On the morning of Wednesday 12 May 2010, Conservative Party leader David Cameron stood with Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg on the steps of Number 10 Downing Street. After a hard fought and momentous general election campaign, the Conservatives had returned to power for the first time in thirteen years. While the Conservatives’ electoral recovery from their 2005 position had been impressive, the party had not done well enough against an unpopular Labour administration to achieve a majority in parliament and form a single party government. Claiming that an unstable minority government might have led to a further economic crisis in Britain, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats negotiated a coalition agreement after both sides had made a number of concessions. The most notable of these was the referendum on electoral reform, a key Liberal Democrat concern, that was held in May 2011. David Cameron and Nick Clegg therefore stood on the steps of Downing Street, as Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minster respectively, at the head of the first UK coalition government since the end of the wartime coalition in 1945. Later that afternoon, the two leaders gave a press conference in the garden of Downing Street, commented on widely for the congeniality it was conducted with. This was a stark contrast to the traditionally competitive and oppositional debate of British party politics, epitomized in the public mind by, for instance, weekly jousting at Prime Minister’s Questions, and that had been evident just days earlier during the general election campaign.
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