London’s financial markets rally on the news of David Cameron’s Conservatives shock outright win in the UK’s general election, but some residents in the capital worry what the impact of the Scottish nationalists’ huge victory will be on the rest of the country.
LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (MAY 8, 2015) (REUTERS) – London financial markets responded to the news that political certainty in the UK was restored with the shock Conservatives win in the general election on Friday (May 8) by rallying.
“You only had to look at sterling over night on the exit poll which suggested it might be a real possibility. Biggest move that we’ve seen in sterling in almost six years. And following on this morning as the election results have been coming in, we have seen to FTSE pushing up, back through the 7000 mark,” said Michael Ingram, analyst at BGC Partners in Canary Wharf.
Throughout the campaign polls showed Conservatives and opposition Labour to be neck and neck.
But on the night a hung parliament did not come to fruition and Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives won an outright majority.
Ingram said that will reassure investors who’ve been nervous of the UK’s political uncertainty in recent months.
“We know from portfolio investors that they’ve been very hesitant about putting money to work in the UK stock market and we’ve seen at the real economy level business investment flagging over the last six months or so hopefully a lot of this was deferral of investment rather than a fundamental reappraisal of the prospects of UK PLC so we would think that we would start to see something of an economic boost in the second quarter on the back of what seems to be a reasonably solid result for the Conservative party,” he added.
While the short-term political risks for the world’s fifth-largest economy may have diminished, the longer term risk of Britain holding an in-out referendum on Europe by the end of 2017 remains a concern for some.
As does the power now wielded by the Scottish National Party (SNP) who all but obliterated Labour north of the border.
For many living in London, they worry about Scottish members of parliament having a say in English matters, with English lawmakers having no say in the devolved Scottish parliament
“I’m furious, I’m totally furious. I want Scotland to go off and do their own thing now. I really don’t want them part of this country because I think it’s changed the whole balance of this election,” said one woman.
Speculation now surrounds whether SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon will seek another independence referendum.
Some in the capital think she has the political mandate to do so.
“It’s a great stand for Scotland to make and I support them,” said one woman in Canary Wharf.
Commuters outside London’s Victoria station were also wondering what the SNP victory will mean for the future of the UK.
Liz Ormondroyd said she thought the SNP’s impressive showing will lead to another vote and the possible break-up of the union.
”I think there probably will be another referendum and the result will be different from what it was last time,” she said.
Peter Cotopoulis thinks the result will see Scotland’s departure from the union.
”I think it’s over really isn’t it in everything but paper,” he said
The SNP had hoped for a kingmaker role in the House of Commons in a leftist alliance with Labour to force Cameron out.
Cameron’s victory means that the United Kingdom is on course for a referendum on European Union (EU) membership.
He pledged to hold one by the end of 2017 if he can’t renegotiate different terms with the EU and its workings.
Commuter Christina Mills thinks the Scottish Nationalists could change the dynamic on an EU ‘Brexit’ for Britain.
”I think it will be interesting with such a large SNP showing in the House of Commons to see what the referendum is going to show, which Cameron has promised to do, so I think we should stay in the EU, it would be a big mistake to leave, but we will see what happens,” she said.
Tour guide John Ashton wasn’t convinced that Britain would vote to leave Europe in a referendum.
“I think we will probably stay if we have a referendum anyway, but I think people should have a go, so at least we would know wouldn’t we,” he said.
On Friday ratings agency Moody’s said the election victory of Cameron might have implications for the Britain’s sovereign debt rating if it led to the country leaving the European Union.