• Monday, July 22, 2024

HEADLINE STORY

Sunak promises action on betting scandal probe findings

Sunak earlier expressed anger over the allegations, which are being investigated by the Gambling Commission.

At a rally, Sunak said that Reform ‘just won’t win enough seats to oppose Labour’. (Photo: Getty Images)

By: Vivek Mishra

Rishi Sunak said on Monday he would address any wrongdoing identified in an internal investigation into a betting scandal that could affect his chances in the 4 July election, which he is expected to lose.

Sunak’s Conservative Party trails the Labour Party by around 20 points in UK polls. His campaign has faced setbacks, including his early departure from D-Day commemorations.

The campaign has also been affected by revelations that several party officials and candidates are under investigation for allegedly betting on the election date before it was announced.

Sunak earlier expressed anger over the allegations, which are being investigated by the Gambling Commission, and said he was not aware of any other candidates being investigated.

The party’s chief data officer, Nick Mason, has taken a leave of absence following claims he placed bets on the timing of the election, the PA news agency reported Saturday.

“We have been conducting our own internal inquiries and will act on any relevant findings or information,” Sunak told broadcasters after a campaign event in Edinburgh.

Political bets are allowed in the UK, including on the date of elections, but using insider knowledge to do so is against the law.

Labour leader Keir Starmer criticised Sunak’s handling of the situation, calling for stronger leadership.

“Rishi Sunak needs to show some leadership,” Starmer told reporters. “If these were my candidates… they’d be gone.”

Earlier, housing minister Michael Gove has compared the recent scandal involving Tory candidates accused of betting on the election date to the Partygate controversy, which involved Covid-era parties that led to Boris Johnson’s downfall.

In an interview with The Times on Saturday, Gove said the betting allegations are similar to Partygate.

“It looks like one rule for them and one rule for us… That’s the most potentially damaging thing,” said Gove, who is standing down this election after 14 years as an MP.

Johnson was forced from office in 2022 after public anger over parties held in Downing Street during the lockdown. Now, another senior Conservative Party figure is involved in the latest scandal.

(With inputs from agencies)

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