London, March 30:
As the campaign to elect the next British Parliament began on Monday, surveys have predicted a hung House of Commons with minor parties like Scottish National Party (SNP) and UK Independent Party (UKIP) calling the shots.
British Prime Minister David Cameron met Queen Elizabeth II at the Buckingham Palace on Monday and requested her to dissolve the parliament. The election for all 650 seats of the house will take place on May 7. The last day to file the nominations is April 9.
Sky News’ projection on what parliament would look like gives Labour 279 seats, with the Tories just one behind on 278. The SNP would win 52, the Liberal Democrats 16, UKIP two and others 23.
A Sunday Times poll put Labour ahead by three points, but a ComRes Poll for ITV News and the Daily Mail shows the Conservatives four points in the lead at 36 percent to Labour’s 32 percent.
Prime Minister Cameron launched the formal Conservative election campaign at 10, Downing Street.
“There is a stark choice at the polls,” Cameron told the media. “The next prime minister walking through that door will be me or Ed Miliband.”
Labour leader Ed Miliband launched his campaign at Bloomberg in London with a mini-manifesto focusing on the business policies of his party.
Miliband warned that a European Union referendum proposed by Cameron in 2017 would trigger a bitter two-year campaign in which a re-elected Tory party would tear itself apart over whether Britain should remain in Europe.
Labour hopes to use fears about this uncertainty as a lever to urge companies to look again at some of Miliband’s pro-business policies. The party also plans to highlight Britain’s falling productivity ahead of figures due to be published this week.
However, business leaders have expressed fears about Miliband’s approach to failed markets and his apparent opposition to the role of the private sector in public services. Some have also expressed concern about a possible Labour tie-up with the Scottish Nationalists, fearing the SNP will push Labour’s stance on economic management to the left.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the Liberal Democrats would never “play footsie” with the possibility of quitting the European Union.
Speaking on “Good Morning Britain”, UKIP leader Nigel Farage said his party would not win the election but could be key in helping shape a future government.
With the parliament dissolved, MPs immediately lose their title and are asked to remove references to it, or place disclaimers on any email or social media account which names them as an MP. IANS