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

25 June 2024, 18:29 | Updated: 25 June 2024, 18:33

Labour candidate Kevin Craig is running to become an MP in the Central Suffolk and North Ipswich
Labour candidate Kevin Craig is running to become an MP in the Central Suffolk and North Ipswich. Picture: Kevin Craig

By Asher McShane

A Labour candidate who was suspended for betting against himself has apologised.

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Kevin Craig, 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.

He apologised on Twitter today and admitted he likes placing bets for "fun" adding that he planned to give any winnings to charity.

In a long statement on Twitter he wrote: "Throughout my life I have enjoyed the odd bet for fun whether on politics or horses.

"A few weeks ago when I thought I would never win this seat I put a bet on the Tories to win here with the intention of giving any winnings to local charities.

"While I did not place this bet with any prior knowledge of the outcome, this was a huge mistake, for which I apologise unreservedly.

"I have so much respect for how Keir Starmer has changed the Labour Party and I have been fighting so hard to win this seat and change the country alongside him.

"However, it is right that the party upholds the highest standards for its Parliamentary candidates - just as the public expects the highest standards from any party hoping to serve in government.

"I deeply regret what I have done and will take the consequences of this stupid error of judgement on the chin.

"I am deeply sorry to the many dedicated and loyal local Labour Party volunteers who have been supporting my campaign.

"I will comply fully with the investigation."

The seat was previously held by ex-Tory Dan Poulter, who defected to Labour ahead of the election but announced he will not stand again.

A spokeswoman for Labour said the move came after the party was contacted by the Gambling Commission.

It's believed the bet concerned the outcome of the election in his own constituency, more specifically, that Mr Craig was betting against himself to lose the seat.

It comes as five more police officers have been accused of placing bets on the timing of the election.

Labour candidate Kevin Craig is running to become an MP in the Central Suffolk and North Ipswich
Labour candidate Kevin Craig is running to become an MP in the Central Suffolk and North Ipswich. Picture: Kevin Craig

The party said they acted immediately after receiving the information and have administratively suspended Mr Craig pending the outcome of the investigation.

She said: “With Keir Starmer as leader, the Labour party upholds the highest standards for our parliamentary candidates, as the public rightly expects from any party hoping to serve, which is why we have acted immediately in this case.”

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

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

Labour are said to have acted on the information shortly after being informed of the allegations on Tuesday afternoon.

Currently, the Conservative Party has an effective majority of around 20,000 in the Central Suffolk and North Ipswich seat ahead of Labour.

It comes just days after it was revealed that Kevin Craig was revealed to be the founder and chief executive of Political Lobbying and Media Relations (PLMR).

An investigation by The Guardian revealed that one of its current clients, the Independent Schools Council (ISC) - an industry trade body for private schools - has been campaigning against Labour’s proposed plans to charge VAT on private school fees.

It's understood the Labour Party will now return the £100,000 worth of donations made by Kevin Craig during Keir Starmer's leadership.

The full list of candidates standing in Central Suffolk and Ipswich:

  • Charlie Caiger (Independent)
  • Tony Gould (Reform UK)
  • Mike Hallatt (Independent)
  • Brett Alistair Mickelburg (Lib Dems)
  • Dan Pratt (Greens)
  • Patrick Spencer (Conservatives)

The Tory candidate at the centre of the General Election betting scandal broke his silence on Tuesday, saying "I 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.

Kevin Craig, who is running to become an MP in the Central Suffolk and North Ipswich seat, has been suspended by Labour pending the outcome of the investigation.
Kevin Craig, who is running to become an MP in the Central Suffolk and North Ipswich seat, has been suspended by Labour pending the outcome of the investigation. Picture: Kevin Craig

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 and has since been placed 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.

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