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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The 5 things the Tories aren't telling you about their manifesto

Turns out the NHS is something you really have to pay for after all. 

When Theresa May launched the Conservative 2017 manifesto, she borrowed the most popular policies from across the political spectrum. Some anti-immigrant rhetoric? Some strong action on rip-off energy firms? The message is clear - you can have it all if you vote Tory.

But can you? The respected thinktank the Institute for Fiscal Studies has now been through the manifesto with a fine tooth comb, and it turns out there are some things the Tory manifesto just doesn't mention...

1. How budgeting works

They say: "a balanced budget by the middle of the next decade"

What they don't say: The Conservatives don't talk very much about new taxes or spending commitments in the manifesto. But the IFS argues that balancing the budget "would likely require more spending cuts or tax rises even beyond the end of the next parliament."

2. How this isn't the end of austerity

They say: "We will always be guided by what matters to the ordinary, working families of this nation."

What they don't say: The manifesto does not backtrack on existing planned cuts to working-age welfare benefits. According to the IFS, these cuts will "reduce the incomes of the lowest income working age households significantly – and by more than the cuts seen since 2010".

3. Why some policies don't make a difference

They say: "The Triple Lock has worked: it is now time to set pensions on an even course."

What they don't say: The argument behind scrapping the "triple lock" on pensions is that it provides an unneccessarily generous subsidy to pensioners (including superbly wealthy ones) at the expense of the taxpayer.

However, the IFS found that the Conservatives' proposed solution - a "double lock" which rises with earnings or inflation - will cost the taxpayer just as much over the coming Parliament. After all, Brexit has caused a drop in the value of sterling, which is now causing price inflation...

4. That healthcare can't be done cheap

They say: "The next Conservative government will give the NHS the resources it needs."

What they don't say: The £8bn more promised for the NHS over the next five years is a continuation of underinvestment in the NHS. The IFS says: "Conservative plans for NHS spending look very tight indeed and may well be undeliverable."

5. Cutting immigration costs us

They say: "We will therefore establish an immigration policy that allows us to reduce and control the number of people who come to Britain from the European Union, while still allowing us to attract the skilled workers our economy needs." 

What they don't say: The Office for Budget Responsibility has already calculated that lower immigration as a result of the Brexit vote could reduce tax revenues by £6bn a year in four years' time. The IFS calculates that getting net immigration down to the tens of thousands, as the Tories pledge, could double that loss.

Julia Rampen is the digital news editor of the New Statesman (previously editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog). She has also been deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines. 

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