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UK parties move toward a deal

[ 2010-05-11 11:36]     字号 [] [] []  
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Britain's election deadlock appeared closer to resolution on Monday as David Cameron's Conservatives and their potential ally, the Liberal Democrats, reported progress in talks to form a new government amid fears that prolonged uncertainty would rattle the markets.

Spokesmen for the two parties refused to comment on a Sky News report that they have reached an "outline deal" that will be put to their members of parliament on Monday.

"We have made further progress," said William Hague, chief negotiator for the Conservatives. "We are now going to report back to David Cameron and have meetings with our parliamentary colleagues."

But Prime Minister Gordon Brown's faltering Labour Party also made overtures to the third-place Liberal Democrats, refusing to give up on a chance to stay in power.

The Conservatives won the most seats in the election, but fell 20 seats short of a majority in the 650-member parliament. They want the support of Nick Clegg's third-place Lib Dems, possibly in a formal coalition or a looser power-sharing deal.

"I don't think a period of prolonged uncertainty is a good thing," Clegg told reporters. "That's why we want to arrive at a decision as soon as possible."

The two sides disagree on electoral reform, immigration and Britain's ties with the European Union. However, Conservative foreign affairs spokesman and former Tory leader William Hague said the talks were going well.

"We are meeting now to discuss some specific ideas and proposals," he said. "We are optimistic about making further progress very soon."

Former Lib Dems leader Paddy Ashdown told the BBC that although dialogue was congenial and respectful, "that isn't enough ... because there is a mountain to climb here".

(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

UK parties move toward a deal

About the broadcaster:

UK parties move toward a deal

Lee Hannon is Chief Editor at China Daily with 15-years experience in print and broadcast journalism. Born in England, Lee has traveled extensively around the world as a journalist including four years as a senior editor in Los Angeles. He now lives in Beijing and is happy to move to China and join the China Daily team.