The Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition is unlikely to last until the next general election, The Times chief political commentator Peter Riddell has predicted.


Speaking at the ITT conference in Beniform, Riddell said the coalition would become less popular next year when public spending cuts kick in and there would be another general election in three or four years’ time.


“David Cameron and Nick Clegg get on – this is crucial. The coalition is likely to last until the referendum on voting reform,” he predicted.


Riddell said there was a danger of the smaller party being absorbed by the larger side, as has happened in previous coalitions.


He said Liberal Democrat leader Nick needed an “exit strategy” before his party split and was absorbed by the Conservatives.


Chancellor George Osborne’s emergency budget on June 22 will recognise that the priority is to cut the deficit, but there would not be much detail on spending cuts, he said.


“We will have stability for three to four years, but they will be years of restraint and adjustment. We can be certain of a pretty austere environment.”