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UK Politics Betting: Will government pay the price for Carillion collapse?

Macron would welcome a turnaround on Brexit
Macron would welcome a turnaround on Brexit
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As the government scrambles to contain the impact of the Carillion crisis, Jeremy Corbyn says it's time to rethink privatisation. Meanwhile, Macron says the UK can still change its mind and the demise of Ukip continues. Max Liu reports on the week in UK politics.

"With a leader who has a long record of opposing privatisation, Labour are well-placed to win support from voters wanting change. Labour are [1.93] to win most seats at the next general election."

Jeremy Corbyn this week slammed the Conservative government's "rip-off privatisation" policies and predicted that the collapse of Carillion will be a "watershed moment". The Labour leader is furious that the company's failure could cost - directly and indirectly - tens of thousands of workers their livelihoods and lead to the bankruptcy of its subcontractors.

As Theresa May's government fight to contain the Carillion crisis, Corbyn is trying to seize the moment by saying that it is time to put an end to the private outsourcing of public services. Carillion were paid by the government to deliver everything from prison security to school dinners. Of course, this policy is nothing new. It started under Margaret Thatcher and was continued by Labour governments under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

But Labour under Blair and Brown was different to what it has become under Corbyn and the current Labour leader, along with his shadow chancellor John McDonnell, has consistently opposed privatisation since the 1980s. Now he believes the collapse of Carillion could bring the public around to his view.

Corbyn has been accused of being anti-business but that might not be as much of a problem for him as it would have been a few years ago. Ordinarily, the Conservatives are regarded as the party of big business. But Brexit has complicated that relationship and, on the question of how Britain trades with the European Union after leaving the EU, big business appears to be closer to Labour than the Conservatives.

It's too early to say whether or not Carillion will be a watershed moment in Britain's eternal public versus private battle. But voters are likely to blame the government for not seeing this crisis coming - just as they blamed Gordon Brown's government for being asleep at the wheel in the build-up to the financial crisis of 2008.

With a leader who has a long record of opposing privatisation, Labour are well-placed to win support from voters wanting change. Labour are [1.93] to win most seats at the next general election.

Macron and EU officials say Britain can still change its mind

On Sunday, French president Emmanuel Macron said of Britain's decision to leave the EU: "I do regret this vote, and I would love to welcome you again." The French president was visiting Britain for the first time since he took office last May.

His remarks came in a week when other European political heavy-weights talked up Britain going back on Brexit. President of the European Council Donald Tusk said: "It's not too late for the UK to change its mind." His colleague, European Commission President Jean-Claude Junker, chipped in too, saying. "Our door still remains open and I hope that will be heard clearly in London."

As ever, though, warm words from Brussels were balanced by an insistence that the UK should not be under the illusion that life outside the Single Market and Customs Union would put them in a stronger position. Guy Verhofstadt, the European parliament's Brexit co-ordinator, said: "There cannot be cherry-picking inside the system."

The UK is [2.42] to still be in the EU beyond the original March 29 2019 deadline. A second referendum on Brexit before 2020 is trading at [3.85].

Putting Ukip before love

If you didn't know the name of Ukip's current leader a week ago, you probably do now. The party has had five leaders - permanent and otherwise - since 2016, and struggled to stay relevant, but this week the new supremo hit the headlines for the wrong reasons. In a shocking statement, that will confirm many critics' view of Ukip, current leader Henry Bolton's girlfriend Jo Marney said Prince Harry's "black American" fiancee will "taint" the Royal family.

Bolton has since dumped Marney and condemned her comments, although he denies saying that by doing so he's "putting Ukip before love." He insists he will stay on as leader, saying he's the only politician who can making sure Ukip put pressure on the government to deliver Brexit, even though several members, including Suzanne Evans, want him gone.

There's a market on Bolton's exit but it will be a brave punter who's prepared to bet against Bolton losing his job in 2018.

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