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3.49pm: We’ll be closing this blog down now and starting a new one if anything particularly interesting happens during David Miliband’s statement. If not, we’ll bring it to you in a single summary post.
3.32pm: The parliamentary Labour party has been meeting and are soon to come out. Meanwhile, I’ll tell you about an interview John Sopel just did on the BBC with Bill Cash, the fiercely Eurosceptic Tory MP. Cash approved of the coalition, in spite of Mr Clegg’s Europhilia – but only just. He was much more aggressive than Cameron had been towards his coalition partners, telling Sopel:
It is clear that the centre of ground has shifted to the Conservatives on Europe.
He added warnings that the Lib Dems would have to “understand and respect” Tory red lines on Europe and immigration. So far they have, with the agreement ruling out the Euro, insisting on a referendum for any future EU treaty and implementing a cap on non-EU immigration. But can this truce last? Cash says:
I believe it can and very much hope it will.
He doesn’t sound unequivocal to me.
3.24pm: It seems the Clameron government has taken its first decision, cancelling the third runway at Heathrow. That will please the green elements of the Lib Dems, not to mention Boris Johnson. It might not be so popular with some of the more climate-change-sceptic among the Tories though.
3.18pm: Jeremy Hunt looks likely to become culture secretary, having held that position in the shadow cabinet.
3.15pm: Philip Hammond has gone into Number 10. His shadow brief of chief secretary to the Treasuryhas been taken by David Laws, so I wonder what he will be offered? And I heard a rumour earlier (warning: only a rumour) that Chris Grayling, the former shadow home secretary, will be relegated to be Iain Duncan Smith’s number two at the department for work and pensions.
3.07pm: The BBC is reporting that Eric Pickles will be made communities secretary, which was the Tory chairman and prolific tweeter’s job in the shadow cabinet.
3.01pm: David Miliband is due to make a statement at 3.30pm (see Jim’s post above). We’ll try and bring that to you live, whatever he announces(!)
2.56pm: Now the conference is over we’ll keep this blog updated with new information as it comes out, including anything we spot in the full document and ministerial appointments.
2.54pm: Here is the full agreement between the two parties. James Boxell, our home affairs correspondent highlights these points:
The £6bn cuts planned for this year will be “subject to advice from the Treasury and the Bank of England on their feasibility”.
“Robust action to tackle unacceptable bonuses in the financial services sector”.
Parliament can be dissolved before the five-year deadline is up if 55 per cent of Commons votes in favour.
2.49pm: The Telegraph’s James Kirkup tweets:
“Oh god. The country is now being run by two characters from a Richard Curtis film.“
2.49pm: The BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg says the conference was pretty much 50/50, but Jim points out:
Did you notice DC saying: “I have to appoint the rest of this cabinet,” not, “We have to?”
Personally I liked the competition of who-can-slap-the-other’s-back-last on the steps of Number 10 earlier.
2.47pm: For once the hyperbole of the rolling news channels seems apt. That was pretty “extraordinary”, and I think the hacks were a little taken aback to be confronted with such a love-in from two former rivals.
2.46pm: If you think the possible battle at the top of this election could be interesting, Jim points out that there are no fewer than five existing or former leaders in this government: Cameron, Clegg, Hague, Cable and Duncan Smith. How will they all get on? And is this a record?
2.45pm: As for the Thirsk byelection, Cameron promises an “intensely reasonable campaign”. He also says they will legislate for fixed 5-year parliaments, and insists that he coalition agreement will have the firm support of all Tory and Lib Dem MPs.
2.43pm: A very fair question to Cameron – if coalitions are so great, why not back PR? Cameron has said he will have a referendum on AV, saying that is the Tory party “going the extra mile”. He says people will be able to campaign freely on which side they support in that referendum. Don’t expect many Tory MPs to campaign in favour of it.
2.42pm: Our own George Parker asks whether Vince Cable’s support of abolishing the department of business had changed. Clegg says it has, because of the “hammer blow” of the financial crisis.
2.41pm: Cameron tries to rebrand his joke as “minor disagreements on policy”. I’m not sure that will work every time, and he’s bound to be confronted by similar quotes over the next few days.
2.39pm: Cameron is confronted by a former quote. When asked what his favourite joke was he replied “Nick Clegg”. Clegg pretends to walk off. That was genuinely funny.
2.39pm: Both Cameron and Clegg are answering each question. This could take a while.
2.38pm: Cameron says “This will succeed throufgh its success.” I think he means that if it looks like it is succeeding, the two parties will sign up behind it.
2.37pm: Jon Snow asks “If the phone rings at 3 in the morning, do you both have to answer it?” Cameron says “This is not going to be a partnership where we have to schedule meetings”. They seem to suggest they will have linking offices in Downing Street.
2.35pm: Cameron says PMQs will be a “different beast”, but what he describes – him taking questions, but Clegg standing in if he is absent – sounds pretty much the same to me.
2.34pm: Cameron and Clegg try a joint joke. Unsurprisingly it doesn’t work. Cameron suggests they will share a car to travel to the Thirsk byelection, where both parties will be fielding competing candidate. Clegg delivers the punchline “Maybe we’ll get out of different sides.”
2.32pm: Nick Robinson asks whether the country is under permanent joint leadership. So far it has looked like that, but as Cameron points out, we are only one day into the government. Cameron talks about “the huge responsibility that has now landed on my shoulders”, so some sense of individual leadership there. He says the two are going to do things together and forming “one strong team in government”.
2.31pm: Cameron says they went into coalition because the alternative was “so uninspiring”. As Gary Gibbons of Channel 4 news pointed out, they are making this sound as if the coalition was a stated mission of the two parties rather than an electoral accident.
2.30pm: Cameron takes over and answers the first question first. The first sign of him taking control.
2.29pm: Clegg talks about taking power away from politicians and giving it to people. Is he a convert to the Big Society?
2.29pm: Clegg is still stressing fairness. In some ways their rhetoric hasn’t changed too much since the campaign.
2.28pm: Clegg insists they will remain two separate parties. That throws up some interesting questions (see Robert’s post below).
2.27pm: Clegg says the government will be radical and reforming, but also stable and reassuring. Is he trying to present his party as radical and reforming and the Tories as stable and reassuring? Perhaps it is too early to lok for splits…
2.26pm: Cameron talks of “the two of us together” and invites Clegg to speak.
2.25pm: Cameron claims this is a “new progressive partnership”. Not sure whether that will stick.
2.24pm: Cameron says he is not just announcing a new government and new ministers, but a new politics – one based on the national interest, not party interests. He accuses Labour of “chronic short-termism”.
2.23pm: Clegg will sit next to Cameron at cabinet, Cameron seems to suggest, and Lib Dems will be present at every level of government.
2.22pm: There will be three key principles of the Lib-Con coalition: freedom, fairness and responsibility.
2.21pm: Here comes Prime Minister Clameron.
2.18pm: Apologies for the delay. We are just waiting for Messrs Clegg and Cameron to finish handing out the cabinet jobs inside Number 10. Is this the first time two people have jointly held these meetings?
2.11pm: Just a few minutes before it is officially announced in the Downing Street rose garden, the policy agreement between the Tories and Lib Dems has been handed to reporters. Most of the details have already been made public, but among previously unreported measures there will be a tax on planes (although not passengers).
2.06pm: Mervyn King got into trouble during the campaign for being a bit too outspoken against Labour ministers. Now the campaign is over, it seems he is off the leash once more. Launching the quarterly inflation report, he praised Tory plans to make £6bn in cuts this year to start reducing the deficit. “It is imperative that our own fiscal problems are dealt with sooner rather than later,” he said.
1.58pm: Ken Clarke has been busy building confidence among the legal community. “I’m completely out of date on issues that are terribly important,” he told the BBC.
1.53pm: There will be a joint Cameron/Clegg press conference at 2.15pm. The personal chemistry will be fascinating – will Clegg let Cameron take charge of proceedings or will it be more 50/50? Until then, we in the office are musing on the fate of Chris Grayling. The former shadow home secretary made himself unpopular with the leadership by saying B&Bs should be allowed to ban gay couples – not very on message with the new friendly Tory party. It had been widely expected that he would be shunted away from the home secretary job but it now seems there are not many other jobs he could do instead. A complete demotion from the cabinet then?
1.42pm: News from the other side of the Commons. We may yet see a contest between the brothers Miliband for the leadership but we will not see a contest between a husband and wife. Although Ed Balls is likely to run, his wife Yvette Cooper earlier confirmed she would not.
1.39pm: There may also be cabinet roles for Caroline Spelman, previously shadow communities secretary and Baroness Warsi, who was shadow minister for community cohesion.
1.35pm: There is a strong rumour that Dominic Grieve will become Attorney General. He used to shadow that role under Michael Howard before becoming shadow home secretary and then shadow justice secretary. He is a QC, so would bring some expertise to the job. Incidentally, Ken Clarke, now the justice secretary, used to be a lawyer too.
1.32pm: Peter Ricketts is the new national security adviser – a newly created post overseeing all aspects of the country’s security. The former permanent undersecretary at foreign office will head up the newly-created National Secutiry Council.
1.30pm: Also, the chief whip is Patrick McLoughlin. You can see our guide to all these appointments in our Who’s Who in the Coalition Cabinet.
1.23pm: One I missed off that list was another unconfirmed rumour: Iain Duncan Smith for the department for work and pensions. The former leader was reportedly demanded by the right wing of the party as a concession for signing up with the Lib Dems. But it will be a concession Cameron will be delighted to make – IDS was in charge of the very Cameroon thinktank the Centre for Social Justice, which looks at poverty reduction from a Tory point of view. Expect him to spearhead Tory efforts to change the benefits system.
1.11pm: The steady drip of cabinet appointments is getting faster, so let me bring you a list of the cabinet as it currently stands:
- PM: David Cameron
- Deputy PM: Nick Clegg
- Chancellor: George Osborne
- Home Secretary: Theresa May
- Foreign Secretary: William Hague
- Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor: Ken Clarke
- Business Secretary: Vince Cable
- Health Secretary: Andrew Lansley
- Scottish Secretary: Danny Alexander
- Defence Secretary: Liam Fox
- Education Secretary: Michael Gove?
- Chief Secretary to the Treasury: David Laws?
- Energy Secretary: Chris Huhne?
Those with question marks are not yet confirmed.
Kiran Stacey is a reporter who has been covering the election after working in the comment team, a posting in New York and a stint writing about UK retailers. He joined the FT in 2008.