UK Labour leader Miliband resigns after defeat

Ed Miliband, the leader of the British Labour party, offers his resignation and accepts defeat a day after Thursday’s (May 7) general election

LONDON, ENGLAND, UK (MAY 8, 2015) (REUTERS) – Britain’s Ed Miliband quit as Labour leader on Friday (May 8), after his opposition party was decisively beaten at the polls by Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives.

Labour, which had gone into the election expecting to challenge for power, was instead soundly beaten by the Conservative Party, which is now set to govern on its own with an outright parliamentary majority.

Speaking to party supporters and the media, Miliband said he accepted defeat.

“Friends, this is not the speech that I wanted to give today. Because I believe that Britain needed a Labour government. I still do, but the public voted otherwise last night. Earlier today I rang David Cameron to congratulate him. I take absolute and total responsibility for the result and our defeat at this election,” he said.

Miliband said the he was stepping aside in order to give his party an opportunity to rebuild.

“I’m tendering my resignation taking effect after this afternoon’s commemoration of VE day at the cenotaph. I want to do so straight away because the party needs to have an open and honest debate about the right way forward, without constraint,” he added.

The main problem for Labour was that it was wiped out in Scotland, losing 40 seats there to the Scottish National Party.

Labour also failed to take key swing seats from the Tories in parts of England such as the East Midlands, and although its support increased in other regions such as Yorkshire, that merely increased its majorities in seats it already held there.

With a handful of seats still to be declared in the 650-seat house, the Conservatives surpassed the 325 seat threshold of an effective majority that allows them to govern alone for the first time since 1992.