Reports show widespread tensions in UK coalition

 Members of junior Lib Dem coalition partner were recorded by Daily Telegraph reporters condemning proposals to cut welfare benefits as part of a five-year austerity drive.

Telegraph journalists had also taped senior Lib Dem minister Vince Cable saying he was “declaring war” on News Corp Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch. Cable was stripped of power over the media sector for his unguarded comments but he was not sacked, a move which might have destabilised Britain’s first coalition since World War II which took office in May pledging to cut a huge budget deficit.

Scottish Secretary Michael Moore, Business Minister Ed Davey, and a Pensions Minister Steve Webb revealed tensions and unease in the coalition as well as antipathy between  MPs  of the two parties.

“Are you watching what they are doing and what they are saying on the back benches of the Conservative Party? They are spitting blood,” Moore was reported as saying.
Prime Minister David Cameron and Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg put on a united front at a media conference on Tuesday saying that while they had disagreements, the coalition was sound.  “I don’t think anyone should be surprised by the reports of what other ministers have said that there are differences of opinion in a coalition as there are indeed in all governments,” Clegg told Sky News on Wednesday.

The Lib Dems’ poll ratings have slumped after their leadership, including Cable and other ministers, backed higher tuition fees for students, breaking a pre-election pledge.

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