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Cameron hails 'seismic shift' in government

By Channel 4 News

Updated on 12 May 2010

David Cameron promises a "bold, reforming government" in his first joint news conference with Nick Clegg at Downing Street as more details emerge about the make-up of the new coalition cabinet.

David Cameron and Nick Clegg shake hands outside No.10 Downing Street

Six Liberal Democrats have been appointed to the cabinet, with Mr Clegg being named deputy prime minister.

In a news conference notable for the good humour between the two party leaders, Mr Cameron said the appointments were "a sign of the strength and depth of the coalition and our sincere determination to work together constructively to make this coalition work in our national interest".

"We have a shared agenda and a shared resolve to tackle the challenges our country faced: to safeguard our national security and support our troops abroad, to tackle the debt crisis, to repair our broken political system and to build a stronger society," he said.

"This is a new government, and it's a new kind of government, a radical, reforming government where it needs to be and a source of reassurance and stability at a time of great uncertainty in our country too."

Mr Clegg told reporters the government faced big challenges on the economy and public finances, with a foreign conflict that "requires resolution".

The new deputy prime minister admitted there would be some "bumps and scrapes" over the course of the arrangement but insisted the parties had a "common purpose".

"This is a Government that will last. Not because of a list of policies, important though they are; not because it will be easy, there will be bumps and scrapes along the way, we are different parties and we have different ideas," he said.

David Cameron arrived in Downing Street this morning to begin forming his new government following the conclusion of talks with the Liberal Democrats over forming a coalition government.

George Osborne has been named Chancellor, William Hague is foreign secretary and Liam Fox the defence secretary.

Theresa May has been named home secretary, becoming only the second female home secretary.

Ken Clarke goes to the justice department.

Lib Dem treasury spokesman Vince Cable, who had been mooted as a possible Liberal Democrat chancellor, has responsibility for business and banking.

Cabinet appointees announced so far include -

Following days of negotiations, the Lib Dems ratified the coalition deal in the early hours of this morning.

Nick Clegg said he hoped his party's coalition with Conservatives would mark the creation of a "new kind of government" in Britain.

Addressing supporters in Westminster, the newly appointed deputy prime minister said his recommendation to enter an administration with the Tories had been "overwhelmingly" endorsed by his party's MPs and its federal executive.

More on the new Conservative-Lib Dem government
- David Cameron: from brightest boy to PM
- Nick Clegg: Lib Dem leader in government
- Coalition deal: winners and losers

He said that he was now looking forward to working with David Cameron and sought to reassure supporters in the country, insisting he would not have agreed the deal unless he was convinced it would deliver the changes they wanted.

Along with Clegg's appointment it is thought there will be Cabinet jobs for a number of other Lib Dem members including treasury spokesman Vince Cable and home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne.

Details of the power-sharing agreement hammered out over five days of negotiations began to emerge in late night Westminster briefings.

Under the terms of the deal the UK will move to five-year fixed-term parliaments, with the next election to be called on the first Thursday of May 2015.

On the central issue of reducing Britain's record £163bn deficit, they will go ahead with the Tories proposed £6bn of spending cuts this year.

Lib Dems swallow some hard governmental pills, by Gary Gibbon
At the Lib Dem gathering of MPs and the Federal Exec last night virtually everyone spoke, as is Lib Dem tradition.

So the meeting went on for two hours. In the MPs' vote 50 votes were counted in favour, no-one against. Were some absent (odd meeting to skip!)? Or abstaining?

One dissenter on the Fed Exec - David Rendel, who fought and lost in Newbury last week.

They were allowed to read the 11-page agreement document, which will be published for the rest of us today. The hardest pills to swallow were immigration caps, Europe policy and Trident.

"But we would get that anyway with a minority Tory government," one MP said. "At least this way we moderate it."

The Lib Dems are hoping that Nick Clegg and his team make sure the jobs in government don't all go to "Orange Book" followers.

They see Chris Huhne as just to the left of that particular grouping but want some more recognition, now they've got behind the coalition, that the party is a sort of coalition too.

Read more from Gary Gibbon's blog

The will also scrap the bulk of the planned increase in national insurance contributions for employers.

But instead of getting rid of the rise for employees, there will be a "substantial increase" in personal tax allowances to benefit low and middle-income workers, as the Lib Dems had been calling for.

David Cameron appointed new prime minister by the Queen (Getty)

Lindsey Hilsum analyses the change in foreign affairs
William Hague, the new Foreign Secretary, says he and Prime Minister David Cameron have long espoused "Liberal Conservatism" in foreign affairs - meaning encouraging freedom, human rights and democracy while espousing a hard-headed approach to the national interest.

So maybe it won't be such a problem to merge, or fudge, the Tory blue and Lib Dem yellow files which Foreign Office civil servants have been juggling for the last few months.

The Tories will have to retreat from the outer edges of Euroscepticism; the Lib Dems are unlikely to get through their ideas of publicly discounting military action in Iran, and pressuring Israel on the blockade of Gaza.

A new National Security Council will meet for the first time today. Chaired by the prime minister, it will bring together the Foreign Office, Defence, the Home Office, DFID and critical departments such as Energy. The idea is that all these issues are indivisible – a potential terror attack requires the attention of all. Sir Peter Ricketts, the Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office, will become National Security Advisor.

Read more from Lindsey's blog

Gordon Brown's resignation
Gordon Brown returned home to Scotland today after his dramatic resignation last night that paved the way for the new government.

After announcing his resignation he left Downing Street for the last time with his wife Sarah and their two children.

It is thought that he will now stand down as an MP and quit politics altogether - friends said that they expected him to concentrate on charity work.

Brown's announcement that he is stepping down as Labour leader with immediate effect will trigger a battle for succession over the coming weeks.

Mr Brown announced that his deputy Harriet Harman would take over as acting leader until his successor has been chosen by the party. Labour's ruling National Executive Committee has agreed to meet "in the days and weeks ahead" to determine the timetable and the procedures for electing a new leader.

A number of possible successors are expected to bid for the Labour leadership including David Miliband, his brother Ed Miliband and Ed Balls. Former home secretary Alan Johnson said today he would not stand for leadership and would support David Miliband's campaign.

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