UK Politics

David Cameron 'more committed to coalition than in 2010'

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Media captionDavid Cameron: "I don't accept the 'warring couple' analogy"

Prime Minister David Cameron has said he is "now even more committed" to the coalition government than when it was formed after the 2010 general election.

The Conservative leader said there was "huge momentum" behind the areas where his party and the Lib Dems were agreed.

These included ending the economy's over-reliance on the financial sector and on the south east of England.

Deputy PM Nick Clegg said the two did not agree on everything, but they worked together in the UK's interest.

The Lib Dem leader said everyone in the coalition wanted to see a Britain where every toddler had the chance to live out their dreams.

The two men were appearing together in the West Midlands after announcing a £9bn package of rail investment from 2014.

Their joint appearance, on the eve of Parliament beginning its summer break, came after rising tensions between the Conservative and Lib Dem coalition partners over issues such as House of Lords reform.

Some Conservative MPs have been speculating that the coalition may break up well before the scheduled date of the next election in May 2015.

But Mr Cameron said the coalition had "real purpose and a real mission" and was united in the desire to rebuild the economy, increase educational opportunities and reform welfare to make work pay.

"I just want to say I am even more committed to coalition government... today than I was in May 2010 when Nick Clegg and I formed this government."

He said governments around Europe were being "buffeted" by economic problems and a single-party, minority administration in the UK, which some Conservative MPs have called for, would struggle to "carry legislation, take rapid decisions and implement those decisions".

"It is vital the government has the majority, the decisiveness and the strength to keep our country safe," he added.

Arguments over House of Lords were "not an indicator" of deeper schisms within the coalition, he added, claiming he and Mr Clegg "got on better" than senior figures in the last Labour government.

The deputy prime minister said it was a "tough" time to be in power and, referring to the duo's Downing Street press conference unveiling the coalition in 2010, insisted that government was "not always a walk in the park or in the Rose Garden".

'Mid-term review'

Mr Clegg described arguments over the House of Lords as a "bump in the road in the Westminster Village" that will "not stop us from continuing to govern in the national interest for the whole country".

"This is a coalition of two parties doing big, bold and difficult things for the long-term benefit of the country," he said.

He warned colleagues against "losing their nerve" and said he would bet "a considerable amount of money" on the coalition's survival until 2015.

Mr Cameron said the government would be publishing a "mid-term review" in the autumn about what the coalition had achieved so far and an outline of future "goals and objectives".

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Media captionBoris Johnson: ''This is a marriage that is doomed to succeed''

He denied it would be a "coalition agreement mark two" - saying there was still much to do in implementing the original May 2010 accord - but a "slimmed down document" auditing past successes and setting out future challenges.

The BBC News Channel's chief political correspondent Norman Smith said the two men were determined not merely to defend the coalition but project an ambitious future agenda for the government.

Earlier on Monday London mayor Boris Johnson said he thought the coalition government would last to 2015, telling the BBC it was "doomed to succeed".

Mr Johnson told BBC Breakfast that the coalition would "continue absolutely until the last moment when it is necessary to part in order for two parties to go into two campaigns on separate manifestos".

Labour front bencher Michael Dugher responded to the PM and deputy PM's appearance by saying: "What planet are they living on? Cameron and Clegg's time would be better spent addressing the needs of the country, rather than patting each other on the back at press conferences. It's the policies that need fixing - not their PR."

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