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Cameron and Clegg: a match made in heaven?

By Channel 4 News

Updated on 13 May 2010

The bride and groom came down the steps into the garden together. The sun shone and the roses bloomed. It was just like a society wedding, writes former television executive Peter McHugh for Channel 4 News. 

Cameron and Clegg (Credit: Reuters)

Nicholas Clegg of Westminster School (founded 1179) came to pledge his troth to David Cameron of Eton College (founded 1440).

They had only met twice on their own but that's the way romance works. It must have been love at third sight.

And in the best traditions of our new political world, here we were celebrating a civil partnership. It was only a few days ago that Nick accused Dave of being prepared to join up with a "bunch of nutters and homophobes".

Yet here he was, joining up with the Lib Dems. The ceremony had started early; Nick making the lonely suitors walk up the road to the house of his new partner, who, surprise, surprise, was waiting to open the door for him.

As they entered No 10 it was not clear if Dave had his hand on Nick's back or up it. But, just a few hours later, in front of a congregation of stunned witnesses, they emerged into the rose garden to promise to stay together even, as Nick seemed to say "in sickness and in health".

It was hard to work out who was the bride and who was the groom. Dave spoke first but then introduced his new partner, Nick who said glowingly "until today we were rivals and now we are colleagues".

Now, even half a day is a long time in politics. Just 12 hours earlier, the man who wanted Nick more than Dave had thrown in the towel. Where there once were three podiums, there were now just two.

And out the back, a removal van was taking away the final belongings of Gordon Brown.

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The last time the two of them had appeared on stage together, they were bashing seven sorts of hell out of each other. But, what a powerful aphrodisiac ambition must be.

For, here the two men were, new best friends, and promising to stay together forever. As each spoke, the other gazed adoringly at him. We all held our breath. Who would kiss first? This was, said the new PM a "historic and seismic shift in politics".

The two former enemies said they had "one key purpose of giving the country strong and stable leadership." Yes, admitted Dave, he had branded his new partner a joke.

"We are all going to have things we said thrown back at us", a quote that could come back to haunt him. It ended as it began, with the two walking off, not quite hand in hand, leaving the guests still stunned at their whirlwind romance.

Meanwhile, elsewhere, the new government got down to its business. Teresa May was made home secretary, a chalice so poisoned, you had to wonder how many people she had upset in the Tory party.

Danny Alexander, formerly Nick's best friend and the man who helped put together the arranged marriage, was rewarded by being made secretary of state for Scotland. Many would think it safer to do that job by never leaving London.

Clegg and Cameron at yesterday's press conference (Getty)

It was then that the real major news of the afternoon broke. Kay Burley, one of the increasingly over emotional and splenetic Sky team, tremulously told us that Chelsea captain, John Terry had a suspected ankle injury. Now this was real news. And worth returning to Sky Centre for an update.

It could be his metatarsal said an expert, an injury man Labour wished Gordon Brown had developed before last Thursday. But out of sight is out of mind.

And with Gordon now hidden away in Scotland, David Miliband of Haverstock Comprehensive (founded some time not too long ago), at last declared himself in the race to be the next leader of the Labour party.

Gordon Brown must have smiled wryly as he heard Miliband finally make the declaration he had dodged so many times in the past.

Harriet Harman said Labour had to adapt to opposition. An easy task for those Labour MPs who had been opposing their party for the last 13 years.

The message from all was that the British electorate had voted for a hung parliament. Although no-one last Thursday was given a voting form on which that was an option.

The next election will be at Thirsk in three weeks time. Both the Conservative party and the Lib Dems are fielding candidates which should leave the people in that constituency about as confused as they can get.

Breaking news: Terry's foot is not broken...he should be able to make Wembley for Chelsea on Saturday.

Peter McHugh is the former director of programmes at GMTV and was this year awarded the Royal Television Society Lifetime Achievement Award.

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