Cameron and Clegg pledge no split before 2015

Cameron and Clegg pledge no split before 2015

LONDON - Reuters
Cameron and Clegg pledge no split before 2015

PM Cameron and and his deputy Clegg give a press conference in London. REUTERS photo

The leaders of Britain’s governing coalition parties put on a show of unity on Jan. 7, saying they would stay together until 2015 to try to reduce a large budget deficit despite policy differences over the European Union and state handouts.

Under pressure from supporters to reassert their own party identities, Prime Minister David Cameron, a Conservative, and Nick Clegg, his deputy and a Liberal Democrat, appeared together to list their past achievements and future aims.

Both poured cold water on the idea that policy differences over the possibility of repatriating powers from the EU, and over the pace and severity of budget cuts, had undermined their alliance or might one day rip it apart. “This is a full five-year coalition. The public wants us to work hard on their behalf right through this Parliament,” Cameron said at a joint news conference with Clegg.

Clegg said the choice when they formed an alliance in 2010 had been to either “throw rocks at each other .... when we were teetering on the edge of an economic cliff” or to work together.

With both parties badly trailing the opposition Labour party in opinion polls, supporters are calling for them to begin to disengage from one another ahead of an election in 2015 to boost their electoral prospects. The left-leaning Liberal Democrats have seen their popularity slump due to policy compromises, while many Conservative lawmakers see the Liberal Democrats as a brake on the party’s ambitions.