Date: 24.06.2024

by Adam Dworak

Inquiry Launched into Conservative Election Betting Scandal

An inquiry is underway into the activities of a fourth Conservative figure who placed bets on the UK general election date. The Conservative Party’s top data officer, Nick Mason, is under investigation for several wagers made on election day. If these wagers had paid off, he could have made thousands of pounds. Mason has taken a leave of absence from the party and denies any misconduct, although he has refrained from commenting more.

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Expanding Election Betting Scandal

Mason is the latest to be implicated in the election betting scandal, which surfaced after Parliamentary private secretary Craig Williams placed a £100 bet that could have won him £500. This bet was reported to the Gambling Commission due to Williams’ position, leading to a broader investigation.

Laura Saunders, partner of Conservative director of campaigning Tony Lee, also came under suspicion. Lee has since taken a leave of absence. Additionally, a police officer in the prime minister’s close protection team has been arrested and suspended in connection with the investigation.

UK Gambling Commission’s Wider Net

Initially, the UK Gambling Commission asked bookmakers to flag any election date bets exceeding £199. However, due to recent developments, the commission now requests information on bets over £20.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak expressed his anger over the allegations on BBC’s “Question Time,” stating that anyone found guilty would face legal consequences and expulsion from the Conservative Party.

Government Response and Political Reactions

Home Secretary James Cleverly, in an interview with Laura Kuenssberg, stated he had no knowledge of any ministers betting on the election date. He affirmed the importance of allowing the Gambling Commission to conduct its investigation.

Opposition parties demand the suspension of all implicated candidates. With the deadline for candidate replacement for the July election already passed, Sunak has been hesitant to act. Labour’s shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson called the allegations “pretty shocking,” predicting voter outrage.

Liberal Democrats’ Deputy Leader Daisy Cooper has demanded an independent inquiry into the scandal, labeling it “yet more sleaze.”

Former Tory cabinet minister Michael Gove criticized the situation, highlighting the perception of double standards. Labour campaign coordinator Pat McFadden also called for the suspension of all candidates under investigation, emphasizing the need for fairness and transparency.