UK partners disagree, but don’t want divorce

Conceding that there were ‘profound areas of disagreement’ between Britain’s coalition partners, Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday insisted that he was ‘even more committed’ to ensure that his government lasted until 2015.

There have been rumblings between Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs in recent months, with each seeking to push their respective agendas. Matters came to a head last week on the issue of reforming the House of Lords - upper house of the British parliament.

Putting up a public show of unity in Birmingham, Cameron and deputy Prime Minister and Liberal Democrats leader Nick Clegg on Monday pledged to ensure that the government lasted its full term until 2015.

According to Cameron, there was still ‘huge momentum’ in the coalition government, but even the most optimistic members of the two parties admit that they are likely to go their own way before the 2015 election, and contest against each other.

Graham Brady, the chairman of an influential Conservative backbench Committee, said he believed the coalition was ‘very likely’ to end before the 2015 election.

He said: ‘I think it would be logical and sensible for both parties to be able to present their separate vision to the public in time for the public to form a clear view before the election.

Of course, it is always possible that that moment of separation could come sooner. It’s very difficult to predict when that might be.’

Cameron announced that two parties would bring out a ‘mid-term review’ later this summer, setting out their priorities for the next two years.

Clegg dismissed last week’s row over House of Lords reform as a ‘bump in the road’ and said despite disagreements between the two parties ‘none of that will stop us from continuing to govern in the national interest for the country.’

Cameron admitted questions had been raised about the future of the Coalition in the wake of the Tory rebellion last week over House of Lords reform, but added: ‘I just want to say I am even more committed to coalition government, to making this coalition government, on Monday than I was in May 2010 when Nick Clegg and I formed this government. I believe it has real purpose, a real mission.’

Clegg said: ‘We are two different parties: he doesn’t agree with all my opinions and I don’t agree with all his opinions.

That’s coalition government. It’s tough also to be in government in difficult times. It is not always a walk in the park or in the rose garden.’
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