We are the masters now? Photo: Getty
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The Tories and UKIP are preparing to work together

The Conservatives are getting ready for another coalition - this time with Ukip.

Yesterday, the Tory PPC in my constituency joined Ukip. Today, a prominent Tory in Thurrock has announced they are backing Ukip. These latest humiliations are a further sign that even the Tories know David Cameron cannot win a majority, but also that the two parties are slowly becoming an alliance of people as well as policy.

David Cameron has failed to shoot Ukip’s fox, as was once his target, and now craves their support. He has gone from calling Nigel Farage’s band a party of “fruitcakes loonies and closet racists” to yesterday saying that his party was the natural “home” for Ukip supporters.

Such has been David Cameron’s capitulation to Ukip that he has not only promised a referendum he once argued against, giving up our national influence overseas on the way, but he is now preparing to work with Ukip after the election.

David Cameron, George Osborne and a host of Tory Cabinet Ministers have repeatedly been asked to rule out working with Ukip after the election, but have refused to do so.

And despite their denials, the terms of a deal have been set. Nigel Farage has said he wants an early in/out referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU in exchange for supporting the Tories, something David Cameron has said he would be “delighted” to offer.

There is also now a growing number of Conservative MPs calling for a deal with UKIP - alongside the two who have already crossed the floor - and even greater support amongst grassroots Conservatives, with reports that almost half of Conservative activists want David Cameron to forge some sort of alliance before the election.

Indeed, the desire for a deal is so strong that some Tories are reportedly already striking deals with Ukip up and down the country in key marginals.

But just imagine what would happen if the Tories went in to partnership with Ukip.

Ukip have signed up to the Tories’ extreme spending plans, which cut spending on public services faster in the next three years than the past five, putting the NHS at risk.

Ukip also want to go further in privatisating of the NHS. The Tories’ have opened the door to increased privatisation, with private providers now securing a third of  contracts to provide clinical services, but Nigel Farage wants to break up the NHS altogether with an “insurance-based system”.

Both parties also favour further tax breaks for those at the top, while working people’s wages remain £1,600-a-year below 2010 levels. Ukip’s plans would give 16,000 millionaires over £100,000 in tax breaks, something George Osborne would no doubt relish.

This agenda jars with families in my constituency in Yorkshire, those reading this in the Capital, or any other part of the UK.

While Ukip and the Tories see raiding each others’ activists as their greatest hope for progress, Labour is offering a better plan for a better future, based on increased living standards for all , saving and transforming our NHS and support for the next generation.

David Cameron must now come clean about his plans to do a deal with Ukip. Neither party stands up for working people. Together they would do deep damage to our living standards and the services on which we rely.

Alan Johnson is a former home secretary and MP for Hull West and Hessle.

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PMQs review: Theresa May shows again that Brexit means hard Brexit

The Prime Minister's promise of "an end to free movement" is incompatible with single market membership. 

Theresa May, it is commonly said, has told us nothing about Brexit. At today's PMQs, Jeremy Corbyn ran with this line, demanding that May offer "some clarity". In response, as she has before, May stated what has become her defining aim: "an end to free movement". This vow makes a "hard Brexit" (or "chaotic Brexit" as Corbyn called it) all but inevitable. The EU regards the "four freedoms" (goods, capital, services and people) as indivisible and will not grant the UK an exemption. The risk of empowering eurosceptics elsewhere is too great. Only at the cost of leaving the single market will the UK regain control of immigration.

May sought to open up a dividing line by declaring that "the Labour Party wants to continue with free movement" (it has refused to rule out its continuation). "I want to deliver on the will of the British people, he is trying to frustrate the British people," she said. The problem is determining what the people's will is. Though polls show voters want control of free movement, they also show they want to maintain single market membership. It is not only Boris Johnson who is pro-having cake and pro-eating it. 

Corbyn later revealed that he had been "consulting the great philosophers" as to the meaning of Brexit (a possible explanation for the non-mention of Heathrow, Zac Goldsmith's resignation and May's Goldman Sachs speech). "All I can come up with is Baldrick, who says our cunning plan is to have no plan," he quipped. Without missing a beat, May replied: "I'm interested that [he] chose Baldrick, of course the actor playing Baldrick was a member of the Labour Party, as I recall." (Tony Robinson, a Corbyn critic ("crap leader"), later tweeted that he still is one). "We're going to deliver the best possible deal in goods and services and we're going to deliver an end to free movement," May continued. The problem for her is that the latter aim means that the "best possible deal" may be a long way from the best. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.