With the 2015 general election looming, Liberal Democrat ministers are increasingly willing to speak out against their Conservative colleagues: reports of the rift between schools minister David Laws and his boss Michael Gove are the latest example.
Yet Conservative local government minister Brandon Lewis and Lib Dem care services minister Norman Lamb are presenting a united front.
Despite having to renege on a promised joint interview, when an urgent eye operation for environment secretary Owen Paterson forced Mr Lewis into the Commons chamber to address the flooding crisis, the two were singing – for the most part – from the same hymn sheet during their separate interviews.
Sceptics would put this down to good briefings from press teams and advisers, and they may have a point.
But joining up health and social care services by pooling budgets is also a genuine interest for both ministers.
Mr Lamb, who has been interested in integration since his days as the party’s health spokesman in 2006, knows it is the government’s best chance of winning the argument with shadow health secretary Andy Burnham, whose plans for a fully merged health and care service are gaining traction.
And for Mr Lewis the work fits neatly into a bigger vision for public service reform, with obvious links to flagship Department for Communities & Local Government policies such as community budgets, shared services and the troubled families agenda.
Working with other agencies, reducing duplication and looking at the “whole person” are at the centre of all these initiatives.
But only time will tell whether these genuine shared interests are strong enough to withstand the coalition mud slinging that will inevitably ensue between now and the better care fund’s commencement in 2015.
LGC View: the integration of health and care