Coalition to go the distance, Cameron and Clegg insist

 

David Cameron: "It's not a marriage. It does what it says on the tin"

David Cameron and Nick Clegg have said their coalition will last a full five years, giving Britain "strong, stable and determined leadership".

Mr Cameron promised help on childcare costs, care costs for the elderly and investment in roads as they marked the halfway point of their government.

The PM and deputy PM described their agreement as a "Ronseal deal" which "does what it says on the tin".

Ed Miliband accused the government of making "empty promises".

Nick Clegg said the coalition had brought about "big, bold reforms" that would stand the test of time.

Before the Budget

Described by Downing Street as a "stock take", the 46-page Mid-Term Review lists what the government says it has achieved in meeting its coalition agreement and outlines further reforms to come.

The full document was presented to the cabinet for the first time on Monday morning.

Start Quote

The coalition was, the official line goes, always a business partnership forced on both sides by events. ”

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During a joint press conference with his deputy, Mr Cameron said: "Some people thought our coalition wouldn't make it through our first Christmas, but this government is now well into its third year, because this coalition was not and is not some short-term arrangement."

Asked if their coalition was like a marriage, Mr Cameron said: "To me it's not a marriage, it's a Ronseal deal, it does what it says on the tin - we said we would come together, we said we would form a government, we said we would tackle these problems, we said we would get on with it in a mature and sensible way, and that is exactly what we've done."

Mr Clegg added: "Ronseal deal, you could call it the unvarnished truth."

A number of future plans which had been expected to be included in the Mid-Term Review document after being trailed in the media, are mentioned only briefly in the foreword.

But Mr Cameron said that before the Budget in March the government would set out details, including:

  • New investment to help working families cut the cost of childcare.
  • More help for families who cannot raise a deposit for a mortgage.
  • Measures to limit state powers and extend personal freedoms.
  • "Big new steps" on issues including pensions and "capping the potentially huge cost" of social care.
  • Consulting on how to get private investment into motorways and trunk roads.
  • Extending the HS2 high-speed rail line from Birmingham to the north of England.

He promised the coalition would continue to go "full steam ahead" in reforming the economy and tackling the deficit.

Mr Clegg said it was right that the coalition parties had set aside their differences in the national interest and insisted the government was making the right reforms to help the economy continue to heal.

'Full tank'

"We are dealing with the deficit, rebuilding the economy, reforming welfare and education and supporting hard-working families through tough times. And on all of these key aims, our parties, after 32 months of coalition, remain steadfast and united," Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg write in a joint foreword to the review.

"Of course there have been some issues on which we have not seen eye to eye, and no doubt there will be more. That is the nature of coalition.

Analysis

Each standing in front of a lectern sporting the slogan "Coalition Government: Mid Term Review," David Cameron and Nick Clegg published their 46 page document.

It amounts to the Westminster equivalent of a domestic 'to do' list: some items ticked off, others not.

The half time score card is actually longer than the Coalition Agreement itself.

It trots through the staples of government: the economy, schools, the NHS, defence, etc.

But there is very, very, little detail.

Those in Downing Street had emphasised in advance that today wasn't meant to be about the nuts and bolts of specific policy detail, but instead about illustrating drive and direction.

The challenge now will be translating that rhetoric into policies both Conservative and Liberal Democrat backbenchers can support.

"But on the things that matter most - the big structural reforms needed to secure our country's long-term future - our resolve and sense of shared purpose have, if anything, grown over time.

"Our mission is clear: to get Britain living within its means and earning its way in the world once again."

Mr Cameron highlighted education reform, the changes to university funding, transport modernisation, public sector pensions and banking regulation as examples of the coalition's achievements.

The deputy prime minister championed changes to the tax allowance, closing tax loopholes and the pupil premium, which provides additional money for the poorest children.

In the review's foreword they add: "Two-and-a-half years ago, our parties came together in the national interest and formed a coalition at a time of real economic danger.

"This government's most urgent job was to restore stability in our public finances and confidence in the British economy. In just two years we have cut the deficit by a quarter and have set out a credible path towards our goal to balance the current budget over the economic cycle."

But the Labour leader attacked the government's economic record, adding that the review had "no real substance and no real detail".

"All the promises they made to us about what they would achieve about economic growth haven't come true. They are struggling to reduce the deficit this year, the central promise that they made to the country," Mr Miliband said.

The SNP's Angus Robertson said: "Since David Cameron and Nick Clegg's infamous rose garden media appearance, the Westminster government's promises on issue after issue lie in tatters.

"Pledges on meeting borrowing reduction targets, on reversing years of decline to Scotland's defence footprint and on reforming the House of Lords - to name but a few - have all been abandoned."

Ed Miliband says the coalition's plans have "no real substance and no real detail"

John Cridland, director general of the Confederation for British Industry, said: "The coalition deserves high marks for its commitment to tackle the deficit and its plan for growth.

"But... growth-boosting measures like house, road and rail building are getting too bogged down in the planning and procurement process. We don't need a flurry of new announcements, but we do need to see the coalition's ideas translated into action now."

Unlock Democracy, which campaigns for democratic reform, criticised the government's record on political reform and said the review did little to take forward earlier commitments on regulating lobbyists, recalling MPs and reforming the funding of political parties.

"Overall, this is a far cry from Nick Clegg's early promise of the 'biggest shake-up of our democracy' since 1832," the group said.

On plans to increase private investment in roads, the Campaign for Better Transport - which supports sustainable transport - said the lack of detail on the plans showed the policy was "unworkable".

 

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  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 428.

    388.steve
    Perhaps when the left can focus on policies & sensible opposition rather than resorting to class hatred & bigoted comments about "right wing toffs" their opinions might find some gravitas. Until then it's a bit of a nonsence to critisise Torys or libdems as "Incompetent Millionaires" given the history & wealth in the Shadow Cabinet!

  • Comment number 427.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 426.

    Anyone wanting to get rid of this shower start campaigning now. They are bad for 95% + of the population. A cabinet made up of millionaires for millionaires. Aspiring people treated as useful idiots, everyone else with even more contempt. The debt will never be paid back unless the economy grows which the coalitions policies prevent.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 425.

    totally agree with 43 TRONIC.About time somebody looked after the interests of the British people,and stopped lying,in order to gain votes.Despite obvious differences,these parties have never been closer together.These are professional MPs who do nothing more than feather their nests.Just look at our EU representation in Brussels.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 424.

    Maybe Go Compare could do their black hole stuff with Cameron Dave, Clegg & Ed lame duck Miliband.

  • rate this
    -5

    Comment number 423.

    75.
    I think you would be far more scathing if the government had not changed their promises on getting to power and finding just how broke the economy and the banking sectoir really was.
    We would be in a far worse state if the spending promises had not been moderated. As for those that got us there....

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 422.

    Its a dream government for both of them. Go left blame right. Go right blame left. Too easy but remember we are all ConDem'd together.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 421.

    Ah, politicians.

    We over-scrutinise everything they say on the record, off the record or even off the cuff. We expect miracles from them but blame them for everything. We let them take credit for everything but never let them be wrong. We never let them change their minds or give us bad news. In short, we encourage vain, disingenuous, pig-headed salesmen.

    So that is what we get.

  • rate this
    +88

    Comment number 420.

    Don't they realise that this kind of self aggrandising PR stuff is exactly what puts the electorate off politicians. Would be better if they just came out and told us by when they think they will have really made a difference and how we, the electorate will be able to tell.

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 419.

    This really is a triumph over adversity and shows how good things can be when 2 moderate parties can come together and
    compromise. It is a win win situation except for poor old Labour.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 418.

    Graphis @380
    "at random, like jurors"
    Our choice of politicians
    "civic duty, not a career"

    Better, let us agree Income Equality, allowing vocation and trust, freedom from conflict of interest, an end of corruption, all of us 'representing' each other in every post

    No "jurors" will 'command the respect' of the 'mafia' allowed control of 'commanding heights', education, industry & media

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 417.

    How can they celebrate when they have cut so much and yet themselves are still being paid too much from the public purse. They still claim full expenses and their pay has not decreased to help towards tackling the debt. We have too many MPs and i thought we were cutting the number down. I wonder what waffle we shall hear from those two, no wonder no one trusts MPs anymore.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 416.

    YouGov poll for the Sunday Times This week’s topline figures are CON 32%, LAB 43%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 9%, These figures have been pretty steady for over 12 months
    -
    So Labour is now more popular than Omni and Shambles put together.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 415.

    Cameron and Clegg have handed the next election to the Labour party with their proposal to create a legal definition that conflicts with its authentic nature and purpose: a piece of legislation which was in nobody's manifesto. They have alienated their core support.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 414.

    If you ever wanted proof that politicians lie, here it is: Steadfast and united!

    Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 413.

    379. Baggins

    Please don't insult the great Laurel & Hardy by comparing them to these two idiots. L&H were actually very clever men who knew exactly what they were doing: that isn't something you can say about Cam & Clegg!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 412.

    "Steadfast and United"? Sounds like a mutual insurance firm from the 1950's!

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 411.

    It has been suggested Cameron & Clegg are both Freemasons - which would go a long way to explain their brotherly love even though their parties policies are supposed to be far from one another.

    The Clegg family owns a Russian Pyramid. Look it up if you dont believe me.

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 410.

    I like the transparency of this government. It is a very sharp contrast to Labour's systemic dishonesty.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 409.

    I agree, the coalition are indeed steadfast and united.

    Steadfast and united on the road to destruction of this once great country, true enough, but politicians don't seam to mind that, as long as their image in intact.

 

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