PM issued Cabinet plea to Lib Dems
David Cameron has revealed that he issued a Cabinet meeting plea to the Liberal Democrats not to allow increasingly hostile election campaigning to derail the remaining months of the coalition Government.
In an rare disclosure of the content of discussions around the Downing Street table, the Prime Minister indicated that he had voiced concerns that important legislation must be passed - including new anti-terror measures.
The meeting came shortly before the Tories appeared to ease a coalition row over Nick Clegg's demand for judicial oversight of new exclusion orders by indicating the idea would be re-examined when the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill reaches the Lords.
But as May's general election looms, there is the clear prospect that the two parties will find it increasingly difficult to co-operate at Westminster while seeking to highlight their differences to voters.
"A lot of people thought it wouldn't last but I think we've run a good, strong, positive government that has helped to turn the country around," Mr Cameron told BBC West Midlands radio in an interview recorded immediately after ministers held their weekly gathering yesterday.
"I was saying at the cabinet meeting ... to Nick Clegg and his colleagues: 'look, we are in partnership and we should make this partnership work for the people of Britain right up to the start of the election campaign'.
"There is still important legislation going through Parliament as we speak - combating terrorism, giving people greater freedom to spend their pension money - and I want these things to be done properly.
"So, yes, there will be a bit of bickering. Yes, there will be some noises between the parties, but people should be in no doubt that this Government is going to go all the way to the wire."
Mr Cameron insisted, however, that he did not want anyone but Tories around the cabinet table after this year's election, quipping: "The only person I want to get into bed with is Mrs Cameron.
"That's why I'm fighting hard for an all-out win."
With another hung parliament considered the most likely outcome in May, he warned a nything other than a majority Conservative administration could mean "chaos".
The PM also admitted to piling on a few pounds over the festive period.
"You're right, I have put on a bit over Christmas," he said when quizzed about the apparently fuller figure on show when he competed in an annual challenge run over the festive period.
"I've was out pounding the pavements yesterday on a run and I'm doing a bit of light dieting over the next few weeks, and hopefully I'll shed a few pounds.
"I expect there are many people listening trying to do the same thing but it's certainly true that it's easier to put it on than take it off."
He said he had not been on the scales to measure the damage but "can just tell from a little bit of tightness around the belt buckle".
"Hopefully in a month's time you'll see a slightly leaner, fitter...but not much."
Asked about his running regime - of "a couple of miles every other day" - he told host Danny Kelly: "If I told you where I went for a run, I'd probably have to kill you."
Revealing that one of his favourite runs was along Birmingham's canals - "even first thing in the morning when there's a bit of detritus left over from the night before" - he was warned he needed to avoid dog mess.
"I'm always pretty nifty on my feet; I know how to dodge those," he said.