BBC News: Election 2010 BBC News

Page last updated at 15:45 GMT, Friday, 7 May 2010 16:45 UK

Election 2010: Cameron says Labour have 'lost mandate'

David Cameron: "The Labour government has lost its mandate to govern our country"

Conservative leader David Cameron said it was "clear" that Labour had lost their right to power, after the Tories gained the most seats in the election.

He promised to act in "the national interest" to bring "strong, stable, decisive and good" leadership, as the UK appeared set for a hung parliament.

He wants to make a "big, open and comprehensive offer" to the Lib Dems.

The Tories have 306 seats and Labour won in 258 constituencies. In all, 326 MPs are needed for a majority.

The poll in one remaining constituency - Thirsk and Malton - has been delayed until 27 May, owing to the death of the UKIP candidate, John Boakes.

Mr Cameron held his seat of Witney in Oxfordshire with 33,973 votes, gaining an increased majority and achieving a 6.3% swing from the Lib Dems.

Tories have most seats but not a majority
David Cameron says Labour have lost their "mandate" to govern
Conservative candidate beats ex-Home Secretary Jacqui Smith
Tories go from three to eight MPs in Wales
Only one Conservative MP in Scotland

Among the Conservatives' successes was a victory in Redditch, where Karen Lumley defeated the former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, with a majority of 5,821 on a swing of 9.2%.

They also won in Richmond Park in south-west London, where Zac Goldsmith polled 4,091 more votes than former Lib Dem MP Susan Kramer.

The Conservatives more than doubled their tally of MPs in Wales, taking four seats from Labour and increasing their representation at Westminster from three to eight.

But in Scotland, the Tories have only one MP - David Mundell, who held Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale.

Speaking on Friday afternoon, Mr Cameron said he wanted "to make a big, open and comprehensive offer" to the Liberal Democrats. "I want us to work together in tackling our country's big and urgent problems."

He said he was willing to "compromise" during negotiations with Nick Clegg's party, because "that's what working together in the national interest means".

And ex-prime minister Sir John Major said offering cabinet seats to senior Lib Dems was a price worth paying for the formation of a stable government.

Earlier, however the Welsh Secretary, Peter Hain, said voters had shown they were "not willing to trust David Cameron and the Conservatives with government on their own".

"They are not willing to have a majority Labour government either," he conceded to Sky News.

Jacqui Smith and Karen Lumley in Redditch
Labour's Jacqui Smith (L) was defeated by Tory candidate Karen Lumley

"Therefore, they are expecting a partnership government and therefore I would hope that the Liberal Democrats would talk to the prime minister and talk to us as Labour cabinet ministers, to see whether we can get a partnership government going, as we have done in Wales."

Shadow schools secretary Michael Gove did not rule out talks with the Liberal Democrats and said Mr Cameron was "happy to talk" to other parties so there was a "strong and stable" Conservative-led government.

And shadow work and pensions secretary Theresa May said Labour had "clearly lost" the election.

"Labour has now lost more seats than they've lost at any general election since 1931, and we, the Conservative Party, have gained more seats at any general election since 1931," she told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

The Conservative mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said it would be "absolutely insane" if the Tories did not have a "dominant role" in the next government.

"The meat in the sausage has got to be Conservatism, I would say," he told the BBC.

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