British government hit by fresh revelations of dissent
LONDON: Britain's coalition government was hit by fresh evidence of internal tensions Thursday from a newspaper sting that has already caused a major row over a minister's unguarded remarks about Rupert Murdoch.
The Daily Telegraph published new remarks by Liberal Democrats serving in Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative-led government, in which they openly question the premier's sincerity and say he cannot be trusted.
The minister for care services, Paul Burstow, was quoted as saying: "I don't want you to trust David Cameron", while local government minister Andrew Stunell said he did not know where Cameron stood on the "sincerity monitor".
They were speaking to undercover reporters in a newspaper sting that has already caught out Lib Dem Business Secretary Vince Cable and caused a major political row this week.
Cable told two female reporters posing as constituents that he had "declared war" on Murdoch over a bid by the media mogul's News Corporation to take control of pay TV company BSkyB.
The remarks emerged as British regulators mull the takeover deal, and caused Cameron to remove Cable from any role in reviewing the bid. The prime minister also stripped him of powers over media, telecom and broadcasting firms. In the same sting, Cable was also recorded threatening to "bring the government down" if the centre-left Lib Dems were forced to compro- mise too much with the centreright Tories.
Cable is one of the Lib Dems' few well-known personalities but has also been viewed as one of the coalition's unhappiest members because of the compromises his party has been asked to make in power.
Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister, has tried to smooth things over, saying that Cable's remarks and any other complaints by Lib Dems are a normal part of coalition politics.
Although he said Cable's comments were "very unfortunate", Clegg said: "I think now Vince and the government can move on and that is the end of it." He added that it was no surprise that "there are differences of opinion in a coalition, as there are indeed in all governments". -Afp
KIEV: Ukraine's PM Mykola Azarov (L) greets deputies during a session of the Ukrainian parliament. Ukraine's parliament passed the 2011 budget in second and final reading. -Reuters