what they have not done for themselves.”
A few months later, the party’s internal divisions were being laid bare in what The Guardian called a “stunning result.” The Guardian added, “For the Conservatives, the vote is a serious indictment of Cameron’s leadership, who has now lost his party’s majority.” The paper explained, “With a majority of just nine seats, Cameron has now fallen to third place behind Labour.”
The Guardian went on to explain that the Conservative defeat was the result of “an ugly party split that has seen the party’s most senior backbench MPs defect to the Liberal Democrats.”
The result should provide a wake-up call to Cameron, Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron charged in October. �