UK Politics: Poll shows support for government's coronavirus response

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson
Johnson's response to Coronavirus appears to be supported by the public
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Poll shows support for government coronavirus response, PM says no Brexit delay, elections cancelled and much more - Max Liu scrambles to keep up with the latest politics news and odds...

"With parts of Europe in lockdown, and the situation in Britain changing rapidly, there is speculation that coronavirus could force an extension to the Brexit transition period."

The Conservatives are [1.53] on the Exchange to win the next general election after polling showed that a majority of Brits back their government's handling of the coronavirus.

Britons aren't scheduled to vote in a national election until 2024 but the early odds on its outcome help us gauge how the public perceives the government's response to the unprecedented crisis that is overshadowing all other business.

Despite widespread criticism from across the political spectrum, and calls from scientists to accelerate the response, around 55% were happy with the way Boris Johnson's government has handled the pandemic, according to YouGov.

The polling was conducted on Thursday and Friday - a crucial couple of days which saw the Prime Minister decline to ban mass gatherings only to be overtaken by events when the Premier League and Football League suspended matches for a minimum of three weeks.

That forced the government into a u-turn and they will reportedly ban mass gatherings from next weekend, although health secretary Matthew Hancock refused to confirm the plan when asked about it by Andrew Marr today.

Labour figures slam government response

In spite of the broadly positive figures, the polling does shows that support for the government's response is falling and, with the numbers of confirmed cases and fatalities on the increase, that could continue in the coming weeks.

Labour leadership candidate Lisa Nandy said today the government action had been a "shambles" and urged it to publish the scientific advice on which its strategy is based.

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The opposition have, however, been criticised for their own slow response with many on the left saying there was a necessity for leadership favourite Keir Starmer [1.04] and his rival Rebecca Long-Bailey [30.0] to press the government and present their own plans for limiting the impact of the virus.

Today mayor of Manchester and former Labour leadership candidate Andy Burnham joined the calls for more transparency:

Government rules out extending Brexit transition

With parts of Europe in lockdown, and the situation in Britain changing rapidly, there is speculation that coronavirus could force an extension to the Brexit transition period.

This week Michael Gove insisted there would be no change to the transition - during which the UK follows EU regulations - which is scheduled to finish at the end of the year. The government has until June to request an extension and plenty could happen between now and then which makes that necessary.

Michael Gove 956.jpg

Matthew O'Toole, a former adviser to Theresa May and now an SDLP politician in Northern Ireland, encapsulated the situation when he said: "The world will soon be recovering from a huge economic shock. No one - not the EU or even Trump's US - will have time for Brexiter fantasies."

A recession in America this year is [1.31].

May's council and mayoral elections have already been postponed due to the coronavirus. London mayor Sadiq Khan was odds-on to be re-elected but the betting has been suspended. Independent candidate Rory Stewart has, however, been busy criticising his former-Tory colleague Johnson's response to coronavirus and calling for the closure of schools.

Trump tests negative but re-election odds drift

In the US, the White House said this weekend that Donald Trump has tested negative for coronavirus so it's probably not the time to grab the [6.0] on the US president failing to complete his term.

Trump grimace 1280.jpg

The election 2020 betting has, however, moved against Trump, and he's drifted to [2.14] to be re-elected. Joe Biden, frontrunner to be the Democratic Party candidate, is [2.32] with his rival Bernie Sanders [40.0].

Their campaigns were disrupted by coronavirus this week but, with Biden [1.13] to win the nomination, they meet in a live TV debate tonight before the Arizona, Florida, Illinois and Ohio primaries on Tuesday.

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