Britain’s new leaders take over

New Prime Minister David Cameron
has said his “historic” Conservative-led coalition government will be
united and provide “strong and stable” leadership.

In a good-humoured press conference
with Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg, who is now deputy PM, he said they would
“take Britain in a historic new direction”.

Their agenda was to cut the
deficit, support troops, clean up politics and build a “stronger

Mr Clegg acknowledged “big
risks” but pledged a “bold, reforming government”.

He is among five Liberal Democrats
appointed to Cabinet posts; something Mr Cameron said showed “the strength
and depth of the coalition and our sincere determination to work together

The coalition is the first time the
Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have had a power-sharing deal at
Westminster and the first coalition in the UK since the Second World War.

Mr Cameron’s arrival in Downing
Street marks the end of 13 years of Labour rule. The Conservative leader, who
is six months younger than Tony Blair was when he won power in 1997, is the
youngest prime minister since 1812 and the first Old Etonian to hold the office
since the early 1960s.

In a joint press conference in the
Downing Street garden, Mr Cameron said the coalition government could mark a
“historic and seismic shift” in British politics.

He said they had discussed having a
minority Conservative government, supported by the Lib Dems on key votes but
had concluded that was “uninspiring”.

Mr Cameron has now completed
appointing his first cabinet, with Lib Dem Vince Cable becoming Business
Secretary, George Osborne Chancellor, William Hague Foreign Secretary and
Theresa May Home Secretary.

Other appointments include Ken
Clarke as Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary, Liam Fox as Defence Secretary
and Andrew Lansley as Health Secretary.

Mr Clegg’s chief of staff, Danny
Alexander, who was part of the party’s negotiating team, is to be Scottish
Secretary. Lib Dem David Laws will be Chief Secretary to the Treasury.

There are expected to be about 20
Lib Dems – more than a third of their MPs – in government jobs in total.