Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 27 November 2014

David Cameron appeals for Tories ‘to get used to the new world’

David Cameron appealed for Tory backbenchers to “get used to the new world” yesterday as he and Nick Clegg unveiled their full coalition deal.

The Prime Minister and his deputy hailed the detailed programme, insisting it built on the best of the Conservative and Lib Dem manifestos.

But, with growing signs of disquiet amid their rank-and-file, both men admitted that key policies had been “discarded” as part of the negotiation process.

They were also forced to play down criticism that decisions on many contentious issues had merely been put off.

Launching the 32-page document alongside senior Cabinet ministers at the Treasury, Mr Cameron said it could deliver “strong, stable Government” for five years.

“The more that we talked, the more we listened, the more we realised that our visions for the future and the values that inspired them are strengthened and enhanced by each of the two parties coming together,” he said.

For his part, Mr Clegg insisted: “Even if you've read 100 party manifestos, you've never read a document like this one.

“Not one party's ideas, not even just two parties' ideas, but a joint programme for Government based on shared ambitions and shared goals.

“Compromises have, of course, been made on both sides, but those compromises have strengthened, not weakened, the final result.”

The document — titled Coalition: Our programme for Government — fleshes out the four page draft deal hammered out in the wake of the inconclusive General Election. It covers 31 areas ranging from banking to universities and further education.

Moves to scrap ID cards and the National Identity Register are confirmed, as well as the introduction of a Freedom Bill to bolster civil liberties, and schools reforms.

There is also a new commitment on providing anonymity for defendants in rape cases, which did not appear in either party's manifesto.

But a number of Tory pledges have been dropped or watered down, including the introduction of a Sovereignty Bill, trying to repatriate powers from the EU, scrapping the Human Rights Act and Financial Services Authority, repealing the fox-hunting ban, cutting stamp duty and imposing a levy on non-doms.

The Lib Dems have abandoned commitments including an “earned amnesty” for illegal immigrants, and ruling out military action against Iran.

Asked if his backbenchers were right to be angry at the promises that had been lost as a result of the negotiation, Mr Cameron replied: “Of course, people will be disappointed that some policies have had to be discarded. It's not just about day-to-day events, it's about a shared vision.”

He went on: “It's clear we are all going to have to get used to a new world...

“Yes, of course some things have to change. That is a state of mind we have to get into, the whole party has to get into.”

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