Nick Clegg is riven by an internal battle between his "good" and "wicked" sides over schools reforms, the Education Secretary has claimed.
Michael Gove said the Deputy Prime Minister had an angel sitting on one shoulder that backed the controversial shake-up while a "bad" force was urging him to indulge radical Liberal Democrats.
R elations between Mr Clegg and Mr Gove have appeared strained for sometime, with the Liberal Democrat leader criticising the use of unqualified teachers and blocking plans to allow nurseries and childminders in England to look after more children.
Lib Dem schools minister David Laws this week also hit out at his departmental boss over the decision not to retain Labour peer Baroness Morgan as the head of Ofsted.
Mr Gove dismissed claims of a "civil war" in his department, insisting reports of a row with Mr Laws were "overblown".
In the Telegraph podcast, he also claimed the DPM wanted to win over teachers by publicly opposing education reforms that he supported.
"There will be some people in the Lib Dems who will want to emphasise those differences to appeal to a section of the electorate that voted for the Lib Dems in the past, but don't agree with the changes we are making the education system now," Mr Gove said.
He added: " Good Nick, the angel one on shoulder, is saying: 'What Gove is doing is socially progressive, socially mobile, and in tune with good old Gladstonian principles'.
"Wicked Nick, sitting on his other shoulder, is saying 'Yes! But some of your more radical activists dislike it, so pander to them'," he said. "He will have to decide whether it's the good or the bad Nick that he indulges."