|A LABOUR LANDSLIDE|
What will Tony Blair's government mean for the UK?
May 6, 1997
in this forum:
What is Tony Blair's mandate? What is Labour's agenda? What does this election do for the Liberal Democratic Party? Will the Labour Party break into factions? What will the election mean for the Irish peace process?
May 2, 1997:
ITN reports on the inauguration of the new Labour government.
April 29, 1997:
Simon Marks reports on the final days of the campaign.
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A question from William Turnier of Chapel Hill, North Carolina:
Election and Liberal Democrat Party
What does this election say about the short term and the long term future of the Liberal Democrat Party in the UK?
Tom Rhodes of The Times responds:
The result is the best showing seen by Britain's Liberals since Llod George's reign in the 1920s. But, as has been the case in the recent past, many Britons still see the third party ballot as a tactical vote to ensure gains or losses for the two major parties. Until a system of proportional representation is introduced in Britain, there is little likelihood of a liberal government. Many Liberal Democrats had hoped for a small Labour majority and a coalition which could have moved towards a change in the electoral process.
Mary Dejevsky of The Independent responds:
The election gave the LibDems their largest number of MPs since the Second World War, so it has been hailed as a great success by the party leader, Paddy Ashdown. With 46 MPs - that is only just less than half the number of Tory MPs - the party has a real chance to make its voice heard. There are, however, two problems that in the longer term are likely to make the LibDems victory less important than it might seem.
First, the size of the Labour majority in parliament means that the LibDems will not have the 'deciding minority' they had hoped for if Labour and Tory had been more evenly balanced. Second, the LibDem victories were mostly in constituencies where they had hitherto been second to the Tories and were therefore seen as a more electable alternative against the Tories than Labour. To this extent, their success may reflect less an enthusiasm for LibDem policies than opposition to the Tories.
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