Cameron: Coalition ‘not always good for the national interest’

The inherent tension of coalition is not always good for the "long-term interests of the country", David Cameron has admitted.

Speaking during a visit to India timed to fit into the parliamentary recess, the prime minister was asked about the issues around coalition by a local journalist, ahead of India's own election next year.

"We've shown it can work," he said. "And actually the good parts of coalition are because you have these arguments within government and you have to proceed on a rational basis – that's good," he said.

"I think what's bad about it is that sometimes you have to make compromises that are not necessarily in the long-term interests of the country.

"I think the clarity you get from single-party government is better but we've made coalition work and I think we've been pretty decisive."

Cameron did not flesh out precisely which policies passed by his government had not been in Britain's interests, but Downing Street later suggested that he was referring to being held back on welfare and scrapping human rights laws.

The comments come as Cameron and Nick Clegg engage in a minor public war of words over green levies on energy bills.

Reports suggest Cameron called a meeting recently with Cabinet ministers to secure new Tory rules to make future coalition negotiations easier.