Aides to senior government ministers were at pains to insist that the energy deal finally signed off at about 6pm on Wednesday proved that both the Lib Dems and Tories were now in harmony on energy policy.
One Whitehall figure sought to present the previous disagreement as a fairly standard round of negotiations between a spending department and the Treasury.
In reality, the last two weeks have seen one of the most hard-fought coalition battles since the general election, with countless meetings and phone calls between senior figures and some particularly vicious in-fighting.
An attempt to secure an acceptable subsidy cap for renewables and nuclear power – the levy control framework – was already subject to complex negotiations. The complex system (we are not allowed to call it a ‘subsidy’, even though it clearly is one) should give investors enough certainty to build wind farms, nuclear power stations and other renewable plants.
The UK needs new capacity to replace many of its coal power stations that are closing down in the coming years while still hitting carbon and renewables targets.
This summer the prime minister sent Oliver Letwin, his head of policy, to examine whether the plan should be dropped altogether; only for Letwin to conclude that the coalition should stick with the plans, first put forward by Chris Huhne in July 2011.
The negotiations became even more fraught a few weeks ago after David Cameron at the last minute decided to insert a shake-up of energy tariffs into the bill, prompting consternation within the energy department.
At the same time John Hayes, the Tory energy minister – only appointed in September – threw a grenade into the proceedings by insisting in the Daily Mail that he would put an end to new onshore wind farms.
An uneasy truce was called at the start of the week and an outline agreement was sketched out on Monday (after discussions involving Cameron himself) before being finalised two days later.
George Osborne believes he has secured an important concession by kicking the prospect of a 2030 electricity decarbonisation target into the next Parliament, as I revealed in Wednesday’s FT.
The chancellor insists that he is committed to Britain’s existing carbon commitments but does not want the “inflexibility” of an electricity target – preferring “carbon budgets” which allow the UK to cut emissions from either the transport system or electricity.
Even so, the Tories are concerned about the spate of negative headlines about rising energy bills at such a sensitive time for the economy. Questions at Friday’s “lobby” briefing by Downing Street were mostly about the impact on bills.
As for the Lib Dems, there are still concerns that with Mr Hayes piloting the bill through Parliament he could accept various non-green amendments – which would plunge the coalition back into civil war.
Relations between Mr Davey and Mr Hayes are now so bad that the pair are barely speaking, using email instead to communicate. The former has insisted that he must sign off any renewables paperwork put forward by his junior minister: it is a sign that while the hatchet is now buried this may not stay the case for long.