Cameron touts UK vote win as mandate for "tough" EU renegotiation

Mon May 11, 2015 10:48am EDT
 
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By Andrew Osborn and Kylie MacLellan

LONDON (Reuters) - Prime Minister David Cameron touted his election victory as a strong mandate to renegotiate Britain's relationship with the European Union, as his party proclaimed on Monday a new-found unity over the traditionally divisive issue.

Following his unexpected securing of an outright parliamentary majority, Cameron told lawmakers from his Conservative Party that they had won a famous victory last Thursday but there was no room for complacency.

"We have got a mandate; it will be tough obviously but we have got a mandate," Cameron said of his planned EU renegotiation, before entering the meeting of lawmakers to cheers, applause and the appreciative banging of fists on tables.

Cameron has made clear one of his priorities for his second term will be to reshape Britain's EU ties before holding a referendum by the end of 2017 on whether the country should stay in the bloc or leave.

The gathering took place in a wood-panelled parliamentary committee room overlooking the River Thames, off a corridor lined with the portraits of previous prime ministers such as Winston Churchill.

Had Cameron failed to win so emphatically, the room would probably have been the venue for a move against his leadership. However, his center-right party can now govern alone following five years when it was in coalition with the Liberal Democrats.

Cameron was completing his cabinet line-up on Monday, promoting several women, two Britons of Asian origin, and a lawmaker with strong links to working class voters to demonstrate he is what he called a "one nation" prime minister.

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Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron leaves 10 Downing Street  as he names his new cabinet, in central London, Britain, May 11, 2015.  REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett