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Watch: Iain Duncan Smith admits the Tories haven't "done the work" on their £12bn welfare cuts plan

What happened to hardworking people?

The Tories think they are the party of hardworking people, hardworking families, workers versus shirkers, strivers versus skivers.

How embarrassing then that their Work and Pensions Secretary, evil suited egg Iain Duncan Smith, admits his party hasn't "done the work" on their next round of spending cuts.

For a while the Conservatives have been dodging the question about where their projected £12bn of cuts to the welfare bill are going to fall. And apparently that's because they actually have no idea.

Watch his admission on the BBC's Daily Politics welfare debate here:

Video: BBC Two Daily Politics

If ever there was proof that the Tories' attack on welfare is purely ideological, with no actual policy-based thinking behind it, this is it.

Here's the transcript:

AN: Let me come – speaking of a benefits and welfare, let me come back to you  IDS. Now in March you said that you are – I quote you: ‘May or may not decide that it’s relevant to reveal to the British electorate where the £12bn of welfare cuts are going to come from in the next government’  if you win. Why don’t think it’s relevant that we should know?

IDS: Because we’d have to have done the work on it, that’s why and we’d have had to reached agreement as to exactly where those are. We’ve let know – the public know exactly one area which was that we’re going to freeze those benefits. That’s going to save between 2 and 3 three billion pounds and also – 

AN: About £2bn now with low inflation.

IDS:  - and we’re going to lower the cap to £23,000 which is average earnings. But as I said on the Marr programme more recently I said, you know, as soon as we have done the work and had it properly modelled then we will let everybody know what that is.

AN: Shouldn’t you have done the work before you come to the British people to ask for re-election?

IDS: Yes, but the key area here of course –

RR: Yes.

IDS: no, well okay, but the key area here is that everyone is very clear that after the next election, if you get a Conservative government we have already said that we will save £12bn from essentially working age benefits and we’ve said that. That’s very clear. But I have locked out – 

SW:  What I don’t understand is ... what you won’t cut.  If you’re clear  you won’t cut pensions, child benefit, disablement benefit. 

IDS: Yes. 

RR: Well he hasn’t completely about child benefit.

SW: Then why can’t you be clear about what you will cut?

IDS: Well because, as I said, the work that we do on this will be done in the spending room, we will announce that out at the time.

I'm a mole, innit.

Ukip's Nigel Farage and Paul Nuttall. Photo: Getty
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Is the general election 2017 the end of Ukip?

Ukip led the way to Brexit, but now the party is on less than 10 per cent in the polls. 

Ukip could be finished. Ukip has only ever had two MPs, but it held an outside influence on politics: without it, we’d probably never have had the EU referendum. But Brexit has turned Ukip into a single-issue party without an issue. Ukip’s sole remaining MP, Douglas Carswell, left the party in March 2017, and told Sky News’ Adam Boulton that there was “no point” to the party anymore. 

Not everyone in Ukip has given up, though: Nigel Farage told Peston on Sunday that Ukip “will survive”, and current leader Paul Nuttall will be contesting a seat this year. But Ukip is standing in fewer constituencies than last time thanks to a shortage of both money and people. Who benefits if Ukip is finished? It’s likely to be the Tories. 

Is Ukip finished? 

What are Ukip's poll ratings?

Ukip’s poll ratings peaked in June 2016 at 16 per cent. Since the leave campaign’s success, that has steadily declined so that Ukip is going into the 2017 general election on 4 per cent, according to the latest polls. If the polls can be trusted, that’s a serious collapse.

Can Ukip get anymore MPs?

In the 2015 general election Ukip contested nearly every seat and got 13 per cent of the vote, making it the third biggest party (although is only returned one MP). Now Ukip is reportedly struggling to find candidates and could stand in as few as 100 seats. Ukip leader Paul Nuttall will stand in Boston and Skegness, but both ex-leader Nigel Farage and donor Arron Banks have ruled themselves out of running this time.

How many members does Ukip have?

Ukip’s membership declined from 45,994 at the 2015 general election to 39,000 in 2016. That’s a worrying sign for any political party, which relies on grassroots memberships to put in the campaigning legwork.

What does Ukip's decline mean for Labour and the Conservatives? 

The rise of Ukip took votes from both the Conservatives and Labour, with a nationalist message that appealed to disaffected voters from both right and left. But the decline of Ukip only seems to be helping the Conservatives. Stephen Bush has written about how in Wales voting Ukip seems to have been a gateway drug for traditional Labour voters who are now backing the mainstream right; so the voters Ukip took from the Conservatives are reverting to the Conservatives, and the ones they took from Labour are transferring to the Conservatives too.

Ukip might be finished as an electoral force, but its influence on the rest of British politics will be felt for many years yet. 

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