Five more Met police officers accused of placing bets on the timing of the election

25 June 2024, 14:11 | Updated: 25 June 2024, 14:36

Metropolitan Police officers walking a beat on patrol in Fulham, London
Metropolitan Police officers walking a beat on patrol in Fulham, London. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

Five more police officers have been accused of placing bets on the timing of the election.

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Police said on Tuesday that the five latest officers to be accused had not been arrested, but are under investigation by the Gambling Commission. None are currently under any restrictions at work.

It comes after a specialist protection officer was arrested last Monday on suspicion of placing bets in connection with the timing of the election. He is now on restricted duties.

None of the five officers accused on Tuesday are in a close protection role, instead serving in the royalty and specialist command, the parliamentary and diplomatic protection command and the central west basic command unit.

Four people linked to the Conservative Party have also been accused of placing bets on the timing of the election, including two parliamentary candidates. The scandal has overshadowed the second half of the campaign, which ends with the election in nine days (July 4).

The Tories pulled their support for the two candidates involved, Craig Williams and Laura Saunders, on Tuesday.

Read more: Tories withdraw support for candidates caught up in election betting scandal

Read more: Tory Party not sure if Craig Williams had insider knowledge on election or whether it was 'just a hunch', says minister

Conservative candidates caught in betting scandal have their support pulled

A Met Police spokesperson said on Tuesday: "We previously confirmed the arrest of a Met officer on Monday, 17 June for misconduct in public office in relation to bets placed on the timing of the General Election.

“The officer – a Police Constable from the Royalty and Specialist Protection Command – is on restricted duties.

“It is still the case that only one officer is under criminal investigation.

“We have, however, been passed information from the Gambling Commission alleging that five further officers have placed bets related to the timing of the election.

“The Gambling Commission continues to investigate these matters. The officers have not been arrested but the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards has been informed.

Laura Saunders, the Conservative candidate for Bristol North West
Laura Saunders, the Conservative candidate for Bristol North West. Picture: Laura Saunders

“The officers are based on the Royalty and Specialist Command, the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command and the Central West Basic Command Unit. None of them work in a close protection role.

“Decisions on whether they will be subject to any restrictions will be taken in due course."

Mr Williams - the candidate for Cardiff North - admitted to having "a flutter", placing a £100 bet on a July election.

Ms Saunders is the candidate for Bristol North West since 2015, and is the wife of Tony Lee, the Conservative Director of Campaigns.

Neither will have the support of the party any more but because nominations have closed they will both still be on the ballot paper.

Craig Williams
Craig Williams. Picture: Getty

A Conservative Party spokesman said on Tuesday: "As a result of ongoing internal enquiries, we have concluded that we can no longer support Craig Williams or Laura Saunders as Parliamentary Candidates at the forthcoming General Election.

"We have checked with the Gambling Commission that this decision does not compromise the investigation that they are conducting, which is rightly independent and ongoing."

Booking giant Entain, the owner of high street betting shops Ladbrokes and Corals, is said to have notified the commission after Mr Williams made the bet.

Following the discovery, the commission then wrote to all UK gambling companies to request details of individuals who had placed bets exceeding £20 on the date of the election within days of Rishi Sunak making the announcement on May 22.

The Met has also been accused of leaking the names of the Conservatives involved, but denied this strenuously.

A spokesperson said: "The allegations that the Met has leaked information are simply untrue.

"We continue to liaise with the Gambling Commission and are assessing information they have provided."

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