A relationship on the rocks

David Cameron at the 2010 Conservative Party conference The match between Mr Cameron and the Conservatives was never based on love or passion

He was young. He was handsome. He said what they wanted to hear.

It was time, he told them, to show they cared, to move with the times. They needn't worry, though, because he shared their core beliefs.

The marriage between David Cameron and the Conservative Party is on the rocks. He is exasperated with his party for being stuck in its old ways. They fear that he never really loved them at all.

So long as being a "modern, compassionate Conservative" involved wearing jeans and trainers few had a problem.

If it meant proclaiming your love for the National Health Service, concern for the environment or passion for the Big Society (whatever that was) not many could object.

It all began to go wrong when he chose to jump into bed with another man and another party. David was seen to be "agreeing with Nick" more often than he agreed with them.

David Cameron had reassured his party that he was a staunch believer in marriage but the coalition is proposing to promote marriages which many Tory activists do not regard as marriages at all - between two men or two women and not a man and a woman.

The proposal was not in the Tory manifesto and it was not in the coalition agreement. Many Tories suspect that it was unveiled to show the prime minister in a Clause Four style challenge to his own grassroots - or, as someone may or may not have said, the "swivel-eyed loons."

The prime minister convinced his party that he was a sceptic about another relationship - Britain's membership of the EU but many do not understand why he won't now take advantage of the crisis in the Euro-zone to sue for divorce.

And now he's being challenged by a man with a twinkle in his eye, a pint in his hand who says the things many Tories would dearly love to say - things that Nigel will say but David never would.

The match between Mr Cameron and the Conservative Party was never based on love or passion. It was a cold blooded political calculation. It's now in real trouble.

Nick Robinson, Political editor Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

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