The Telegraph leads with “David Cameron vows to ‘govern in the interests of all people’ as SNP dialogue begins”
David Cameron confounded all expectations, including his own, by sweeping back into power with an overall Commons majority of 12, having won 331 seats to Labour’s 232. The Lib Dems retained just eight seats after their support evaporated.
Mr Cameron used his first speech as a majority leader to promise he would govern Britain as “one nation, one UK…in the interests of all its people” after the unstoppable march of the SNP left them with 56 of the 59 Westminster seats in Scotland.
The unprecedented result put the future of the Union in serious doubt, and Mr Cameron acted swiftly to extend the hand of friendship to Scots Nationalists by promising to “respect” the nearly 1.5 million people north of the border who voted for Nicola Sturgeon’s party, and pledging to make Scotland the “strongest devolved government anywhere in the world”.
However, the Guardian sees it differently in “Election earthquake has opened chasms David Cameron will struggle to bridge”
Those who stayed awake saw the earthquake for themselves. Those that slept through the night arose on Friday to glimpse a landscape changed utterly. Its contours were redrawn, its borders painted in newly vivid colours. And, most spectacularly, some of the most familiar human landmarks were suddenly gone, toppled like statues in a street revolution.
By lunchtime, Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage – household names for several years, one a deputy prime minister, another a man who until 10pm on Thursday believed he was within reach of Downing Street – had all resigned, their names to be attached forevermore to the words “former leader”. It was as if they had all fallen victim not to an act of nature or a rampaging mob but a military plan hatched at Conservative headquarters: a decapitation strategy.
The Independent doesn’t shrink from being partisan with “Unshackled from Coalition partners, Tories get ready to push radical agenda”
David Cameron will use the Conservative Party’s first majority in the House of Commons for nearly 20 years to “deliver” on a radical agenda to cut welfare, shrink the size of the state and re-define Britain’s relationship with Europe.
Conservative insiders said Mr Cameron would move to the right to consolidate support among his backbench MPs after five years of compromise with the Liberal Democrats.
Among Mr Cameron’s first legislative priorities will be to enshrine an EU referendum into law, bring in the so-called ‘snoopers charter’ to give police greater powers to monitor internet communications and give English MPs a veto over legislation only affecting England. The Tories also intend to publish plans to scrap the Human Rights Act within their first 100 days. All proposals had been previously blocked by the Lib Dems.
After a tip-off from J.K. Rowling, the Telegraph asks “Is David Miliband returning to the UK to become Labour leader?”
David Miliband is being tipped for a return to British politics after his brother’s overwhelming defeat in the election. Ed Miliband was accused of “stabbing his brother in the back” after defeating him during the party’s leadership election in 2010.
The brothers have struggled to heal the rift between them and David has since stood down as an MP and moved to New York to head the International Rescue Committee, a charity. However, he has repeatedly left open the possibility of returning to British politics, fueling speculation that he could make a comeback…
…Both Andy Burnham, the shadow health secretary, and Chukka Umunna, the shadow business secretary, were taking soundings from their colleagues as they attempted to gather support for a leadership bid. Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, was also being touted as a future leader after her husband Mr Balls, the former shadow chancellor, lost his seat.
The Mail enters the Labour debate: “Disaster, then bloodletting begins: David Miliband sticks the knife into his brother as he demands ‘deep and honest thinking’ and Blairites take their savage revenge”
David Miliband last night demanded deep and honest thinking from Labour to ‘rebuild progressive politics’ after the brother who knifed him in the back led the party to a disastrous defeat. The bloodletting began in earnest after a humiliated Ed Miliband resigned, saying he was ‘truly sorry’ for his party’s appalling performance.
He accepted full responsibility for Labour’s worst result since 1987, losing 26 seats and suffering a near wipeout in Scotland. Blairites came out to savage the failed leader they have never forgiven for running against their candidate David to snatch the top job five years ago.
Writing on Twitter he said his ‘heart goes out to great colleagues who lost seats’ – in reference to his former allies Douglas Alexander and Jim Murphy in Scotland – as well as to ‘Labour teams who worked so hard’ for victory. Mr Miliband then added: ‘And of course to Ed.’
The Mirror reckons it will be a Bitter battle for Labour leadership – but who will emerge victorious?
Labour is preparing for a brutal leadership battle after one of the bloodiest nights in its history. An ashen-faced Ed Miliband resigned yesterday after leading the party to a truly disastrous election defeat. Deputy Leader Harriet Harman quickly announced plans to follow suit.
With Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls and Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander losing their seats in Thursday night’s carnage, it means there will be wholesale change at the top of the party. Chuka Umunna, Yvette Cooper and Andy Burnham were quickly installed as the favourites to take over as leader.
Labour’s national executive will meet early next week to agree a timetable and procedures for a leadership election.
The Guardian licks Labour’s wounds with “After Labour’s election horror, the soul-searching begins”
As the television exit poll was announced at Labour headquarters on the stroke of 10pm, there was a gasp of horror and lines of shocked party workers held their hands to their mouths. Complete silence followed before Lord Falconer, the former lord chancellor, quickly addressed the room telling them he was an experienced hand, had seen incorrect exit polls before, and everyone had a job to do.
As dawn broke over London, Labour party workers knew their worst fears had been confirmed. Far from advancing from 2010, the party stepped back in terms of share of the vote and seats. There was weeping through the night, as well as exhaustion and horror at the thought of the next five years.
Labour in its focus groups had been picking up concern over the influence the SNP might hold over a minority Miliband government, but its team was given false comfort by the national opinion polls showing the party neck and neck. The party did not realise the polls had yet again failed to pick up the “shy Tory” effect…
(Ed: We suggest those “shy Tory” voters were those same “shy UKIPpers” who made a last minute decision to play safe and keep the SNP out of power)
The Independent publishes an article from “our Nigel”: First-past-the-post is now a bankrupt voting system
It is really quite difficult to work out whether the Ukip general election campaign has been a success or a failure. Every pundit predicted that our vote would melt away as the general election campaign neared its completion, and almost every media interview for the past few months began with the inevitable question about the “slide in Ukip support”.
And yet, despite an extraordinary last-minute swing towards the Conservative Party, spurred by the fear of the SNP dominating a Miliband government, the Ukip vote still numbered approximately four million. This number is only just below what we managed to achieve under proportional representation in the European elections of 2014, in which we came first.
It is interesting to note that we gained nearly as many votes as the SNP, the Liberal Democrats, and Plaid Cymru added up together. This is the equivalent of half the panel on the televised leaders’ debates. But only one Ukip MP has been returned to the House of Commons – a situation which most reasonable people would realise highlights the flawed nature of Britain’s electoral system.
Leo Mckinstry writes in the Mail with “How ironic! Ukip helped save the Conservatives
This was meant to be the great breakthrough for Ukip, the moment when Nigel Farage’s purple army sparked a revolution at Westminster. But an election that once promised so much ended up delivering the party precious little.
Squeezed by the vagaries of the electoral system, weakened by their own ill-disciplined organisation, and marginalised by the astonishing rise of the Scottish Nationalists, Ukip endured a night of severe disappointment at the polls. The sense of anti-climax was graphically symbolized by Farage’s defeat in a bitterly fought contest at South Thanet, a rejection by the East Kent voters that appears to have finished his political career.
Nor did his party capture a host of other key targets, like Thurrock in Essex or Grimsby in Lincolnshire, while ex-Tory Mark Reckless, one of Ukip’s two sitting MPs, was beaten in Rochester. Indeed the sole success was the return of fellow defector Douglas Carswell in Clacton, though even he saw his majority slashed.
The Express gives the party headline position with “UKIP’s Douglas Carswell rules himself out of leadership race after Farage resignation”
Douglas Carswell, who held his Clacton seat on a reduced majority, said he would not seek to fill the post vacated by Nigel Farage, who announced his resignation after losing out in Thanet South. Mr Farage said he was taking a break but left the door open for a return when he said: “There will be a leadership election for the next leader of Ukip in September and I will consider over the course of this summer whether to put my name forward to do that job again.”
Mr Carswell praised Mr Farage, the man behind his defection from the Conservatives, as a “heroic and inspirational figure” but told the Times: “I am not going to be running as leader.” Mr Farage, 51, said he would recommend Suzanne Evans, the deputy chairman, be a stand-in leader until the leadership challenge is complete.
In Breitbart, UKIP Daily’s former Editor-in-Chief tries to be helpful with “Farage down but Ukip matures to fight another day”
Ukip leader Nigel Farage has lost his election count in South Thanet and resigned from the leadership of the party. Farage had previously vowed to give up the UKIP leadership if he failed to win this poll. Today he was as good as his word.
Last August Mr Farage said: “I’m not pretending for one moment that [winning] is going to be easy, but UKIP is offering something different and distinctive.” Tempting fate, he’d added: “If we’d failed in the European elections I would have stood down, if we fail next year the party will pick someone better than me, but do you know what? That ain’t going to happen.”
The Telegraph considers that “Liberal Democrats mull 50 years in the wilderness”
The Liberal Democrats will be out of office for fifty years, grandees fear, after the parliamentary party was all but wiped out in “cruel and punishing night”. Nick Clegg, who spent the campaign setting out his “red lines” for a second coalition, resigned at 11am after the party was reduced from 57 seats in 2010 to just eight.
The party’s leading lights were defeated, among them Danny Alexander, the former Chief Secretary to the Treasury; Vince Cable, the former Business Secretary; Ed Davey, the former Energy Secretary; David Laws, the former schools minister; Charles Kennedy, the former party leader; and Simon Hughes, the eight-times election winner.
The Independent has some fun with “Paddy Ashdown handed chocolate hat on Question Time, then Alistair Campbell receives edible kilt”
In a moment of TV gold proving that elections aren’t exclusively serious affairs, former Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown was handed a chocolate cake during Question Time after he said he’d eat his hat if exit polls were correct.
When exit polls showed that the Conservatives would storm ahead in the election to secure a majority, Lord Ashdown was so sure they were wrong that he promised to “eat my hat” if they turned out to be correct.
He was even confident enough to specify that he’d prefer a marzipan flavour piece of millinery. But when Lord Ashdown was handed a marzipan hat during a later BBC interview, he said he would only eat it if former Labour spin doctor Alistair Campbell ate a kilt alongside him.
Having secured a shock overall majority, David Cameron appears to be master of all he surveys. But the Prime Minister now faces the deadliest and most toxic of enemies – the yellow peril that is the new, super-strength SNP.
The scale of the Scottish Nationalists’ achievement in this general election cannot be overstated. Even the party’s high command is stunned by the result. As one senior Nat put it to me yesterday: ‘It is beyond our comprehension for us to have won as big as we have.’
Its vote share was 50 per cent, the highest in Scotland’s history, and it ousted every big name in its path. As one wag put it, there are now more nuclear submarines in Scotland than there are MPs who support Trident. Nicola Sturgeon is, in effect, queen of Scotland.
The Guardian reserves a special headline for the Greens: “Australian-born leader of UK Greens blasts British voting system”
Natalie Bennett, the Australian-born leader of the UK Green party, has given a scathing critique of the British electoral system after her party secured just one seat in Westminster despite winning more than a million votes nationally.
Speaking after the general election won by the Conservative party, Bennett said Britain needed to scrap first past the post voting – where the candidate can be elected on less than 50% of the vote – and introduce a preferential system like Australia’s.
“We have a deeply unfair electoral system [in Britain],” Bennett told the BBC. “What we need, and what I suspect we’ll see, is a huge public campaign. The Green party, if we did have a proportional system, would have 25 seats.”
The Express reports the view from Brussels with: “EU chief wants Britain to STAY in Union – as he insists there’s ‘no better life’”
Donald Tusk said he is counting on the new Conservative government “making the case” for Britain to remain represented in Brussels. He added that he was “deeply convinced that there is no better life outside the European Union, for any country” and said he is “ready to help”.
Cameron faces pressure to remain in the EU from British businesses, who have warned that they will face bigger financial costs to maintain a foothold in the world’s wealthiest market. However, the Prime Minister may now have to persuade voters that the EU’s free-movement rules have helped to invigorate the British economy, rather than taking away jobs. This task will be made easier due to the lack of Ukip voices in the House of Commons.