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Nick Clegg and David Cameron bond needs to extend to their parties

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David Cameron and Nick Clegg

David Cameron and Nick Clegg

David Cameron and Nick Clegg

The new British government has achieved a lot in just two weeks. It would surely have taken about two months on the Continent, where coalitions are much more common.

The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have reached agreement on £6.2bn of immediate cuts, a significant U-turn by the Liberal Democrats since the election campaign which they struggle to explain.

In return, Nick Clegg has persuaded David Cameron to adopt a long list of political reforms including an elected House of Lords and a referendum on Commons voting.

The coalition has reached deals on about 400 policy areas, even if more than 20 tricky issues remain under review. Their “coalition agreement” meant there were few surprises in the Queen's Speech yesterday.

Despite the obvious need to compromise, the Government seems to have achieved the momentum Mr Cameron would have wanted if the Tories had won the election outright.

His bonding with Mr Clegg is real, not for show. The two leaders find themselves instinctively reacting the same way when problems arise. They are very similar political animals. Their challenge now is to make sure their two parties bond too.

Team Cameron is keen to integrate the parties’ media operations to head off the possibility of damaging splits, but the Liberal Democrats want to assure their members that they are keeping the flame burning.

A lot of hard pounding lies ahead if the coalition is to prove a success.

Belfast Telegraph