The architect of Labour's controversial welfare reform programme is to join the Conservative party, it has been reported.
In a serious blow to the government's welfare credentials, David Freud has reportedly resigned in order to become a Tory frontbench spokesman.
He is expected to be given a peerage and named shadow welfare minister by David Cameron next week.
A source told the Guardian: "David and George [Osborne] have been talking to him a lot about the economy, but also obviously about welfare reform: this was something they were both keen to do.
"He will be on the team."
In response to the defection, which is already being seen as Mr Freud's unhappiness at Labour's handling of his welfare reform proposals - which include private firms helping claimants find work -, the government said Mr Freud had never been a party political appointment.