• Saturday, July 20, 2024

HEADLINE STORY

Five more police officers accused in election betting scandal

Rishi Sunak has withdrawn support from two Conservative candidates due to the election date betting scandal.

London’s Metropolitan Police stated that the Gambling Commission had informed them about five additional officers and a member of Sunak’s protection team suspected of betting on the election date. (Representational image: Getty)

By: Vivek Mishra

Five more police officers are alleged to have placed bets on the UK general election date, according to a force spokesperson on Tuesday.

Prime minister Rishi Sunak has withdrawn support from two Conservative candidates due to the growing scandal.

The issue has impacted the final days of campaigning, with Sunak trying to reduce his party’s 21-point average poll deficit to Keir Starmer’s Labour opposition ahead of the 4 July vote.

London’s Metropolitan Police stated that the Gambling Commission had informed them about five additional officers and a member of Sunak’s protection team suspected of betting on the election date.

The protection officer was arrested this month on suspicion of misconduct in a public office and has been placed on restricted duties.

The five newly accused officers have not been arrested and do not work in a close protection role, with only one officer under criminal investigation.

The Conservatives announced that they could no longer support Craig Williams or Laura Saunders as candidates due to ongoing internal inquiries.

The regulator is investigating the two over claims they bet on the election date using inside information.

While political bets are allowed in the UK, using insider knowledge for such bets is illegal. Nominations have closed, so they will still appear on ballot papers.

Sunak has expressed anger over the claims and has faced increasing pressure to address them. He announced the election date on 22 May, six months before he was required to do so.

Williams, a sitting MP and Sunak’s ministerial aide, is alleged to have placed a £100 bet on a July election date three days before the announcement.

Saunders, a candidate for Bristol, is married to the Tories’ director of campaigns, Tony Lee, who has taken a leave of absence following the allegations.

The party’s chief data officer, Nick Mason, has also stepped back from duties over allegations of placing dozens of bets on the election date.

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack denied breaking the rules, stating, “I did not place any bets on the date of the general election during May — the period under investigation by the Gambling Commission.”

Russell George, a Conservative member of the Welsh Parliament, resigned from the party’s top team amid a Gambling Commission investigation.

Labour announced the suspension of Kevin Craig, its candidate for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, due to a Gambling Commission inquiry over a bet on the election outcome in his seat.

(AFP)

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