David Cameron turned in an emollient performance on the Today Programme this morning. He declined to stoke the coalition row over immigration, heaped praise on Vince Cable and stressed that the Liberal Democrats have been good coalition partners. Even when pressed on the question of whether Britain would block Gordon Brown from becoming director of the International Monetary Fund, Cameron spoke softly.
The only line of questioning in the interview that discomforted the Prime Minister was when Evan Davis pressed him on why a localist government was placing restrictions on what local government could charge residents for recycling or rubbish collection. Cameron seemed to think that Davis was asking him about a specific case, when he was actually asking him about the general principle.
On the NHS, Cameron said that the coalition was going to use this ‘pause’ in the legislation to ‘rethink’ some of the proposals. His comment that he also wanted to see if he could get more ‘full-throated’ support for the reforms from those who work in the NHS suggests that the producer interests have been given an effective veto over the reforms.