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07 May 15. General Election: Narrow Conservative Majority. The General Election on 7 May 15 resulted in a narrow overall majority for the Conservative Party. The main results were: Conservative – 330 (+28); Labour – 232 (-24); SNP – 56 (+50); Liberal Democrat – 8 (-48) and Others – 24 (-6). The 66.1% turnout on 7 May 15 was an improvement on the 65.1% of 2010 but did not match the 71.4% of 1997. The Conservative share of the vote was 36.9%; Labour 30.4%; UKIP 12.6%; Liberal Democrat 7.9% and SNP – 4.7%.
The Prime Minister confirmed (8 May 15) the appointments of four senior Cabinet Ministers:-
. The Rt. Hon G G O Osborne MP becomes First Secretary of State and continues as Chancellor of the Exchequer.
. The Rt. Hon T M May MP continues as Home Secretary.
. The Rt. Hon P Hammond MP continues as Foreign Secretary.
. The Rt. Hon M C Fallon MP continues as Defence Secretary.
Comment: Some summaries of the Election results indicate 331 seats for the Conservative Party, but this figure (incorrectly) includes The Speaker. As the Conservative party now has an overall majority in the House of Commons, the former arrangements for a ‘coalition administration’ no longer apply. All Ministerial appointments will thus now be filled by Conservative Members of Parliament. How the Prime Minister copes with the astonishing success of the Scottish National
Party (with 56 of the 59 Scottish Members) remains to be seen.
The British Polling Council is said to have initiated an inquiry into why the final Election polls were so inaccurate (in that the Conservative share of the vote was understated). (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 15/19, 11 May 15)
07 May 15. Government Policy Papers: Publication. The Government published (7 May 15) a number of policy papers covering the period 2010 to 2015. The 16 documents which appear on the MoD’s web page cover a wide range of subjects, including: the UK nuclear deterrent; Afghanistan; Falkland Islanders’ right to self-determination and piracy off the coast of Somalia.
Comment: The policy papers can be accessed at (www.gov.uk/government/organisations/ministry-of-defence) under the tab ‘Our Publications’ near the foot of the page; the documents are listed in date order. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 15/19, 11 May 15)
03 May 15. Iraq: OP SHADER.
. 3 May 15: Two Tornado GR4 provided direct support to Iraqi troops near Bayji.
. 3 May 15: Two ISIL vehicles were destroyed with Hellfire missiles.
. 4 May 15: Tornado GR4 assisted Iraqi troops.
. 6 May 15: Tornado provided support to the Kurdish Peshmerga near Mosul.
Iraqi troops have received further training on the ground and support in the air from British Forces serving with the coalition. (MoD, 6 May 15.)
Comment: The MoD states that UK military instructors “continue to help increase the capabilities of the Iraqi Armed Forces”. British expertise in dealing with improvised explosive devices has been particularly useful in Iraqi Army training. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 15/19, 11 May 15)
04 May 15. HMS BULWARK: OP WEALD. HMS BULWARK and three Merlin helicopters were declared (4 May 15) ready to operate in the Mediterranean, working closely with the Italian Navy. The 19,000 tonne amphibious ship rescued 110 migrants from a dinghy which was about to sink off the coast of Libya. The individuals were rescued using BULWARK’s landing craft before being transferred on to an Italian Coast Guard vessel. HMS BULWARK coordinated the rescue effort which included an Italian frigate and her helicopter. The rescue came on the second day of the RN’s involvement in the concerted international rescue effort to deal with thousands of people endeavouring to lea