British Prime Minister David Cameron appeared poised to remain in power Friday, with early British election results and exit polls indicating his Conservatives had won a resounding victory and will return to 10 Downing Street in a stronger position than before.
Cameron’s office said he would go later Friday to Buckingham Palace, where he is expected to tell Queen Elizabeth II that he has enough support to form a government.
That would bring the election to a much-quicker-than-expected conclusion. Polls ahead of Election Day showed Conservatives locked in a tight race with the opposition Labour Party, raising the possibility of days or weeks of negotiations to form a government.
Labour took a beating, mostly from energized Scottish nationalists who pulled off a landslide in Scotland.
With Cameron’s Conservatives on the cusp of winning a majority in the 650-seat House of Commons, the election result looked to be far better for him than even his own party had foreseen. With 625 constituencies counted, the Conservatives had 310 seats to Labour’s 228.
The prime minister beamed early Friday as he was announced the winner of his Witney constituency in southern England.
“This is clearly a very strong night for the Conservative Party,” he said, stopping just short of declaring overall victory. He would be the first Conservative prime minister to win a second term since Margaret Thatcher.
“I want my party, and I hope a government that I would like to lead, to reclaim a mantle that we should never have lost — the mantle of one nation, one United Kingdom,” Cameron said, vowing to counter the rise of Scottish nationalism with more powers for Scotland and Wales.
Labour, led by Ed Miliband, was routed in Scotland by the Scottish National Party, which took almost all of the 59 seats in Scotland.