David Cameron has re-appointed four senior cabinet ministers, with other announcements to follow

David Cameron has re-appointed four senior cabinet ministers, with other announcements to follow

The PM has already reappointed Chancellor George Osborne, who has also been made first secretary of state.

Theresa May remains home secretary, Philip Hammond foreign secretary, and Michael Fallon defence secretary.

The Conservatives won 331 seats ? five more than needed for a Commons majority ? their first such victory since 1992.

?One nation?

Rival party leaders Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage all resigned on Friday after election disappointments, leaving their parties to consider who is best placed to lead opposition to the new government.

Mr Cameron, who promised to lead a government for ?one nation?, has already spoken to SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, whose party won 56 of the 59 seats in Scotland.

The SNP is expected to press for more devolved powers for the Scottish Parliament, going beyond what was proposed by the Smith Commission after last year?s independence referendum.

The new Westminster Parliament ? which meets for the first time on 18 May ? will see a record number of female and ethnic representatives, with 191 women (up from 143) and 42 from an ethnic minority (up from 27).

Meanwhile, the prime minster will need to replace Lib Dems who held cabinet posts in the coalition government ? such as former Business Secretary Vince Cable, schools minister David Laws and Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander, who all lost their seats in Thursday?s vote.

EU referendum

The Conservatives? victory means they will be able to govern without the need for a coalition or a formal agreement with other parties.

Leading Eurosceptic backbencher Mark Pritchard told the BBC there would be no pressure for the prime minister to rush into discussions about an in-out referendum on the UK?s future in Europe, which he has pledged to hold in 2017.

Mr Pritchard said the prime minister would need time to try to negotiate new terms for the UK?s membership.

?The party will be 100% behind the PM as he goes off to Brussels to fight for Britain, and indeed fight for an improved European Union,? he said.

Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, has said he would work constructively with the new UK government.

In other election developments:

With all 650 seats declared, the Conservatives secured 331 seats in the House of Commons, 24 more than in 2010. Labour have 232, the Lib Dems 8, the SNP 56, Plaid Cymru 3, UKIP 1, the Greens 1 and others 19.Chuka Umunna, Andy Burnham and Yvette Cooper have all been tipped as potential Labour leadership contenders after Ed Miliband stepped down.Tim Farron and Norman Lamb are among the frontrunners to succeed Nick Clegg after he said he would quit as Lib Dem leader.SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon will meet all her party?s 56 new MPs in Edinburgh after it swept the board in ScotlandNigel Farage has recommended Suzanne Evans take over as interim UKIP leader after he said he would step down. Douglas Carswell, the party?s one MP, ruled himself out of the runningAn inquiry is to be held into the mismatch between opinion polls during the campaign and the actual resultThe Conservatives have also made gains in council elections in England, gaining more than 400 seats

Mr Cameron has pledged that the first majority Conservative government for 18 years will govern ?as a party of one nation, one United Kingdom?

He said he would press ahead with devolution of powers to all nations as well as referendum on the UK?s EU membership.

?I have always believed in governing with respect,? he said outside Downing Street on Friday. ?That?s why in the last Parliament we devolved power to Scotland and Wales, and gave the people of Scotland a referendum on whether to stay inside the United Kingdom.

?In this Parliament I will stay true to my word and implement as fast as I can the devolution that all parties agreed for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.?

Chancellor Mr Osborne, who will act as Mr Cameron?s de facto deputy in the added role of first secretary of state, said the Conservatives had been ?given a mandate to get on with the work we started five years ago? and would follow the ?clear instructions? of the British public.

?Dark hour?

Harriet Harman has taken over as acting Labour leader ? as she did in 2010 after Gordon Brown?s resignation ? ahead of a leadership contest likely to take place later this summer.

Although no contenders have yet put their names forward, shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper, shadow health secretary Andy Burnham and shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna are all seen as frontrunners.

Some MPs are also urging shadow defence minister and former soldier Dan Jarvis to run.

Labour won 26 fewer seats than in 2010 and was trounced in Scotland, where it was reduced to just one seat.

Mr Miliband said Labour needed an ?open and honest debate about the way forward without constraints?.

The Lib Dems are also having to regroup after the worst result in their history, which saw them drop from 57 to eight seats.

After Nick Clegg signalled his departure as leader, attention has focused on former party president Tim Farron, the most high-profile Liberal Democrat left in Parliament who did not serve in the coalition government.

However, former health minister Norman Lamb and former Scottish secretary Alistair Carmichael are also seen as possible contenders.

The Conservatives have also made gains in council elections in England, taking control of an extra 26 councils, while Labour and the Liberal Democrats have lost control of four each. More results are expected later in the day.



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