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Coalition 'will last until 2015'
David Cameron and Nick Clegg have insisted that the coalition Government will last until 2015, as they promised to go "full steam ahead" with a programme of deficit reduction reform up to the next general election.
Appearing together at a rare joint press conference in 10 Downing Street, the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister said the coalition will deliver on its five-year commitment to deliver "strong, stable and determined leadership".
Over the coming weeks, they promised new policies to help voters with childcare, mortgages, personal freedom, pensions, social care and transport, to provide new momentum as the Government formed in 2010 reaches its mid-point.
And they released a 46-page Mid-Term Review - entitled The Coalition: Together In The National Interest - listing dozens of measures the Government has already taken and action it has promised in the years to come. They made clear that deficit reduction remains at the heart of their agenda, and confirmed that detailed spending plans will be outlined before the summer for 2015/16 - expected to commit Conservatives and Liberal Democrats to a joint plan to extend austerity measures beyond the election.
Mr Cameron dismissed comparisons of the coalition to a marriage, describing it instead as a "Ronseal deal" which "does what it says on the tin" - putting aside partisan differences to form a stable government which can tackle Britain's deep economic difficulties.
"Some people thought our coalition wouldn't make it through our first Christmas, but this Government is now well into its third year, because this coalition was not and is not some short-term arrangement," he said.
"It is a serious five-year commitment to give our country strong, stable and determined leadership that we need for the long term."
Mr Clegg acknowledged that the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have had differences over the past two and a half years, but said that the "big purpose" of the coalition remained the building of "a stronger economy in a fairer society".
They had already delivered "big, bold, long-lasting reforms" that would stand the test of time and their willingness to act in the long-term interests of the country will underpin policy initiatives for the second half of the Parliament, he said.
"It is a source of immense pride to me - and I think everybody in the coalition - that we... have put partisan differences aside to act in the national interest and have acted fast and have acted boldly to deal with the economic challenges that this country faces," said Mr Clegg.