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UK’s gambling watchdog alleges 5 more police officers placed bets on election date



UK’s gambling watchdog alleges 5 more police officers placed bets on election date

LONDON — Britain’s gambling regulator has alleged that five more police officers bet on the timing of the July 4 national election, the Metropolitan Police said Tuesday, as claims widen that people close to the government used inside information for their own profit.

The Metropolitan Police said the Gambling Commission passed on information on the five officers’ alleged misconduct. The officers, who provided protection for royalty, politicians and diplomats, have not been arrested.

An investigation by the gambling watchdog is ongoing, police said.

The development comes after it emerged that several members of the governing Conservative Party and one of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s police bodyguards were being investigated for allegedly using inside information to place bets on the date of the election before it was announced.

The bodyguard was arrested last week on suspicion of misconduct in public office.

The scandal, coming just days ahead of the national election, has overshadowed the Conservatives’ campaign. The party is widely expected to lose to the opposition Labour Party after 14 years in power.

On Tuesday, the Conservative Party said it was pulling support for two election candidates, Craig Williams and Laura Saunders, who were under investigation by the Gambling Commission over the alleged betting. But because nominations have closed, both politicians will remain on the ballot paper.

Williams said he would continue with his campaign, is cooperating with the commission and plans to clear his name.

“I committed an error of judgment, not an offense, and I want to reiterate my apology directly to you,” he said in a video posted on the X social media platform.

Williams was Sunak’s parliamentary private secretary as well as a member of Parliament running for reelection on July 4. He has acknowledged that he was being investigated for placing a 100-pound ($128) bet on a July election days before the date had been announced.

Saunders’ husband, Tony Lee, the Conservative director of campaigning, has taken a leave of absence following allegations he was also investigated over alleged betting.

A fourth Conservative, the party’s chief data officer Nick Mason, was also reportedly being investigated over the matter.

In a new twist on the scandal, Labour said Tuesday it had suspended one of its own parliamentary candidates, Kevin Craig, after being told the Gambling Commission was investigating him over betting on the outcome of his own race.

Craig apologized for a “stupid error of judgment” and revealed he actually bet against himself, assuming he would not win the seat in Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, where the Conservatives won by a majority of more than 23,000 in 2019.


This story has been corrected to show the name of the suspended Labour candidate is Kevin Craig, not Kevin Scott.

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