London: British Prime Minister David Cameron paid a farewell visit to Queen Elizabeth II on Monday, the first day of formal campaigning for the most unpredictable UK election in decades.
The royal audience — possibly Cameron's last as prime minister — came as Britain's Parliament was dissolved ahead of the 7 May vote.
Voters failed to produce a majority for either the Conservative or Labour parties in the House of Commons in 2010, and the electoral landscape is even more fractured now. Smaller parties — such as the Scottish and Welsh nationalists, Greens and anti-Europeans — could hold the balance of power in May's vote.
While issues such as Europe and immigration will play a big role in the campaign, the Conservatives and Labour are both focusing their messages on the economy.
Cameron says a Labour victory would mean higher taxes and threaten Britain's recovery from the Great Recession.
But Labour leader Ed Miliband argues that for many voters, that recovery "feels like it's happening to someone else, somewhere else." He kicked off the campaign with a speech aimed at reassuring business that Labour won't increase tax and red tape.
And he called the Conservative vow to hold a referendum on European Union membership a "clear and present danger" to businesses in the UK.
Cameron's visit to the queen is a courtesy, rather than a necessity. This election sees an end to the historic practice of prime ministers asking the monarch to dissolve Parliament. That is now done automatically, under a law fixing election dates every five years.
Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.
Updated Date: Mar 30, 2015 17:51:56 IST