Coalition 'will last until 2015': Nick Clegg renews vows but warns David Cameron about danger of Europe and gay marriage rifts
Deputy Prime Minister says Lib Dems will fight the next election as a party of government, on their record and 'with a distinct vision of our own for the next government'
Andrew Grice has been Political Editor of The Independent since 1998. He was previously Political Editor of The Sunday Times, where he worked for 10 years, and he has been a Westminster-based journalist since 1982. His column, Inside Politics, appears in The Independent each Saturday.
Wednesday 22 May 2013
Nick Clegg will insist today that the Coalition will last until 2015 but will warn David Cameron not to allow it to be blown off course by Conservative infighting.
In a speech in London, the Deputy Prime Minister will express concern that Tory divisions over Europe and gay marriage in the past two weeks have made the Government look introverted.
“Anyone watching would be forgiven for asking: what are these politicians doing?” he will say. “So it's time to get back to governing; providing the leadership and focus the people of Britain deserve in these difficult times… We cannot allow parliament to be clogged up by these matters simply because they cause the biggest political punch-ups.”
The Liberal Democrat leader will insist that both he and Mr Cameron remain “absolutely committed” to governing in coalition until the May 2015 general election. While admitting there will be more disagreements as the election approaches, he will say that “prematurely pulling the plug” on the Coalition would not be in either party’s interests.
Mr Clegg will rebuff Liberal Democrats who want to end the Coalition six months before the election. “The idea that the Lib Dems could suddenly win back those people who have never liked us going into government with the Conservatives is nonsense,” he will say. “As if we could pull the wool over people’s eyes, using an early exit to somehow erase the previous four and a half years.” He will say that the Lib Dems will fight the election as a party of government, on their record and “with a distinct vision of our own for the next government – having seen this one through to the end.”
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