David Cameron has started putting together a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats.
Following his arrival last night at 10 Downing Street, the new Conservative prime minister declared that it would be a “full and proper” coalition between the two parties.
Nick Clegg has been appointed deputy prime minister, serving as one of five Lib Dem ministers in the new administration. They are thought to include his chief of staff, Danny Alexander, who was being tipped for Scottish secretary, and children’s spokesman David Laws - both members of the Lib Dem team that negotiated the coalition deal with the Tories.
Other posts confirmed last night were George Osborne as chancellor and William Hague as foreign secretary. Liam Fox and Andrew Lansley were also thought to have retained their shadow cabinet portfolios as defence secretary and health secretary respectively.
On the Lib Dem side it is thought that there will be Cabinet jobs for treasury spokesman Vince Cable and home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne, as well as a number of junior postings.
The appointment of so many Lib Dem ministers means that a number of Tory shadow ministers will be out of luck and one of Mr Cameron’s first tasks may be to placate those who are among the disappointed.
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.
They will also scrap the bulk of the planned increase in national insurance contributions for employers.