Despite Majority, U.K.’s Cameron Faces Conservative Rebellion

Prime Minister David Cameron (center) leaves a V.E. Day veterans reception, at St. Jame's Park in London
Yui Mok—PA Wire/Press Association Images Prime Minister David Cameron leaves a V.E. Day veterans reception, at St. James' Park in London

It's not going to be smooth sailing for the next five years

(LONDON) — Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives may have won the British election and ushered their coalition partner out the door, but that doesn’t mean it’s all smooth sailing for his government for the next five years.

With influential Euroskeptics clamoring in his own party and a very slim majority in Parliament, Cameron will have a hard time tackling the big headaches looming over his second term: Britain’s membership in the 28-nation European Union and the growing movement for Scottish independence.

“He would like to be seen as leading a governing party which is united on a core issue at the center of the political debate, but that’s unlikely to happen,” said Colin Hay, a British politics professor at the Paris Institute of Political Studies. “It’s going to be really tough.”

Cameron’s Conservatives won an unexpected majority in last week’s election, ensuring that he returns to 10 Downing Street with enough power to govern alone. His first term saw Cameron sharing power with the left-of-center Liberal Democrats, who held key positions in a sometimes-awkward coalition government.

Within hours of declaring victory Friday, Cameron re-appointed his four highest-ranking ministers — those heading defense, the Treasury, home and foreign affairs — to their posts. No big surprises are expected when the rest of the new, all-Tory Cabinet is unveiled this week.

The message of stability and continuity is clear: “Keep calm and carry on,” as the Times newspaper put it in a headline.

That is easier said than done in Britain’s rowdy Parliament, where Cameron does not have full support from his party on the two key topics of Scotland and membership in the EU. The Conservatives now have a tiny majority — holding just over half of the House of Commons’ 650 seats — meaning that a dozen defiant Tories could potentially derail important policies.

Rebellion has long simmered in the Conservatives’ more right-wing factions, where many want Britain to pull out of the EU. The presence of the pro-EU Liberal Democrats in the government meant that such a move had been out of the question for the past five years.

Radical Conservatives also disagree with their more moderate colleagues over how to deal with the question of Scotland, where the separatist Scottish National Party gained an unprecedented landslide victory in the race for seats in the British Parliament, winning 56 of Scotland’s 59 seats.

Cameron and those who back him will do everything to keep Scotland’s centuries-old union with England, but some Conservatives are leery of ceding too much power to the north without getting reciprocal benefits for England.

The infighting over those two issues is likely to come to a head in the next two years. Responding to widespread British distrust of Brussels, Cameron has promised to hold a referendum on whether Britain should leave or stay in the EU by the end of 2017. He has maintained that he can negotiate better terms for Britain’s EU membership and increase Britain’s ability to control the flow of EU migrants to the country.

Cameron plans to meet with restive Conservative legislators Monday to discuss plans for EU reform in an effort to unify the party before discussions with EU leaders about possible modifications to the terms of Britain’s membership.

But many rank-and-file Conservatives want much tougher changes, and some have made up their minds that no settlement will be good enough.

“It was a very rebellious parliament the last time,” said Simon Usherwood, politics lecturer at the University of Surrey. “You’ve got some pretty serious Euro-skeptics.”

He said it was actually easier for Cameron under the last coalition government.

“Now you can’t blame someone else for not being able to get something done,” Usherwood said.

Cameron’s two major dilemmas are linked: A British withdrawal from the EU would make Scottish nationalists very unhappy and hasten their independence bid.

One area where Cameron will feel less restraint in his new majority government is about welfare cuts, which are expected to hit the poor even harder than those already implemented under his last administration.

The Conservative leader has pledged to reduce the deficit by finding 12 billion pounds ($18.5 billion) to cut from the welfare bill in the next few years. He has not revealed where the money would come from.

“The Lib Dems provided a kind of counterbalance,” said Hay. “They helped to hold the Conservative Party together at a time when some on the right were pushing for more cuts to welfare and public services.”

Without their coalition partners, the Conservatives face a return of the unpleasant nickname they’ve long tried to shake: “the Nasty Party.”

Some analysts already detect shades of the last majority Conservative government in this one. Like Cameron, former Prime Minister John Major in the 1990s had a fragile majority and struggled to control a party deeply divided over Europe.

But they also believe that Cameron is a political realist. While he himself favors staying in the EU, he’s also canny enough not to underestimate his rebellious party members.

“He’s pragmatic,” Usherwood said. “There’s an element of him making it up as he goes along.”


U.K.’s Personable David Cameron Fights for Political Life

Britain's Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader David Cameron in Twickenham, London, May 5, 2015
Peter Nicholls—AP Britain's Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader David Cameron in Twickenham, London, on May 5, 2015

If Cameron fails to win a second term against Labour's Ed Miliband, he will almost certainly be dumped as Tory leader

(LONDON) — David Cameron’s supporters paint him as a principled but pragmatic politician with a huge capacity for quick thinking and grace under pressure.

Opponents depict the 48-year-old Conservative leader as a privileged smoothie who hates to break a sweat.

Cameron, who has been Britain’s prime minister since 2010, is fighting for his political life in Thursday’s election, which polls say is too close to call. If he fails to win a second term against Labour’s Ed Miliband, he will almost certainly be dumped as Tory leader.

“I think he would be less devastated than most people, just because he is more of a human being than most politicians,” said James Hanning, co-author of the biography “Cameron: Practically a Conservative.”

Cameron is often depicted in the press as the prime minister who likes to “chillax.” Observers have struggled to pinpoint what he believes in, and what has driven him to the top of British politics.

The son of a stockbroker, Cameron attended Eton, the country’s most elite boarding school, which counts Princes William and Harry among its alumni.

At Oxford University, he studied politics, philosophy and economics and was a member of the Bullingdon Club, a rowdy dining-and-drinking society with a reputation for drunken vandalism.

After graduating, Cameron began work as a researcher for the Conservatives and rose quickly through the party, with a spell in PR for TV company Carlton Communications.

He was elected to Parliament in 2001 and chosen as party leader in 2005, when the Conservatives had lost three successive elections to Tony Blair’s Labour. Cameron, another young modernizer, was branded the “heir to Blair” in the press.

In his first years as leader, he articulated a type of compassionate Conservatism, describing his vision of a “Big Society” built on neighborliness and volunteering. In government, he legalized same-sex marriage, despite the opposition of Tory traditionalists.

But his administration also slashed public spending to curb a deficit swollen by the 2008 banking crisis, and cut welfare benefits to some of the country’s poorest people.

Many on the right wing of the Conservative Party mistrust Cameron’s social liberalism, and consider him tainted by his failure to win the 2010 election outright against unpopular Labour leader Gordon Brown. Cameron had to put together a coalition with the Liberal Democrats in order to govern.

Cameron’s re-election pitch is based primarily on the recovering British economy. Unemployment is falling, GDP is growing modestly and interest rates are low.

If voters back the Conservatives for financial security, Cameron will remain in 10 Downing St — although he has said he won’t seek a third term.

If he’s wrong, Hanning said, he’ll go down in history “as the man who couldn’t beat Gordon Brown or Ed Miliband. That’s pretty bad.”

TIME United Kingdom

British Legislative Candidate Suspended For Threatening to Shoot Rival

Robert Blay said he would "personally put a bullet" between the eyes of Ranil Jayawardena

A right-wing British parliamentary candidate, Robert Blay, has been suspended by his own party for threatening to shoot a rival candidate, the BBC reports.

His rival is Ranil Jayawardena, a British citizen of Sri Lankan origin.

Blay, who was running for the constituency of North East Hampshire, appeared in a video secretly made by a U.K. tabloid, the BBC says. In the video, Blay reportedly said that if Jayawardena ever became Prime Minister, he would “personally put a bullet between his eyes.” He also added that his opponent was “not British enough to be in Parliament.”

“I was shocked to hear about these comments and that someone who holds these types of views could have been selected as a UKIP candidate,” Jayawardena announced on Facebook Wednesday.

“My family believes in hard work. My father came to this country to do just that — never claiming a penny from the state,” Jayawardena added.

Blay’s party, the UK Independence Party, apologized to Jayawardena, characterized their candidate’s views as “abhorrent,” and immediately suspended Blay from the organization.


TIME england

The Queen of England Is Facing a Staff Revolt at Windsor Castle

Getty Images

Staff may withdraw services because of low pay

For the first time in history, the Queen of England’s household staff may take industrial action.

The Guardian reports that they are frustrated by paltry wages, and will cast ballots Tuesday to determine if they will continue with certain services they currently perform without pay around her weekend home at Windsor Castle — such as taking visitors on tours, interpreting and offering first aid.

The U.K.’s Public and Commercial Services union says more than 100 disgruntled staff members may rescind these free services, citing chronic underpayment.

The starting salary for household staff at Windsor Castle is reportedly as little as $20,000.

“It is a failure of leadership on the part of the Queen that despite receiving close to £300 million [$443,658,000] a year in public subsidy she continues to pay staff so badly,” antimonarchist campaigner Graham Smith told the Guardian.

However, the Royal Collection Trust, which administers the Queen’s homes, says the uncompensated tasks are not compulsory and only performed voluntarily. It further argues that employees are paid above the market rate and receive a generous pension.


TIME Britain

Harry Potter Owls Mistreated, Animal Cruelty Group Says

PETA has accused 'The Making of Harry Potter' tour of mis-treating owls

The successful Warner Bros studio tour of ‘The Making of Harry Potter’ has come under fire for its treatment of animals.

The Harry Potter attraction at Warner Bros Studio Tour London opened in 2012 and allows fans to tour the sets, sample Butterbeer and meet animals from the franchise, including Harry’s owl.

Animal rights group PETA has accused the tour of mistreating the owls that appear on the tour. After secretly filming the tour, PETA has accused the tour operators of keeping the “distressed birds… tethered in tiny cages for hours and forced to perform tricks.”

“Confining frightened owls to tiny cages where they can only chew at their tethers in frustration goes against every message of respect and kindness that J.K. Rowling’s wonderful books taught us,” PETA director Mimi Bekhechi told the BBC.

Warner Bros Studio Tour London told the BBC, “It is essential the welfare of the birds… is of the highest standard.” They also said that they had asked the company that owns the birds, Birds and Animals, to “review this matter.”

Meanwhile a spokesperson for Birds and Animals told the BBC, “The owls are always given regular breaks and closely monitored by a vet. Now that we have had the opportunity to see the footage, we have instigated a review of the issues raised.” They added: “We will take appropriate action to ensure that the birds and animals always receive the very best care.”



A 15-Year-Old Just Redesigned the British Pound Coin

This photo issued by HM Treasury shows the side of a new one pound coin announced by the Government.
The Royal Mint—AP This photo issued by HM Treasury shows the side of a new one pound coin announced by the Government.

Young man designs old coin

The new British one pound coin has been designed by a 15-year-old who beat out more than 6,000 entries.

David Pearce’s drawing contains the national emblems of the United Kingdom, with a rose, leek, thistle and shamrock emerging from a Royal Coronet, reports Sky News. The drawing was slightly refined by coin artist David Lawrence and lettering expert Stephen Raw.

The teenager from the West Midlands city of Walsall said, “I spent a lot of time researching what coin designs looked like and what sort of designs would represent all parts of the UK before submitting my idea and I honestly cannot believe I have won.”

The Royal Mint

The coin is being replaced for the first time in more than 30 years because of its vulnerability to counterfeiters.

Pearce’s design will feature on the new currency that will be released in 2017.

[Sky News]

Read next: Prince Harry: Behind ‘My Tough Decision’ to Leave the Army

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Britain

Prince Harry Needs a New Job

Prince Harry Hosts Coach Core Graduation Ceremony
Chris Jackson—Getty Images Prince Harry chats with Coach Core graduates during a Coach Core Graduation event at St James's Palace on Jan. 14, 2015 in London, England.

The 30-year-old prince is leaving the armed forces after 10 years and is looking for a new job

It’s official: Prince Harry is looking for a new job.

The 30-year-old royal is set to end his 10-year military career, Kensington Palace confirmed in a statement on Tuesday. That career has seen Harry qualify as an Apache pilot and complete two tours of Afghanistan. Yet come June, when he will leave the armed forces, the prince will be “actively considering other longer term employment opportunities.”

In the statement, Harry said that, “After a decade of service, moving on from the Army has been a really tough decision. I consider myself incredibly lucky to have had the chance to do some very challenging jobs and have met many fantastic people in the process.” He added, “I am considering the options for the future and I am really excited about the possibilities…. So while I am finishing one part of my life, I am getting straight into a new chapter.”

Harry, who already serves as the patron of several charities, already lined up volunteering stints that could very well lead to a full-time gig.

The prince will be be spending part of the summer volunteering with field-based conservation experts in Africa and spending time learning how local communities in sub-Saharan Africa are working to protect and conserve natural resources and wildlife.

Following his time in Africa, Harry will head back to London, where he is slated to volunteer with the U.K.’s Ministry of Defense’s Recovery Capability program, which supports wounded, injured and sick military staff. He’ll also continue to work with case officers at London District’s Personnel Recovery Unit, which he has been doing since last year, alongside both those who are administering and receiving physical and mental care. According to Kensington Palace, this work “will enable him to continue developing his knowledge of the entire recovery process, placing him in an informed position to further support wounded, injured, or sick servicemen and women into the future.”

Working with veterans makes sense for Harry, who last year founded the Invictus Games, a multi-sport event for wounded military men and women. In Harry’s statement on Tuesday, he revealed his plans to continue his work with the event, saying he was set on “making sure the next few Invictus Games are as amazing as the last.”

Finding a suitable working role can be challenging for a royal, especially one wanting to avoid a fully packed schedule of official royal appearances and overseas tours—and one who has a reputation as a party boy. Many royals, past and present, have spent their time working with charities. Harry’s late mother, Princess Diana, was particularly known for her charity work, serving as president or patron of more than 100 charities. Similarly, Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, serves as the patron of various charities, including the East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices and the National Portrait Gallery. Then there’s Harry’s older brother William, the Duke of Cambridge, who has opted for service-based work. After seven years in the military himself, William is now gearing up to work as an air ambulance helicopter pilot, based in Cambridge and Norwich. (William, who is second in line to the throne, after his father Charles, has said he’ll donate his salary to charity.)

No matter what job Harry eventually chooses, he’ll have to balance it with his other lifelong work as a member of the royal family. The prince knows this. According to Kensington Palace, Harry will continue to support his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, attending official engagements in her honor, including embarking on a royal tour to New Zealand in May.

Read next: Prince Harry: Behind ‘My Tough Decision’ to Leave the Army

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TIME Television

British PM Joins Jeremy Clarkson Controversy as New Details Emerge

Television presenter Jeremy Clarkson is mobbed by journalists as he leaves an address in London, March 11, 2015.
Peter Nicholls—Reuters Jeremy Clarkson is mobbed by journalists in London, March 11, 2015.

The politician and the Top Gear host are long-time friends

In the wake of Jeremy Clarkson’s suspension a huge number of fans have come out to offer their support — including the prime minister, David Cameron.

In an interview with the BBC, Cameron was asked to comment on the incident which saw Clarkson, a 54-year-old auto journalist and presenter of Top Gear suspended by the BBC after he allegedly punched a producer. The final episodes of the current Top Gear season were also dropped. Noting that Clarkson was a friend of his, Cameron said, “because he is such a talent and he amuses and entertains so many people, including my children, who’d be heartbroken if Top Gear was taken off air, I hope this can be sorted out, because it’s a great programme and he’s a great talent.”

He added that he didn’t “want to interfere” in the BBC’s handling of the incident. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg echoed Cameron on LBC Radio, saying, “The guy’s obviously incredibly popular and the show that he does provides entertainment to millions of people, but who is responsible for determining whether he carries on or not is his employers.”

Though the BBC has only referred to the incident as a “fracas,” according to a report in the Daily Mirror, Clarkson hit the Top Gear producer after he’d finished filming “when he was told he would not get the steak he wanted,” as all that was available was “soup and a cold meat platter.”

There are plenty of Clarkson fans who have been actively campaigning to have the presenter reinstated at the popular auto show. An online petition asking for Clarkson’s return to Top Gear was started on Tuesday and has already amassed more than 700,000 signatures. The series has a huge following, both in Britain and around the world, and fans seem to particularly love Clarkson’s often offensive humor and disregard for political correctness. One signature on the petition, from Charlie Houghton of Chelmsford, England, includes the note, “Jeremy is a bastion of light in a dark PC world.”

This isn’t the first time that Clarkson has found himself at the center of a controversy. Just last year, the presenter was given a final warning from the BBC after unused Top Gear footage, found by the Daily Mirror, appeared to show Clarkson use the N-word. Other past incidents — bigoted commentary, as well as physical altercation — have prompted many to call for his dismissal over the years.

The BBC appears to be taking the latest incident seriously. BBC executive Ken MacQuarrie will chair a disciplinary hearing in order to determine whether Clarkson stays or goes. Yet BBC director general Tony Hall told the Guardian that there was no set timeline for the hearing, saying on Thursday, “We have got to get the people who are impacted by this together. We began that work yesterday.” He also said, “I am not going to speculate [what will happen to Clarkson]. The first task is to get the facts and once you’ve got the facts then you can make decisions, but I need facts.”

For his part, Clarkson seems to be taking the latest media storm in stride. He reportedly told a group of reporters outside his London home on Wednesday night that the suspension would allow him to take in some soccer, saying, “At least I’m going to be able to get to the Chelsea match tonight.”

Read more: Here’s 6 Times the BBC Should Have Suspended Jeremy Clarkson But Didn’t

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TIME Music

Rhodes Is Never ‘Turning Back Around’ in His New Video: Premiere

The hotly tipped singer's new clip is premiering exclusively on TIME

It’s a bold statement when an artist chooses to go by one name, but singer-songwriter Rhodes — first name: David — has the talent to back up his singular moniker.

The 25-year-old, who hails from Hitchin, east England, began his musical career just two years ago — but he’s already opened for the likes of Sam Smith (to whom he is routinely compared), Laura Marling, Rufus Wainwright and London Grammar. Plus, he played at both Glastonbury and the London Burberry show in 2014. Rhodes has also released three EPs in the past 18 months and has been busy recording his debut album, due out this summer. The first single from the album, called “Turning Back Around,” will be released on April 5, but the video for the track premieres on TIME today.

The video was shot over several days in Cyprus earlier this year. “I wrote the song about running away from something and wanted the momentum of the percussion to feel like I was never turning back,” Rhodes says of the track. In addition to the building drums, the serene, soaring vocals of the song show why he’s been compared to greats like Smith, Adele and even Coldplay’s Chris Martin.

Watch up top.

TIME movies

Fifty Shades Is on Track to Earn $500 Million

Sam Taylor-Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Dakota Johnson and E.L. James pose for photographers upon arrival at the UK premiere of the film Fifty Shades of Grey in London, Feb. 12, 2015
Joel Ryan—Invision/AP Sam Taylor-Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Dakota Johnson and E.L. James pose for photographers upon arrival at the UK premiere of the film Fifty Shades of Grey in London, Feb. 12, 2015

Fifty Shades of Grey has earned $338.4 million from global box offices, becoming Universal Studios’ highest-grossing R-rated film internationally, and is fast approaching a combined domestic and international haul of $500 million.

The film has also been No. 1 for the third consecutive week in a row and is the best-selling film of the year so far.

Its $338.4 million overseas earnings now outrank those of Universal’s previous best-performing R-rated international hit, Ted, which earned $332.4 million. Domestic earnings of $147.8 million mean the film has earned $486 million so far.

The largest foreign market for the film has been the U.K., where it has earned $46.9 million.


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