In a rare joint press conference in Downing Street on Monday afternoon, the prime minister and deputy prime minister insisted they remained strong partners despite the sense both men are preparing for the election fight ahead.
Cameron said: "Some people thought our coalition wouldn't make it through our first Christmas, but this government is now well into its third year, because this coalition was not and is not some short-term arrangement.
"It is a serious five-year commitment to give our country strong, stable and determined leadership that we need for the long term.
And he said the coalition would continue "full steam ahead" and would "continue to put political partisanship aside".
Asked whether, as has been suggested, the coalition would decouple months before the election in order to allow the two parties to start throwing political rocks at each other more openly, Cameron insisted it was a "full five year coalition".
"For me it is a five year plan, a five year parliament, a five year government," he said.
However perhaps frustrated at the constant references to his coalition with Clegg as a "marriage", the prime minister said: "We are married, but not to each other. This is a government not relationship."
He added: "It's not a marriage it's a Ronseal deal: it does what it says on the tin."
Clegg responded: "Ronseal deal, you could call it the unvarnished truth."
The press conference was called to launch a 46-page document, entitled 'The Coalition: Together In The National Interest', which lists actions from reducing the budget deficit to introducing reforms to the public services.
The insistance that the coalition will last right up until the election will frustrate many backbench Tory MPs, as well as some Lib Dem members, who would like to see their parties unshackled from each other as soon as possible.Suggest a correction