Sunak close protection officer arrested over alleged election date bets

19 June 2024, 17:59 | Updated: 19 June 2024, 18:19

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak arrives for a visit to Great Wood Farm Early Years Centre, Grantham in East Midlands, June 17
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak arrives for a visit to Great Wood Farm Early Years Centre, Grantham in East Midlands, June 17. Picture: Alamy

By Christian Oliver

One of Rishi Suank's close protection officers has been arrested over alleged bets on the date of the election, police have confirmed.

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The officer, part of the prime minister's security detail, was initially suspended before their arrest over alleged bets about the timing of the general election.

The Metropolitan Police said they were contacted by the Gambling Commission last Friday, who confirmed they were investigating the alleged bets.

The police constable is from royalty and specialist protection command, the Met said.

The Gambling Commission confirmed it was investigating "the possibility of offences concerning the date of the election".

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak during a visit to Sizewell in Suffolk, while on the General Election campaign trail, Wednesday
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak during a visit to Sizewell in Suffolk, while on the General Election campaign trail, Wednesday. Picture: Alamy

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A spokesperson said: "The Gambling Commission regulates gambling in the interests of consumers and the wider public. "Currently the commission is investigating the possibility of offences concerning the date of the election.

"This is an ongoing investigation, and the commission cannot provide any further details at this time."

The Metropolitan Police said, meanwhile: "We can confirm that on Friday, 14 June, the Met were contacted by the Gambling Commission who informed us that they were investigating alleged bets made by a police constable from the Met's Royalty and Specialist Protection Command, which were related to the timing of the General Election.

"The matter was immediately referred to officers in the Met's Directorate of Professional Standards, who opened an investigation, and the officer was also removed from operational duties.

"The officer was subsequently arrested on Monday 17 June on suspicion of misconduct in public office. He was taken into custody and bailed pending further enquiries. The matter has also been referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

"The Gambling Commission continues to lead the investigation into the alleged betting offences, and our investigation is running in parallel to that."

Craig Williams, former Conservative MP for Cardiff North, speaks at the Welsh Conservative Party conference
Craig Williams, former Conservative MP for Cardiff North, speaks at the Welsh Conservative Party conference. Picture: Alamy

It comes a week after one of Sunak's parliamentary aides pledged to co-operate with inquiries from the Gambling Commission after he "put a flutter" on when the General Election would take place.

Craig Williams, who served as the Prime Minister's parliamentary private secretary and is the Conservative candidate for Montgomeryshire and Glyndwr, wrote on social media site X last week: "I've been contacted by a journalist about Gambling Commission inquiries into one of my accounts and thought it best to be totally transparent.

"I put a flutter on the General Election some weeks ago. This has resulted in some routine inquiries and I confirm I will fully cooperate with these. I don't want it to be a distraction from the campaign. I should have thought through how it looks."

The Guardian reported Mr Williams placed a £100 bet on a July election just days before Mr Sunak named the date as July 4.

A Conservative Party spokesperson said at the time: "We are aware of contact between a Conservative candidate and the Gambling Commission. It is a personal matter for the individual in question.

"As the Gambling Commission is an independent body, it wouldn't be proper to comment further, until any process is concluded."

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