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CHRIS GRAYLING is under mounting pressure to quit the Cabinet after colleagues axed one of his flagship outsourcing policies.
The bungling Tory, now Transport Secretary, part-privatised the probation service in 2014 when he led the justice ministry.
The move saw “lower-risk” offenders monitored by private companies while on parole.
However, under the scheme hundreds of people have been killed by criminals as contractors failed to supervise them properly.
In February, the dangerous situation descended into farce when one of the major outsourcing firms, Working Links, went bust.
Yesterday, Justice Secretary David Gauke finally conceded that “the system isn’t working” and announced that all probation work would return to the public sector by the end of 2020.
He made the decision a day after his Labour counterpart Richard Burgon blasted him in Parliament over the privatisation project.
The National Audit Office has said the botched scheme cost the public purse almost half a billion pounds.
The renationalisation has been welcomed by trade unions who hailed it as a landmark victory against the Tory government.
Prison officers at the POA annual conference in Southport applauded the news and a delegate from HMP Preston called it a “massive climbdown” as he saluted the probation union Napo.
The issue has been a lightning rod among trade unionists who have joined forces to challenge the scheme.
GMB national probation lead George Georgiou said: “Failing Grayling privatised the service, then carved it up so private companies could profit. They took the cash and put our communities at risk.
“Now we need to rebuild our beleaguered National Probation Service and never let this happen again.
“We are only disappointed this failed privatisation experiment has cost millions and ruined many lives.
“It was a bad deal for public, a bad deal for workers and a bad deal for those that need rehabilitation.”
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said the reversal showed Grayling was “not fit to run a bath let alone a government department.”
“This specialist in failure has presided over similar chaos at transport and he should take some responsibility for once in his life, clear his desk and get out of this industry,” he added.
TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes blasted Mr Grayling for having “the Midas touch in reverse.
“What this decision shows is that everything Grayling touches – like his gross mismanagement of the railways – ends up not as gold but something smelly on the sole of your shoe.
“Under his watch our railways are being run into the ground by privateers – just like the probation service we need them back in public hands.”
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