Labour’s parliamentary candidate in Hastings and Rye, Sarah Owen, has today written to her Conservative counterpart, Amber Rudd, to demand she comes clean over Tory plans to strike a secret deal with UKIP.
It follows a letter from Andy Burnham MP to David Cameron, sent after George Osborne and Michael Gove both failed to rule out working with Nigel Farage’s party.
The letter from Sarah reads:
I am writing to you following Andy Burnham’s letter to David Cameron, urging your party to come clean over its plans to strike a deal with UKIP.
During this week’s debate your party proved that it cannot defend its record, which is why it cannot win a majority. It is now clear that the Tories are preparing to do a deal with UKIP.
Repeatedly pressed, your Chancellor, George Osborne, and Chief Whip, Michael Gove, have failed to rule out doing a deal with UKIP. David Cameron has himself frequently ducked this question.
As Andy Burnham said; as someone who follows rather than leads their party, David Cameron knows that a deal with UKIP is what the Tory Party wants. A growing number of your MPs and up to half of Conservative activists are arguing for it. As you will know, local Tory parties are already striking deals with UKIP up and down the country and, of course, two of your MPs have already crossed the floor.
We know the terms of such a deal. Nigel Farage has said he would work with the Conservatives in exchange for “a full and fair referendum to be held in 2015”. David Cameron has said he would be “delighted” to offer this.
But the real terms of a deal would see the end of the NHS as we know it.
Your party’s Health and Social Care Act has increased NHS privatisation, and UKIP want to go even further.
Private providers have won a third of NHS contracts to provide clinical services since your party’s reforms. Nigel Farage has said he supports “an insurance-based system of healthcare”, while his deputy has warned that “the very existence of the NHS stifles competition”. UKIP’s ex-Tory MP, Douglas Carswell, has called for an “open market” in healthcare contracts.
This shared agenda will be the real basis for David Cameron’s decision to work together. His deal with UKIP is a poisonous proposition that would deny working people the care they rely on from a service they cherish.
It is now essential that the leader of your party comes clean about his plans.