Key dates in Britain's coalition government

5th May 2015, Comments 0 comments

British Prime Minister David Cameron's coalition government came to power in 2010 but could be broken up after Thursday's tightly-fought general election.

Here is a timeline of its key dates and achievements:

May 11, 2010: Cameron's Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats form a coalition government -- the first since World War II -- following the resignation of Gordon Brown as prime minister after elections ending Labour's 13 years in power.

July 27, 2010: First major domestic reform enters law, allowing state-funded schools to operate with extensive autonomy. Big changes to welfare follow with a controversial cap on benefits as well as partial privatisation in the state health service.

November 10, 2010: Violence breaks out at student protests in London against government plans to raise university tuition fees, including outside Conservative Party headquarters. A car carrying Prince Charles and his wife Camilla is attacked. The policy breaks a promise by the Liberal Democrats not to raise fees and leads to a sharp drop in their support.

May 5, 2011: A change in Britain's voting system, proposed by the Liberal Democrats but opposed by the Conservatives, is rejected in a referendum. The move would have seen Britain switch from the First Past The Post to the Alternative Vote system.

August 6, 2011: A police killing in London sparks days of rioting across the capital and other British cities in which five people die. Thousands of shops are looted and set alight in the violence and hundreds of people are arrested.

September 15, 2011: Fixed-term parliaments become law for the first time in Britain, virtually guaranteeing the survival of the coalition government for a full five-year term. The deal is later criticised for creating potentially risky inflexibility.

October 25, 2012: Britain emerges from a double-dip recession, posting growth of 1.0 percent in the third quarter. The government says the result justifies the budget austerity measures it pushed for.

January 23, 2013: Cameron gives a speech pledging to renegotiate Britain's membership of the European Union and hold an in/out referendum by the end of 2017 as a way of appeasing eurosceptics in his party.

July 17, 2013: Same-sex marriage becomes legal in England and Wales, overriding opposition within the Conservative Party and the Church of England.

August 30, 2013: Government loses a House of Commons vote on military action against Syria over its alleged use of chemical weapons. The US also subsequently pulls back from such action.

September 18, 2014: Scotland votes to remain part of Britain in a referendum, despite a last-minute surge by nationalists. In a bid to persuade the Scots, the government promises Scotland sweeping new powers including more control of taxes and welfare benefits.

December 3, 2014: The government confirms it will miss a key target to eradicate Britain's deficit -- forecast at £91.3 billion (115 billion euros, $143 billion) -- within its five-year mandate.

October 26, 2014: Britain's combat operations in Afghanistan end after 13 years. A total of 453 British soldiers lost their lives during the conflict.

September 26, 2014: Parliament approves air strikes against Islamic State (IS) targets in Iraq.

March 30, 2015: Parliament is dissolved, signalling the start of the general election campaign proper.

April 28, 2015: The last big set of economic data before the poll indicates that Britain's economy grew more slowly than expected in the first quarter. GDP expanded 0.3 percent compared to 0.6 percent in the last quarter of 2014, an official estimate shows.

May 7, 2015: Fresh general election to be held.

© 2015 AFP

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