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U.K.’s Gambling Commission is Probing Prime Minister’s Senior Aide Over Election Bet

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U.K.’s Gambling Commission is Probing Prime Minister’s Senior Aide Over Election Bet

Senior aide Craig Williams bet £100 to win £500 with online sportsbook Ladbrokes just three days before Sunak’s surprise announcement on May 22 that the election would be held on July 4.

Brad Senkiw - News Editorat Covers.com

Jun 12, 2024 • 16:57 ET

• 4 min read

Rishi Sunak UK Politics

Photo By – USA TODAY Sports

The U.K.’s Gambling Commission is looking into whether or not an election wager placed by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s parliamentary private secretary violates British law. 

According to a report from The Guardian, senior aide Craig Williams bet £100 to win £500 with online sportsbook Ladbrokes just three days before Sunak’s surprise announcement on May 22 that the election would be held on July 4.

The bet reportedly was not going to be paid out until after the election. The exact wager and if inside information was used is still unknown. 

“I’ve been contacted by a journalist about Gambling Commission inquiries into one of my accounts and thought it best to be totally transparent,” Williams said in a statement. “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 how it looks.”

Multiple offenses

Ladbrokes reportedly realized the wager was placed by a “politically exposed person” and informed the Gambling Commission of the bet.  

The Commission wouldn’t confirm or deny its involvement in the investigation to The Guardian but did say that confidential use of information to gain an unfair betting advantage may constitute a violation of the Gambling Act, a criminal offense.

Williams may have also caused damage to the reputation and integrity of parliament, which would violate the members’ code of conduct because the bet was placed while parliament was still in session. 

Election backfire

Sunak shockingly announced that the election would come months before it was supposed to take place in hopes that the Conservative Party would gain an advantage. 

Sunak’s campaign is already being heavily criticized, and if it’s found that Williams knew of this date and used it to gamble, Sunak’s move for the early election could backfire. 

“These allegations are utterly extraordinary,” Jonathan Ashworth, Conservative opponent, and Labour party shadow paymaster general, said. “Rishi Sunak has sat on this information for more than a week but has lacked any backbone to take action. Once again Rishi Sunak has been exposed as utterly weak.”

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