Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has defended plans to introduce a policy of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ that will allow Liberal Democrats to serve in government while keeping their political persuasion private.

‘‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is a necessary measure to maintain the morale of the Coalition forces,’ explained Mr Clegg, ‘it has been made very clear to us that if we want to stay in the Cabinet then we have to first get into the closet.’

‘Being a Lib Dem isn’t easy,’ continued Mr Clegg, ‘There’s a terrible social stigma attached and we face a lot of anger and discrimination, especially from people who once voted for us. ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is the solution. Don’t ask me how many pledges I have broken and I won’t tell.’

Prime Minister David Cameron supported the move. ‘This is not about discriminating against Lib Dems,’ he said, ‘it’s just that a lot of our boys feel decidedly nervous thinking that they might be working alongside one.’

The policy follows a spate of humiliations in which some members of the government were publicly ‘outed’ for their views. ‘Yes, some of us do bat for the other side,’ confided one anonymous Lib Dem, ‘some of us even care about the students and what happens to the poor, but being open about that sort of thing will only cause problems for everyone.’

‘We are regularly under attack for who we are,’ said another, ‘people keep sidling up to us in the House of Commons toilets and suggesting that we might like to do ‘liberal’ things. But if we go along with them we find ourselves being exposed on the front page of The Daily Telegraph. For many of us, having liberal views has become the love that dare not speak its name.’

‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ will also prevent the media from publicly naming members of the government as Lib Dems. ‘This is not about curtailing press freedom,’ said Business Secretary Vince Cable, ‘this is about politicians of a certain persuasion being able to keep their personal beliefs private. How can I be expected to do my job properly if the public knows what I really think?’

‘Of course we will find a way around these restrictions,’ said BBC political editor Nick Robinson, ‘in the future, whenever I refer to a Lib Dem, I shall just turn to camera and give a little wink and maybe a hand gesture. I’m sure the audience will get the idea.’