A sign of different times in British politics?
A rather bizarre event took place in the Cabinet room in Downing Street a few days ago. And a sign of these somewhat different times in British politics.
A Cabinet sub-committee was sitting around the Cabinet table discussing child poverty. Big deal, you'll say.
But the committee met not just Conservatives present, and Lib Dem ministers too, of course, but a couple of Labour MPs as well.
Nick Clegg was in the chair, and was joined by his party colleague, the Children's Minister Sarah Teather. Among the Conservatives in attendance were David Willetts and the Economic Secretary Justine Greening. But also at the Cabinet table were the Labour MP Frank Field and his colleague from Nottingham, Graham Allen.
Field is currently giving the government advice on poverty, whilst Allen is writing a separate report for ministers on early intervention.
This cross-party group was merrily engaged in amicable, constructive discussion, my source reports, as if the coalition contained three parties, not two.