David Cameron: Clegg has not sold out
Prime Minister David Cameron has rode to the defence of his deputy Nick Clegg, denying that the Liberal Democrat leader had "sold out" to join the coalition Government.
Mr Cameron insisted that the Deputy Prime Minister and his party had a "huge influence" over coalition policy, including the Government's controversial first Budget.
He said that the Lib Dems and the Conservatives were joined together in Government in a true partnership.
"This is not a Conservative Government with a sort of Liberal Democrat appendage. This is a partnership Government," he said in an interview with Real Radio in Yorkshire.
"I want people who voted Liberal Democrat to know, not that they are being taken for a ride in some way - they are absolutely not. I don't take steps without consulting with Nick, we work very, very closely together.
"It really is a partnership, it is not one plus a half, it is one plus one."
Mr Cameron was speaking after his first regional Cabinet meeting, held in Bradford, West Yorkshire.
His comments came amid growing unease within the Lib Dem ranks at the direction the coalition is taking.
On Monday night two Lib Dem MPs - Bob Russell and Mike Hancock - voted against the Budget rise in VAT in the first rebellion of the new the Parliament.
Mr Cameron said that Mr Clegg and the Lib Dem Treasury Chief Secretary Danny Alexander had played an important role in shaping the Budget.