Sunak Outraged by Allegations of Conservatives Betting on Election Date

June 22, 2024 by No Comments

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak expressed his extreme anger on Thursday regarding allegations of Conservative politicians betting on the date of the July 4th national election, stating that anyone found guilty should be expelled from the party and face legal repercussions. He emphasized the importance of a thorough investigation by relevant authorities and reiterated his commitment to taking swift action against those who violate the law. This news comes two weeks before the general election, a challenging period for Sunak as the Conservative Party is trailing the opposition Labour Party in polls.

Housing minister Michael Gove acknowledged the seriousness of the allegations, calling it “deeply wrong” to use inside information for betting purposes. However, he refrained from providing details due to the ongoing investigation. Sunak announced the July 4th election date on May 22nd, surprising many, including members of his own party, who anticipated a fall election. The prime minister’s authority to call an election within five years of the previous one has been criticized by some within the Conservative Party, who argue that the timing was premature.

Reports surfaced on Thursday alleging that Tory candidate Laura Saunders, married to the Conservative Party’s director of campaigning, Tony Lee, is under investigation by the Gambling Commission for alleged betting offenses. Saunders’ attorney, Nama Zarroug, confirmed her cooperation with the investigation, emphasizing the inappropriateness of conducting the investigation through media outlets and highlighting potential risks to the Gambling Commission’s work and Ms. Saunders’ privacy. The Conservative Party acknowledged communication with the Gambling Commission regarding a “small number of individuals” involved in the investigation, but declined to comment further, stating that Lee had taken a leave of absence from the party on Wednesday.

This scandal follows reports from Wednesday concerning the arrest of one of Sunak’s police bodyguards, suspected of placing bets on the election date before its announcement. A Metropolitan Police investigation is ongoing. Last week, Craig Williams, a Sunak aide seeking re-election to Parliament, admitted to being investigated by the Gambling Commission for a $128 bet placed on a July election prior to the date’s announcement. Betting is a popular pastime in the UK, with bookmakers offering odds on various events, including elections. Using inside information for betting purposes is considered a criminal offense.