Washington DC: One of the interesting by-products of the Coalition Government is the relationship that has developed between Deputy PM Nick Clegg and US Vice-President Joe Biden.
Within minutes of Clegg's appointment, Biden was on the phone to deliver his congratulations. They have been video conferencing and when Nick Clegg comes to the UN later in the month he will spend two hours in Washington with his opposite number.
The vice-presidency in the US has come a long way since it was described by one incumbent as worth a 'pitcher of warm spit'. Vice-President Mondale described the role as 'You die, I fly' in reference to his role as an attendee at state funerals.
The role of deputy prime minister has no constitutional foundation and does not always exist but it has had some distinguished incumbents such as Rab Butler and Michael Heseltine.