Cameron to outline government plan

CONSERVATIVE leader David Cameron will make a statement later today setting out how he will seek to form a government.

The party said Mr Cameron would make his statement at 2.30pm, spelling out how he would try to form an administration which is “strong and stable with broad support, that acts in the national interest”.

It followed Nick Clegg’s announcement that he believed the Tories had gained “first right” to attempt to form a government in the “national interest”.

The Liberal Democrat leader said it was now up to the Conservative Party to prove it is capable of “seeking to govern in the national interest”

Mr Clegg said: “This has obviously been a disappointing night for the Liberal Democrats. We simply haven’t achieved what we’d hoped.

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“I’m nonetheless proud of the way we conducted the campaign. I think we conducted a positive campaign - full of hope, full of optimism.”

He said this “engaged a lot of people in the election campaign, even if they didn’t then go on to vote for the Liberal Democrats”.

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The final result was still a “little unpredictable”. People had voted but “no one appears to have won emphatically”.

The party’s MPs and peers will hold a private meeting tomorrow as part of the process which would allow Mr Clegg to enter into a coalition with either Gordon Brown or David Cameron.

The process applies when there is any “substantial proposal which could affect

the party’s independence of political action”.

Overnight, it was an historic election in Suffolk. The county’s two Labour MPs were defeated - Chris Mole in Ipswich and Bob Blizzard in Waveney.

The county elected its first woman MP - Therese Coffey, who takes over the Suffolk Coastal seat from John Gummer, who has stood down after 31 years as a Suffolk MP.

In East Anglia as a whole, it was a terrible night for Labour.

Former Home Secretary Charles Clarke lost his Norwich South seat to the Liberal Democrat Simon Wright and Great Yarmouth MP Tony Wright lost to Brandon Lewis, one time leader of Brentwood borough council.

In Essex, Foreign Office minister Bill Rammell was defeated in Harlow and Angela Smith - Gordon Brown’s former Parliamentary Private Secretary - lost in Basildon South & Ipswich North.

Bob Russell easily held Colchester for the Liberal Democrats and one of the most spectacular results was in Clacton, where Douglas Carswell squashed his Labour rival Ivan Henderson by more than 10,000 votes.

The Liberal Democrats failed badly in Chelmsford, where Tory Simon Burns held on to his seat by more than 5,000 votes despite confident predictions that he would be defeated by Lib Dem Stephen Robinson.

Nationally, a host of Labour ministers fell like flies in a tough night for the party. Former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith was among the biggest scalps claimed by the Conservatives, losing her Redditch seat.

The Liberal Democrats lost several well known MPs including Lembit Opik, Eben Harris, and Susan Kramer.

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