Big picture or big problem?

A cross-party committee of MPs wants it. The Labour leader wants it. So too do many Tory backbenchers. David Cameron knows that is a coalition which might prove impossible to resist which is why he said this morning "it shouldn't be ruled out of hand". However, for the sake of THE coalition he stuck to the agreed line that the case for a referendum on House of Lords reform was not a strong one.

The prime minister is trying to get his government back on track today after what he acknowledges was a pretty shaky month. Expect him to talk again and again about "the Big Picture" which means re-stating this government's mission - to cut the deficit - and insisting that its policies - on the economy, welfare and education - are aimed at helping hard-working taxpayers and not the rich.

His problem, of course, is not just the legacy of the past few weeks but the fact that the internal rows about Lords reform will offer up a daily narrative of splits and rebellions to a press that has fallen out of love with the Tories.

If that isn't enough to cause him problems, the Leveson Inquiry will present another daily and unhelpful narrative as first press barons, and then the politicians, are forced to reveal in public the private cosying up which has gone on for years on both sides of the political divide.

Mr Cameron looks and sounds - and apparently is - relaxed: precisely what alarms some of his own troops who think this is as good a time as any to panic.

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