Gloves off for allies in British constituency

Monday, May 17, 2010

LONDON - Elections in Britain’s Thirsk and Malton constituency will be the first test for Britain’s Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition. Polls were postponed following the death of a candidate and will now be held on May 27.

Liberal Democrat candidate Howard Keal said he had no qualms in battling his Conservative rival.

“This is a gloves-off fight all the way. I have been dismayed at some of the tactics…For us, going into coalition is a huge success and is absolutely to be welcomed,” The Independent quoted Keal as saying.

While polling across Britain took place May 6, this was the only constituency where it had to be postponed after the death of John Boakes from the UK Independence Party (UKIP).

Vote count May 7 threw up a hung parliament since 1974 and third placed Liberal Democrats led by Nick Clegg emerged as kingmakers. Tories were 20 short of the magic mark of 326 needed to form their government on their own in the 650 seat House of Commons while Labour slipped to 258 seats.

Conservatives forged a deal with Liberal Democrats, bringing an end to 13 years of Labour rule. Conservative leader David Cameron became prime minister with Clegg as his deputy.

Conservative Anne McIntosh said: “We are in the ascendency and the Lib Dem vote is collapsing across North Yorkshire. The feedback I am getting across the constituency is very positive.”

Labour candidate Jonathan Roberts, on his part, said: “The Liberal Democrats cannot get away from the fact that a vote for them is a vote to prop up the Conservative government.”

“Whatever Nick Clegg and David Cameron might do in Downing Street, out here in the shires their supporters have spent their entire lives campaigning against each other because they fundamentally dislike each other’s values,” Roberts added.

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