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BP CEO warns a Corbyn-led UK government would be 'quite alarming'

Lisa Micheal 52 Jul 30

BP Chief Executive Bob Dudley is concerned about the prospect of U.K. opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn becoming prime minister.

"A Jeremy Corbyn government, of a kind that does what it says it might do, I think is quite alarming for everybody," BP CEO Bob Dudley told CNBC's "Squawk Box Europe" on Tuesday.

"I think when you talk about nationalizing assets in companies, and particularly think about the bond holders who are global, I mean everyone is sitting up and saying: 'Really?'" Dudley said.

The Labour party did not respond to a request for comment when contacted by CNBC Tuesday morning.

Corbyn, the leftist leader of the Labour Party since 2015, reportedly said Sunday that he is "absolutely" willing to go up against newly-elected Prime Minister Boris Johnson if a general election is called over the coming months.

Britain is not due to hold a nationwide vote until 2022.

But, a wafer-thin parliamentary majority for the ruling Conservative Party — with less than 100 days until the world's fifth-largest economy is due to leave the European Union — has led some external observers to believe an election could be called before the October 31 Brexit deadline.

Conservative Party leader Boris Johnson, who officially entered Downing Street last week, has vowed to deliver Brexit by that date "come what may " — even if that means leaving without a deal in place.

In 2017, Labour campaigned on an election manifesto to bring rail companies, energy supply networks, water systems and mail delivery into public ownership.

Labour proposed its nationalization program would be led by a "Public Ownership Unit" within the finance ministry.

The party has said it would compensate shareholders using bonds. It describes that exchange as cost neutral to the public purse because it trades a liability (the bond) for a profitable asset (the companies). It has not specified the nature of these bonds.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn addresses Labour Party members and supporters during a rally in Parliament Square calling for a general election amid Parliamentary deadlock over Brexit and election of Boris Johnson as UKs Prime Minister by the members of the Conservative Party on 25 July, 2019 in London, England.

Corbyn described the manifesto as a throwback to Britain's socialist experiences of the 1970s.

"When you take the extreme statements, of course the business community would worry," Dudley said.

When asked whether BP would consider moving its headquarters if a Corbyn-led Labour government was elected, Dudley replied: "We are a great British company. We have no plans to redomicile whatsoever."

The pound, which has been tied to the years-long process of negotiating Britain's exit from the bloc, tumbled toward $1.21 Tuesday afternoon. The U.K. currency also hit a two-and-a-half year low against the Japanese yen.

— Reuters contributed to this report.