Isabel Hardman Isabel Hardman

‘Nobody likes being in coalition’

The coalition’s leaders like to stick to the line that the partnership is professional and business-like when they describe how policy is made. Newly-appointed business minister Michael Fallon struck a slightly different note this morning, though, when he appeared on the Today programme. He said:

‘I think everybody has been frustrated: nobody likes being in coalition and everybody’s impatient for growth.’

He chose his words carefully when describing the ‘different perspectives’ that he and his new boss Vince Cable take on the labour market and deregulation:

‘We’re in different parties, we come from different perspectives and sometimes you’ll see we use different language. But what we’re working together on is to fire up business now as the economy comes out of recession to get the growth we need, and that’s a mix.’

The point is that Fallon is announcing a policy today that looks very much as though it comes from the Tory perspective, rather than Cable’s. As James blogged earlier, Oliver Letwin is the man credited with getting the Liberal Democrats to submit to measures such as exempting the majority of businesses from health and safety inspections.

Fallon was most likely referring to the scars on colleagues’ backs from pushing these reforms through, but he’s got his own departmental fight on his hands now. While Vince Cable took care to praise his colleague yesterday when he was interviewed on the Andrew Marr Show, he also said this:

‘Of course I’m responsible for the policy. Michael’s a very good minister, given substantial responsibilities, he’s not actually responsible for employment law. But we will proceed with reform of employment law, where it’s necessary.’

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