Tories Caught Up in Political Betting Scandal

Written by:
t c jackson
Published on:
Jun/21/2024

Three Tories now face probes into whether they placed bets on the day of the United Kingdom General Election.

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Laura Saunders now faces claims along with husband Tony Lee, who quit as campaign chief, and Craig Williams.

Williams (pictured below), who was the Tory MP for Montgomery until the election was called and is standing again in the new constituency of Montgomeryshire and Glyndwr, previously apologised and said he made a "huge error of judgement".

When asked by the BBC, he refused to say whether he placed a bet on the basis of inside information.

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Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is now under intense pressure to suspend all three.  Sunak's campaign chief Tony Lee, quit as officials ­investigate the allegations, which has now thrown the campaign into further turmoil ahead of the upcoming elections.

The Mirror reports that a flurry of bets were placed on a July 4 date for the poll in the week before Mr Sunak named the actual date. According to Data from Smarkets, thousands of pounds were waged from May 14, coincidentally the day after an election planning meeting was held at Tory HQ. The date was then announced on May 22.

A member of the PM’s ­protection team has also been arrested, bailed and suspended “on suspicion of ­misconduct in public office” for ­allegedly betting on the poll date.

Lib Dem leader Ed Davey said: “I can’t believe people at the top of the Conservative Party are doing this and have allowed this to happen.” Betting cheats can be jailed for up to two years under the Gambling Act.

A spokesperson for the Gambling Commission said: “The Gambling Commission regulates gambling in the interests of consumers and the wider public.

"Currently the Commission is investigating the possibility of offences concerning the date of the election. This is an ongoing investigation, and the Commission cannot provide any further details at this time.

"We are not confirming or denying the identity of any individuals involved in this investigation."

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