Fifth Tory investigated in growing betting scandal - as cabinet minister denies winning £2,100 from bet

25 June 2024, 20:10 | Updated: 25 June 2024, 23:21

Fifth Tory investigated in growing betting scandal - as cabinet minister has said he did not win a £2,100 bet.
Fifth Tory investigated in growing betting scandal - as cabinet minister has said he did not win a £2,100 bet. Picture: Alamy

By Danielle de Wolfe

Five Tories are now being investigated as part of the growing betting scandal - as one cabinet minister claimed he won thousands betting on the date of the General Election.

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Scottish Secretary Alister Jack claimed that he won more than £2,100 betting on the date of the forthcoming election during an interview conducted shortly after the snap election.

The alleged win followed Rishi Sunak's surprise election announcement on May 22.

The Tory cabinet minister then appeared to backtrack on his comments after initially admitting he made the bet, shrugging off the comments as "a joke".

In a statement on Tuesday evening, Mr Jack said: "Following reports today I want to be absolutely clear I have not breached any gambling rules. I placed two unsuccessful bets on the date of the general election and one successful one. I put two bets on in March of £5 each for an election to be held in May and June respectively. In April, I put £20 at 5 to 1 on an election being held between July and September.

"I had no knowledge of the date of the election until the day it was called.

"As I have said previously, I placed no bets in May and am not under investigation by the Gambling Commission."

Mr Jack previously said in a statement earlier on Tuesday that he is not being investigated by the Gambling Commission.

He said: "I am very clear that I have never, on any occasion, broken any Gambling Commission rules. Specifically, I did not place any bets on the date of the General Election during May (the period under investigation by the Gambling Commission).

"Furthermore, I am not aware of any family or friends placing bets."

"And for the avoidance of doubt that based on my comment above the Gambling Commission have obviously not contacted me."

It follows the announcement of a probe by the Gambling Commission into bets made on the date of the General Election.

So far, the scandal has widened to include a range of MPs and police officers.

  • Rishi Sunak's specialist protection officer is arrested (Monday 17)
  • Craig Williams, Conservative candidate for Montgomeryshire and Glyndŵr, apologises for having a "flutter" (Tuesday 25)
  • Laura Saunders, Tory candidate for Bristol North West, has support from the party withdrawn
  • Saunders is married to the Conservatives’ head of campaigning, Tony Lee, who takes a leave of absence
  • Five more Met police officers were accused of placing bets
  • Labour suspends parliamentary candidate Kevin Craig after 'betting on himself'
  • Scottish Secretary Alister Jack denies an initial claim he won £2,100 on General Election betting
  • Welsh Conservative MP Russell George becomes fifth Tory candidate to be investigated
Scottish Secretary Alister Jack claimed that he won more than £2,100 betting on the date of the forthcoming election during an interview conducted shortly after the snap election. He has since denied these claims and confirmed he is not under investigation.
Scottish Secretary Alister Jack claimed that he won more than £2,100 betting on the date of the forthcoming election during an interview conducted shortly after the snap election. He has since denied these claims and confirmed he is not under investigation. . Picture: Alamy

Shortly after Rishi Sunak made the announcement, the Scottish Secretary claimed he had won £2,100 after betting on June and July election dates.

He even claimed that one of the bets was placed at odds of 25/1.

However, following the announcement of an investigation by the Gambling Commission last week, the politician appears to have made a drastic U-turn.

When asked about the alleged bet last week, Mr Jack told the BBC the comments were “a joke… I was pulling your leg”.

Now, in yet another twist, the Scottish Secretary said in a statement that he “did not place any bets on the date of the general election during May”.

Read more: Candidate at centre of the General Election betting scandal breaks silence after being dropped by Tories

Read more: Labour candidate suspended for betting against himself says he did it for 'fun' as he issues apology

Now, The Gambling Commission has announced it's investigating Russell George, a Tory member of the Welsh parliament.

George represents the same constituency as Sunak’s closest parliamentary aide, Craig Williams, who has already been named as part of its inquiry.

“Russell George has informed me that he has received a letter from the Gambling Commission regarding bets on the timing of the General Election," Andrew RT Davies, Leader of the Welsh Conservatives, said in a statement following the news.

“Russell George has stepped back from the Welsh Conservative Shadow Cabinet while these investigations are ongoing.

“All other Members of the Welsh Conservative Group have confirmed that they have not placed any bets.

“I will not issue further comment on this ongoing process, recognising the Gambling Commission’s instruction for confidentiality to protect the integrity of the process.”

Boris Johnson Visits Newtown Mid Wales for Welsh conservative party conference, meeting Welsh MP Russell George
Boris Johnson Visits Newtown Mid Wales for Welsh conservative party conference, meeting Welsh MP Russell George. Picture: Alamy

It comes as Labour candidate Kevin Craig, who was suspended for betting against himself in the upcoming election, apologised for the decision.

The MP, who is running to become an MP in the Central Suffolk and North Ipswich seat, has been suspended by Labour pending the outcome of a Gambling Commission investigation.

“I am very clear that I have never, on any occasion, broken any Gambling Commission rules”, said Mr Jack in a statement.

“I did not place any bets on the date of the general election during May - the period under investigation by the Gambling Commission."

He added: “Furthermore, I am not aware of any family or friends placing bets. I have nothing more to say on this matter.”

It followed the news that a Tory candidate at the centre of the General Election betting scandal admitted he had "committed an error not an offence."

Craig Williams, standing in Montgomeryshire and Glyndŵr, reiterated an apology on his social media today, saying: "I remain on the ballot paper on the 4th of July and I hope to secure your support.

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