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PM brushes off talk of Ukip deal

David Cameron has poured cold water on speculation of a post-election deal with Ukip, saying that the prospect of meeting their demand for a referendum this year on Britain's EU membership was "pretty slim".

Speaking to ITV1's Good Morning Britain, the Prime Minister made clear he would not talk about possible coalitions until after the May 7 election, insisting he still believes his goal of an overall Conservative majority "can be done".

Asked whether he would stay on as Conservative leader if he fails to win power, Mr Cameron told interviewer Susanna Reid: "That's a matter for the public and a matter for the party."

But in an apparent acknowledgement that election defeat could end his leadership reign, t he Prime Minister told London's Evening Standard he would not put the "mark of Cain" on any potential successor "if my party decided to move on without me".

He said: " All I will say is that I think you see a group of very strong competent leaders behind me. Boris (Johnson) is a huge talent, George (Osborne), Theresa May, Michael Gove, Philip Hammond. I can't wait until Boris gets back. George and I were discussing it just this morning."

The Prime Minister indicated that London mayor Mr Johnson would not walk straight into a ministerial role if he wins the safe Uxbridge and South Ruislip seat on May 7.

"He has got to finish being mayor", Mr Cameron said, referring to the end of Mr Johnson's term at City Hall in May next year.

"Boris can do anything, he defies all laws of political logic and gravity. I think he needs to focus on being mayor, strongly. Being MP and the mayor is quite a lot."

The Prime Minister has vowed to renegotiate the terms of the UK's membership of the European Union before holding an in/out referendum by the end of 2017 although he would be "delighted" to have the vote earlier.

"I have said there will be a renegotiation and then a referendum. Obviously, the sooner that renegotiation can get done, the better," he told Good Morning Britain.

But in response to the timetable demanded by Mr Farage, the Prime Minister said: "I would have thought, frankly, the chance of doing that in 2015 after an election in May is pretty slim.

"I'm going to spend the next 50-odd days campaigning for a Conservative majority Government. I think it can be done. If I fall short, you can ask me the next day what I'll do about it."

The interviews formed part of a series of media engagements aimed at showing the private side of prime ministerial life as Mr Cameron seeks to win over voters in the run-up to the election.

Mr Cameron wore a spy camera for the Sun to give a prime minister's-eye view of the walk into No 10 from his official car, as part of a "day in the life" feature.

He also told the Evening Standard he finds the job "knackering" and was kept sane by his wife Samantha.

During the interview with Reid, Mr Cameron opened up about family life behind the famous black door.

He said he tries to be a "reasonable dad" to this three children but admitted to feeling guilty about the amount of time he spends working.

With the opinion polls indicating a very tight general election result, Mr Cameron said his three children - Florence, four, Elwen, nine and Nancy, 11 - were "very keen that the blue team win".

Asked whether he felt "working parent guilt", Mr Cameron said: "Sometimes. I take them to school maybe once a fortnight. Sometimes that slips and I feel sad.

"Of course there are things you miss. I think school parent evenings - not as many as I should; homework - not as much as I should."

Asked whether the children had been teased because of his job, he said: "A little bit, but it seems to have been OK."

He said the kitchen was "at the heart" of his home in No 10. " Sam has done a brilliant job making it as different as possible to the rest of the building," he said.

Mr Cameron, who has a live-in nanny, said childcare was the most important issue to many working families.

He said: "We are very lucky, we have a live-in nanny who helps with the children and we pay her. That is the biggest element of the cost and that's very expensive, we are only able to do that because Samantha and me, we are both working."

He added that his wife would make a good prime minister, saying: "I'm sure she would. She would be very good at running anything but she'll sometimes say 'What are you grappling with at the moment?'.

"She's not on it all the time, it's not her thing, that's my thing, but she's very good at ... giving a big picture view."

He told the Evening Standard: "She is my light and dark, my support, my everything. She is very good at making you focus, that the work is important but so is being a good dad."

Mr Cameron admitted he felt the strain of his job and dismissed the suggestion that he was an "essay crisis" leader who took issues seriously only at the last minute.

"I have a good team and I try to make sure I get some rest so I am not completely shattered," he said. "But I don't want anyone to think this is not an exhausting job, it is completely exhausting."

With the election looming, Mr Cameron said "p eople are starting to focus on what is at stake" but "I am not treating this like an essay crisis, I am working extremely hard".


From Belfast Telegraph