(satire – maybe)
Tensions between Tory and Liberal Democrat cabinet coalition partners are rising amid reports that Prime Minister David Cameron has rejected a Liberal Democrat demand to distribute the most popular Quality Streets equally between the two parties.
The conflict arose after the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg complained that he had not been able to get even one gold-wrapped chocolate toffee finger from a box of Quality Street which had been made available to ministers during a post-Christmas cabinet meeting at Downing Street yesterday.
Tensions rose further after an awkward moment when the Liberal Democrat members of the cabinet gave their Tory counterparts presents and they discovered their coalition allies had not bothered to get them any presents in return.
Reports that George Osborne had secretly sought out and scoffed all the milk chocolate hazelnuts with caramel before the meeting had even started could not be confirmed but pundits believe it is unlikely he had discussed the distribution of the purple-wrapped chocolates with Liberal Democrat Danny Alexander – despite his pivotal role as Chief Secretary to the Treasury.
However, in a statement a spokeesperson for Mr Clegg sought to play down reports of cabinet tensions:
Obviously the Deputy Prime Minister would have preferred to eat all the chocolate toffee fingers himself but he recognises that coalition politics means having to compromise sometimes.
Mind you, after spending hours shopping for several sets of blue and red striped socks and matching ties for his cabinet colleagues, it would have been nice to get something in return but he understands that being the junior partner makes it difficult to get everything you want.
In a related development, the Financial Times reports that the Liberal Democrat energy secretary Ed Davey has written to Mr Cameron urging him to take action against John Hayes after the Tory energy minister was accused of cheating during a game of charades towards the end of the meeting.
The newspaper says that Cameron had made it clear that he has no intention of rebuking Mr Hayes, who he said won the game ‘fair and square’ with an excellent mime of Moby Dick.
In a further sign the Prime Minister is in no mood to back down to his coalition partners on matters of policy, he in turn accused his Liberal Democrat counterparts of “escalating coalition tension” by hogging the TV remote control and refusing to do the washing-up even though it was clearly laid out in the coalition agreement that as junior partners, serving coffee and biscuits and clearing them away after meetings was their sole responsibility.
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