One of the easiest jibes made against Mr Howard is that he is opportunistic - as if that was a sin for an opposition leader.
However, when it comes to sheer opportunism, first prize must go to this e-mail sent by the Labour Party this evening, begging for funds. Headed: "Tory funding advantage: your help needed", it reads:
You will have heard today that UKIP's principal right wing backer, Paul Sykes, has struck a secret deal to support the Tory Party. This confirms that after their disastrous showing in the Hartlepool by-election the Tories have given up the fight for the centre ground of British politics.Stangely, I have not been moved to donate.
Sykes' deal with John Redwood and Michael Howard shows the Conservative Party retreating to the right. With Sykes' backing they will campaign to put in place huge cuts to our schools and hospitals. They have not changed and are committed to the same damaging policies which brought us economic boom and bust and social division.
We now need your help. Sykes' backing could give the Tories the funds to undermine the work of our public services, putting in place policies which will only benefit the few. We cannot let this happen. At our conference last week we outlined the policies we will be campaigning on between now and the election. These are policies that will benefit every hard working family in Britain and ensure opportunity for everyone.
We need Labour supporters to give today to ensure the Tories do not have an overwhelming funding advantage. Even £20 or £30 will help us ensure good schools, safer streets, a fairer world and more jobs. So please go to www.labour.org.uk/supportlabour and give what you can today.