Cameron 'committed' to coalition

The coalition Government "is as good today as it was a year ago", Prime Minister David Cameron insisted today as the Liberal Democrats suffered heavy defeats in the local elections.

With a victory for the No campaign in the alternative vote (AV) referendum looming later tonight, Mr Cameron sought to play down divisions in the coalition as some Liberal Democrat activists openly questioned Nick Clegg's leadership.



In an attempt to ease tensions between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, the Prime Minister warned against any self-congratulatory back-slapping should the No to AV campaign seal victory as expected tonight.



He said that while the Tories and their coalition partners had "different histories and traditions and sometimes quite different views", the parties were working together to sort out the long-term problems the country faced.



"That is what we are committed to do and I am absolutely committed to make this coalition Government, which I believe is good for Britain, work for the full five years of this term," Mr Cameron said.



"It is then that I believe the coalition and its parties will be judged by the electorate.



"But I would pay tribute to the work that Liberal Democrats have done, and are doing, in this coalition and will go on doing because we are absolutely committed to make sure it works hard for the people of Britain."



Asked how much trust had been lost between the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives in the run-up to the AV referendum, Mr Cameron said: "We always knew the referendum would mean the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats disagreeing and being on opposite sides of the campaign, with one campaigning for Yes and the other campaigning for No.



"I hope there will be a clear result this evening, and whether it is a yes or a no, there will be no celebrating, there will be no congratulations.



"The issue will be settled, we will then get on with the vital work we are doing as a coalition Government, governing in the national interest.



"That is what I am absolutely committed to doing and it will be a coalition Government that is for the whole of the country. This is not about trading one policy for another, it is about doing the right thing for Britain.



"That is what I believe, that is what Nick Clegg believes, and that is what we will do for our country."



For the Tory party, the results from yesterday's election were not as bad as feared.



Mr Cameron said the Tory vote had "held up" despite the Government having to take "difficult decisions in the national interest".



He said the Conservative Party had "done well" as he hailed Tory councils and councillors for "doing a good job up and down the country".









Speaking during a visit to Conservative HQ in Westminster to congratulate party workers following the local elections, Mr Cameron added: "Of course, the Government has had to take difficult long-term decisions in the national interest and that always makes local elections difficult.



"But what I would say about these results is actually the Conservative Party has done well and I have been thanking my campaigning team here.



"The Conservative vote share has held up and I think the Conservative councils and councillors have done a good job up and down the country providing quality services but keeping their costs and tax bills under control.



"I also think we fought a strong campaign explaining why we took difficult decisions to sort out the mess we inherited from Labour."



The Prime Minister also sought to play down the prospect of any potential referendum on Scottish independence after significant gains for the nationalists north of the border.



He congratulated SNP leader Alex Salmond on the party's emphatic win but added that as Prime Minister he "passionately believed" in the union.



"I will do everything, obviously, as British Prime Minister to work with the First Minister of Scotland, as I will always do, and to treat the Scottish people and the Scottish Government with the respect they deserve.



"But on the issue of the United Kingdom, if they want to hold a referendum, I will campaign to keep our United Kingdom together with every single fibre I have."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
Lois Pryce... Life Without a Postcode. Lois lives on a boat with her husband.. Registering to vote in the election has prooved to be very difficult without a fixed residential post code. (David Sandison)
newsHow living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Sport
Steven Fletcher scores the second goal for Scotland
cricketBut they have to bounce back to beat Gibraltar in Euro 2016 qualifier
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing