Coalition Government: Cameron and Clegg shake on new pact

David Cameron will lead a government with five Liberal Democrats in the Cabinet - giving them the reins of power for the first time in 65 years...


David Cameron and Nick Clegg have shaken hands on the steps of Number 10 Downing Street this morning, before getting down to the business of running the country.

The pair went to work hours after finally putting together their historic Tory/Lib Dem coalition government. Mr Cameron, 43, is the youngest premier since Lord Liverpool almost 200 years ago, and the first Conservative in No 10 since John Major departed 13 years ago.

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The new Prime Minister promised the union would be a ‘full and proper’ coalition between the two parties, with Mr Clegg becoming Deputy PM and four other Lib Dem MPs appointed ministers in the new administration.

Mr Cameron said there would be ‘hard and difficult work’ ahead and said his administration would focus on ‘rebuilding family, rebuilding community, above all, rebuilding responsibility in our country’.

The key jobs of Chancellor and Foreign Secretary go to Tories George Osborne and William Hague. Liberal Democrat David Laws, who played a key role in the formation of the coalition as part of his party’s negotiation team, is widely reported to be lined up for the job of schools secretary.

Mr Laws said that mechanisms were being created to ensure that the two sides of Government functioned effectively in crises. ‘If there is an immediate response required from the Government, then there will obviously have to be detailed discussions between the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister,’ he said.

‘Those discussions can take place within a matter of minutes or seconds… if it’s incredibly time-sensitive. Otherwise there will be arrangements for consultation between the parties.’

However, many are unsure of how long the coalition will last, with the Mirror‘s Kevin Maguire predicting that the ‘marriage of convenience will end in divorce,’ and stirrings of discontent among Conservative activists about the General Election campaign which failed to win the party an outright majority in Parliament.

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