Luke Pollard

Labour & Co-operative MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport

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My letter to Mr Colvile: come clean over plans for a Tory UKIP coalition


Last night’s debate showed that David Cameron cannot win a majority because he cannot defend his record on living standards, the NHS or immigration. That is why many people are worried that the Tories are preparing to do a deal with UKIP.

The Tories have repeatedly refuses to rule it out; it is what the Tory party wants.

Apart or together, the Tories and UKIP won’t stand up for working people. The terms of a deal have already been set: they have a shared agenda to increase privatisation in the health service, which would destroy the NHS as we know it.

Today, I have written to Mr Colvile, the Tory incumbent for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, calling for him to come clean over plans for a Tory UKIP deal after the election. In the last year two Tory MPs have defected to UKIP and the two parties agree on a lot - especially privatising the NHS. 

Mr Colvile's literature in this elections has made some pretty exaggerated claims about Labour entering coalition with the SNP - something we have ruled out. So, will he do what Labour has done and rule out a coalition with UKIP?

Last night saw Nigel Farage scrape the bottom of the barrel with an attack on people with HIV. Ignoring the medical evidence about testing and treatment, he chose to attack and scapegoat people with HIV to make a crude political point. It made me feel sick. There should be no place in politics for this type of behaviour. So, given the UKIP attack on people with HIV, given their scapegoating of immigrants for the problems the country faces and their calls for the UK to have a privatised health service like America, will the Tories now rule out a pact with UKIP? 

Here's the words of my letter to Mr Colvile:

Dear Mr Colvile,

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, havefailed 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 yourparty’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.

Can I, once again, invite you to a head to head debate about the NHS. You have failed to respond to my most recent invitations to debate me head to head and I trust you will not overlook replying to this challenge.




Let me know what you think

Use the comments below to let me know your views about Nigel Farage and his attack on people with HIV last night or the Tories refusing to rule out a coalition with UKIP. I'd be interested to hear your views.


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