Two more years? Cameron and Clegg reload the coalition

A wave of new reforms and a renewed commitment to coalition government form the backbone of David Cameron and Nick Clegg's midterm review, unveiled this afternoon.

Cameron and Clegg laid out their achievements and setting out their renewed agenda in what is the most significant relaunch of the coalition project since it was first formed.

"We are both married, not to each other. This is a government not a relationship," Cameron told reporters.

"It's not a marriage, it is a Ronseal deal – it does what it says on the tin."

He added: "The key point is not whether you have disagreements, it is how you handle them.

"It is a five-year plan, a five-year Parliament, a five-year government."

The pair used a joint press conference to take stock of their achievements and unveil new reforms, although details of future policies were scarce.

Cabinet met this morning to discuss the proposals. Downing Street was unclear on which members of the government were actually responsible for the document, only referring to "the most senior levels of government" in a morning lobby briefing.

Divisions over the alternative vote referendum, Lords reform, the power of the printed press and gay marriage have all soured coalition relations in the first half of their five-year term.

But with more and more MPs thinking about the looming 2015 general election Cameron and Clegg are now moving to restate their "unwavering" commitment to the coalition, in a bid to prevent the early collapse of the government they created in May 2010.

"Of course there have been some issues on which we have not seen eye to eye, and no doubt there will be more," Cameron and Clegg wrote in the foreword to the midterm review.

"That is the nature of coalition. But on the things that matter most – the big structural reforms needed to secure our country's long-term future – our resolve and sense of shared purpose have, if anything, grown over time."

Today's midterm review comes at the last possible moment for the coalition, which had been warned such a move was necessary because of dwindling support among Tory and Lib Dem grassroots for the original programme for government document.

Organisations like the Institute for Government think-tank had cautioned against carrying on without a reappraisal because doing so would make the likelihood of large-scale rebellions and disquiet among the grassroots much greater.

More childcare support, pensions reform and moves to cap long-term care costs for the elderly will be combined with longer-term moves to improve Britain's transport infrastructure and housing availability, they state. Further detail about these announcements will be made "in due course".

Current opinion polls suggest the Lib Dems face electoral annihilation come 2015, while the Conservatives are now trailing by double-digit numbers against Labour and an overall majority is far from guaranteed.

The prime minister and deputy prime minister acknowledge many of their measures have been unpopular in the review's foreword, but insist they have pressed on regardless because doing so is essential if Britain is to remain globally competitive.

They add: "Whether it is reducing the deficit, rebalancing the economy, regulating the banks, tackling climate change, modernising our energy and transport infrastructure, putting our universities on a sustainable financial footing or dealing with the challenges of an ageing population and reforming public sector pensions, we have consistently chosen to do what is right over what is easy or popular; what is in our country's long-term interest over our parties' short-term interest."

Nothing has united the two coalition parties so closely as their joint commitment to dealing with the deficit, which Cameron and Clegg boast has been cut by a quarter since they came to office.

The foreword concludes: "Our mission is clear: to get Britain living within its means and earning its way in the world once again.

"Our approach is consistent: to help hard-working families get by and get on, so that everyone can reach their full potential.

"And our resolve is unwavering: we will continue to put political partisanship to one side to govern in the long-term interests of the country."