HomeGamblingTop Conservative official takes leave of absence amid new election betting allegations

Top Conservative official takes leave of absence amid new election betting allegations

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A top Conservative Party official has taken a leave of absence over allegations they placed bets on the timing of next month’s general election.

The Tory party has been rocked by more allegations as another top official is being investigated by the Gambling Commission for allegedly betting on the date of the election before it had been announced.

The revelations were first reported by The Sunday Times which claimed dozens of bets had been placed with potential winnings worth thousands of pounds.

The allegations represent a fresh blow for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak as three other Conservative figures have already been caught up in the scandal.

Tony Lee, the party’s director of campaigns, and his wife Laura Saunders are also under investigation.

Along with them, Craig Williams, Mr Sunak’s parliamentary private secretary, admitted to placing a “flutter” on the date of the election and is also being investigated.

Image:
Craig Williams admitted to betting on the election date. Pic: PA

Laura Saunders is the party’s candidate in Bristol North West.
Pic: Laura Saunders for Bristol North West
Image:
Laura Saunders. Pic: Laura Saunders for Bristol North West

Senior Tory Michael Gove condemned the latest reports and likened the controversy to Partygate.

The levelling up secretary was reported as saying: “It looks like one rule for them and one rule for us.

“That’s the most potentially damaging thing.”

The Liberal Democrats called on Mr Sunak to personally intervene after the allegations.

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Lib Dem deputy leader Daisy Cooper said: “This is now an all-out scandal at the heart of Rishi Sunak’s Conservative Party.

“Sunak must personally intervene to order a Cabinet Office inquiry and suspend all those under investigation by the Gambling Commission.

“People are sick and tired of this sleaze. Day by day, hour by hour, the Conservative government mire themselves in more of it.”

A Conservative spokesman said: “As instructed by the Gambling Commission, we are not permitted to discuss any matters related to any investigation with the subject or any other persons.”

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