Britain's Prime Minister, Mr. Edward Heath, did not resign on Friday (March 1 after the?
Britain's Prime Minister, Mr. Edward Heath, did not resign on Friday (March 1 after the Labour Party became the majority party in the House of Commons.
After intensive discussions throughout the day with fellow Cabinet Ministers and senior party organisers he drove from Number Ten Downing Street to Buckingkam Palace to discuss the political situation with Queen Elizabeth.
As Head of State Queen Elizabeth has the formal responsibility of choosing the new Prime Minister after an election. In practice she usually accepts the advice of the current Prime Minister, who normally resigns after his party loses an election.
There was no immediate reaction from Labour's leader, Mr. Wilson, on the Prime Minister's move.
In the latest election results late Friday night, the Labour party had won a total of 301 seats in the new Parliament. The Conservatives had 296, the Liberal Party 13 and other parties, including the Welsh and Scottish nationalists, a total of twentytwo. The results of three seats were still to be announced.
Despite Labour parliamentary majority it was the Conservatives who gained the highest number of votes -- nearly twelve million. The Labour Party was marginally behind by just one hundred thousand votes and the Liberals won a total of almost six million.
By late Friday night the composition of Britain's next Government was still completely unknown. Although Mr. Wilson told reporters he was ready to form a new Government he did not call for Mr. Heath's resignation.
The third party Liberals, with their fourteen seats, had committed themselves to nothing but left the way open to possible negotiations with either of the two major parties.
Following is the sound-on-film transcript of Mr. Wilson's statement to the press and the British Broadcasting Corporation commentary.