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Welsh MP accepted Wales v England hospitality from betting body despite speaking out about dangers of gambling

19 Mar 2022 3 minutes Read
Kevin Brennan (left). Picture by Richard Townsend and Chris McAndrew (CC BY 3.0). Twickenham by Ed Watts (CC BY 2.0).

A Welsh MP accepted a free trip to Twickenham for Wales’ six nations clash with England from the industry body for bookmakers despite having spoken out about the dangers of gambling.

Kevin Brennan, the Labour MP for Cardiff West, received a ticket and hospitality worth £1,115 from the Betting and Gaming Council, the updated register of MPs’ interests reveals.

Wayne David, the Labour MP for Caerphilly, was also among four MPs who attended the nail-biting match at the expense of the body which represents bookmakers, casinos and online gaming companies.

But Brennan’s attendance, which comes amid a battle between the betting industry and campaigners over the need for new regulations, is more surprising given his previous comments on the issue.

He accused the UK Government of “a betrayal of his ministerial colleague and his two predecessors as Secretary of State, as well as the victims and their families, whose lives have been blighted by gambling addiction” over a 2018 decision to delay measures to reduce maximum stakes.

Calling for new legislation on gambling in 2020, the Cardiff West MP told the Commons: “My father used to enjoy a weekly 10 bob yankee down the bookies, but he would have been appalled at the sheer volume of advertising and the dodgy practices that are going on in picking on vulnerable people in relation to gambling.”

And in December 2020, he said “we all know that the gambling industry got it very wrong on the campaign on fixed-odds betting terminals” and called for the UK Government’s forthcoming review to “produce an outcome that maximises the fun for people who want to gamble, but minimises the harm.”

Nation.Cymru asked Kevin Brennan for a response but have not yet received a reply.

‘Outcry’

The all-party group on Gambling Related Harm, led by Swansea East MP Carolyn Harris, has called on the UK Government to introduce a maximum stake of £2 on slot machines, end harmful incentives like “VIP schemes”, and ban all betting advertising in sport.

The Betting and Gaming Council is the principle opponent of such measures. Its chair, former Labour MP Michael Duggar, wrote this week that they are “draconian, arbitrary measures”.

“If you treat betting like tobacco, that leads you to the wish list from the anti-betting lobby who want to tell people what they should be allowed to spend, as well as banning everything from advertising, sports sponsorship and even offers to consumers,” he added.

“Can you imagine the middle class outcry if supermarkets couldn’t do special offers on a bottle of wine?”

Nigel Evans, the Welsh-born Conservative MP Ribble Valley, and Caroline Dineage, the Conservative MP for Gosport, were also part of the group of MPs which received free tickets and hospitality at the match.

It’s not the first time Welsh MPs have courted controversy by accepting free Six Nations tickets.

Nation.Cymru revealed last year that Stephen Doughty, the Labour MP for Cardiff South and Penarth, accepted rugby tickets from a company he thanked in the Commons.

Our research has previously found that Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies had accepted twice as many free international rugby tickets than any other UK parliamentarian.


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Philip Jones
Philip Jones
1 month ago

A Labour MP with a snout in the trough? Surely not.. … ?

Cathy Hill
Cathy Hill
1 month ago

What we absolutely MUST NOT HAVE in the Senedd is the same “favour for favour”, “I’ll scratch you back”-ing, corporate lobbying, freebie taking, bribery and corrupting poison that exists in Westminster, for we only have to look at Westminster’s (and by extension the entirety of The English Establishment) links to Putin’s Russia to see where THAT kind of corruption leads. Democracy cannot exist in such climates where the rich man by virtue of his wealth can skew institutions that are meant to serve the people and the land to serve their selfish desires and the greed of their friends. There… Read more »

hdavies15
hdavies15
1 month ago
Reply to  Cathy Hill

Senedd currently avoid the issue of a register of lobbyists. It’s as though the whole lobbying thing didn’t exist in their minds, although a lot of their policy is actually driven by activists with access to Ministers and their teams.

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
1 month ago

Mmm.. I take the point about Kevin Brennan in the circumstances but he must still be commended for his work on gambling issues so when the political point scoring starts raining down on him for this, just think of the two Tories from Wales mentioned above who were both there supporting England. Oh no? Not correct? Well ok then. I have often wondered how many people from Wales will go into the stadium and wave a Ddraig Goch for 80 minutes only to exit and pick up a Union flag again while walking away singing ‘God save the Queen’. These… Read more »

Chris Hale
Chris Hale
1 month ago

Kevin Brennan has presumably never heard of minimum unit pricing for alcohol in place in Wales Scotland, whereby my favourite tipple is £2.99 in Lidl in England, and £5.19 here.

I agree with the principle of pricing to reduce harm, and I despair of the attitude of well rewarded lobbyists lining their own pockets and accepting freebies which they are offered by virtue of their role as elected representatives.

They are supposed to work for us!

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
1 month ago
Reply to  Chris Hale

Not our fault if you like superstrong rotgut cider is it?

Quornby
Quornby
1 month ago

What next……OBE?

Chris Franks
Chris Franks
1 month ago

Alun Cairns will be furious that no Russian offered him a few tickets.

John Williams
John Williams
1 month ago

The questions to be asked by politicians when offered anything should be “does this directly affect my constituents and will my acceptance of the offer materially improve their lives and condition?” £1115 tickets and champagne clearly don’t.

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