PM Cameron meets Queen to kick off UK election campaign
British Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday met Queen Elizabeth II to inform her about the dissolution of the country's parliament ahead of the general election in May.
London: British Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday met Queen Elizabeth II to inform her about the dissolution of the country's parliament ahead of the general election in May.
The 10-minute audience with the British monarch is a tradition that marks the official start of the campaign for the general election set for May 7.
Speaking soon after outside the famous 10 Downing Street black door, Cameron urged Britain's voters to keep him in power for a second five-year term.
"I want to see the job through," said the leader of the Conservative party, who led a coalition government alongside the Liberal Democrats.
He added, "Together we are turning our country round, for your sake, for your family's sake, for the sake of your children and their future, we must see this through together.
"This election also takes place when the world is dangerous and uncertain. So we need strong leadership to safeguard our national security as well as our economic security," he said.
He went on to promise to campaign in "all four corners of all four nations (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) of the UK" during the next 38 days.
The election, he said, was "about moving forward after five years of effort and sacrifice" and suggested voters faced a "stark choice" between the Conservatives and Labour.
Under UK election rules, government ministers remain in charge of their departments until a new administration is formed, but MPs cease to be members of parliament and writs will be issued for elections in all 650 constituencies.
Issues likely to dominate this year's campaign include the economy and spending cuts, Britain's EU membership, the future of the National Health Service and immigration.
If Cameron is re-elected, he has promised to deliver an EU membership referendum by the end of 2017, raising the prospect of Britain leaving the world's largest trading bloc.
Opposition Labour, which opposes an EU membership referendum, has lately been on a minor bounce as it took a four-point lead in the opinion polls ahead of the Tories following a televised question and answer session featuring the two party leaders ? Cameron and Labour chief Ed Miliband.
Coalition partners Lib-Dems, meanwhile, are urging the voters to avert a swing to the Left (Labour) or the Right (Tory). Deputy Prime Minister and Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg said his party would occupy the "reasoned centre ground" during the campaign.
With the possibility of a hung parliament looming large, the smaller parties such as the far-right UK Independence Party (UKIP) and the Green Party may also have a crucial role to play in this year's election.
The Scottish National Party (SNP) is also likely to become relevant as a result of its growing popularity in Scotland.
The fragmentation of the UK political landscape has meant that the leaders of the two main parties ? the Conservatives and Labour ? will on Thursday be joined by the leaders of five other parties for a seven-way television debate for the first time in British political history.