There’s a petition doing the online rounds right now which says:-
We, the people of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, call upon Prime Minister David Cameron to resign with immediate effect and to call a general election. This is required due to his lack of mandate, the Conservative Party having gained only 36% of the vote in the 2010 general election. It is doubtful that anyone who voted Liberal Democrat would endorse the neoliberal policies currently being pursued by the coalition government. Therefore a general election is required in order to validate or repudiate current governmental policies.
While the aim might be laudable, that last sentence betrays a lack of understanding of British politics.
If Cameron were to be successfully pressured into resigning, and it’s extremely unlikely that would happen, it would not force a general election – it doesn’t work that way.
The Prime Minister is the leader of the successfully-elected party. The leader is elected by the party, not the people. We, the electorate, have no say in the matter apart from electing him/her as an MP (other than those who are card-carrying party members and who participate in the leadership election, of course).
So, even if Cameron were to resign next week (in reality he’d peobably stay in post until the annual conference), the party will buckle down, elect a new leader, who would then, ex officio, and with royal assent (pretty much a formality – I don’t think the Queen has ever told anyone to bugger off, though in theory she can), become the new Prime Minister. As, indeed, happened with Blair and Brown. The press, hypocritical as always, bayed for a general election while knowing full well that there was no requirement for one.
And the same old shit would continue until 2015.
Would a new, Tory, PM be any better? I sincerely doubt it, as s/he’d still be leading the same bunch of dishonest chancers and carpetbaggers as Cameron. And he, of course, wouldn’t go away. He’d still be an MP and quite possibly a senior Secretary of State – we would, perhaps, wind up with a Putin/Medvedev situation, with Cameron and/or the cabinet pulling the strings of a puppet PM from the wings.
The only certainty is that we would not get a general election – it simply isn’t required by law.