In 2010, David Cameron led the Conservatives into Britain's first coalition government since the Second World War with the support of the smaller Liberal Democrat party, becoming Prime Minister. From his election to Tory party leader in 2005, Cameron had made significant inroads, reducing the poll lead of the then-dominant Labour party and returning his party to government for the first time since 1997.
Rise and Opposition Leader
Cameron was born on 9 October 1966. He was educated at the elite private school of Eton in Windsor, Berkshire, and went on to study Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford University. He joined the Conservative research department upon graduation and became a Special Adviser to Norman Lamont, then-Chancellor of the Exchequer. After some time with PR firm Carlton Communications, Cameron stood as a Parliamentary candidate in Stafford. That bid, during the landslide which swept Labour to power, ended in defeat, but he was finally elected in 2001 as Member of Parliament for the Oxfordshire constituency of Witney. Two years later he was promoted to the front bench of Her Majesty's Official Opposition and became head of policy co-ordination in the 2005 general election campaign under Michael Howard. Following a closely contested battle with front runner David Davis, Cameron was elected leader of the Conservative party in 2005. At the dispatch box, Cameron first faced Tony Blair and then, following his resignation, new Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Cameron was noted as an adept performer and strong communicator. He is credited with moving his party back to the political center ground, embracing green iconography and abandoning the so-called 'nasty party' image it had gained in the 1990s and early 2000s.
In spite of a consistent poll lead since late 2007, Cameron's apparent popularity failed to secure the Conservative party an overall majority in the 2010 election. He made an offer of a full coalition with the third-ranked party, the Liberal Democrats, in the period following the election result and, following negotiations with both Labour and the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats entered government for the first time, with their leader Nick Clegg as Deputy Prime Minister. As Prime Minister, Cameron oversaw significant public spending reductions following the 2007-2008 financial crisis and pledged British involvement in the 2011 Libyan conflict.