Tories withdraw support for candidates caught up in election betting scandal

25 June 2024, 10:43 | Updated: 25 June 2024, 11:43

The Tories have withdrawn support for two candidates being investigated over betting allegations.
The Tories have withdrawn support for two candidates being investigated over betting allegations. Picture: Alamy/Getty

By Emma Soteriou

The Conservative Party has pulled its support for two candidates caught up in an election betting scandal.

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Craig Williams and Laura Saunders are being investigated by the Gambling Commission over an alleged bet she made about the date of the General Election.

The watchdog's probe has since extended further to include those associated with senior Tories linked to alleged bets that were placed.

A Conservative Party Spokesman: "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."

Read more: Metropolitan Police denies 'leaking names' of Conservatives suspected of betting on election date

Read more: Sunak says he's not being investigated in Tory betting scandal and is 'unaware of other candidates being looked at'

Sir Robert Buckland thinks those involved in 'gamblegate' should be suspended

It comes after the Met denied leaking the identities of a number of Conservatives implicated in the scandal.

A further five police officers are currently under investigation, according to The Telegraph.

On Tuesday, a Met 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."

A source close to the Cabinet Office said it was suspected that the identities of Tory candidates and officials had been leaked from within the Met.

While the identities of Tories accused of placing bets have been made public, the extent of the alleged involvement of police officers in placing bets had not.

Home Secretary quizzed on Tory election 'gamblegate'

When asked about the scandal during an LBC debate on Tuesday, Home Secretary James Cleverly refused to comment, saying: "The Gambling Commission have said that it is inappropriate for us to discuss it."

He added: "You respect the instructions of the institutions that you put in place."

Mr Cleverly went on to say: "Professional standards is something I've worked on since the first day I was in political office – Im not going to speculate on this - it would be unfair for everyone involved."

Labour's Yvette Cooper said: "I think it’s in the public interest for people to know in the run up to an election whether people involved in the election have also been betting on it and have potentially been investigated.

"That's why we think there should be transparency.

"This does have the feel of Partygate to it - it’s just one rule for them and another for everybody else. It needs to be investigated but there has to be some transparency."

Rishi Sunak previously said he is "incredibly angry" over election betting allegations as he vowed to "boot out" anyone found guilty of wrongdoing from the party.

The PM has ruled himself out, confirming that he is not being investigated over the betting claims.

One of his close protection officers has already been arrested on suspicion of misconduct in public office but police are braced for further arrests.

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