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Welsh Secretary says he would never bet on general general election date

21 Jun 2024 4 minute read
Secretary of State for Wales David TC Davies

The Welsh Secretary has confirmed he did not place a bet on the date of the general election as the Conservative party grapples with the fall out from the scandal.

In a BBC interview, David TC Davies acknowledged he is worried about the impact on the Tories reputation after two candidates were placed under investigation by the Gambling Commission.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “On the morning that the election was called I was talking to civil servants and they said ‘Oh, have you heard this rumour?’ or words to that effect.

“But we didn’t know and very often in the past I’ve had conversations like that, so I didn’t know and I wasn’t certain, I think, until the PM called us in that afternoon, and I am in the Cabinet so you might have thought I’d have had some advance notice.”

Tory candidate for Bristol North West, Laura Saunders is being investigated by the Gambling Commission alongside her husband, Tony Lee, the party’s director of campaigns.

Ms Saunders said she “will be co-operating with the Gambling Commission” probe, while her husband has taken a leave of absence.

‘Flutter’

It comes a week after Rishi Sunak’s close aide Craig Williams who is a candidate in Montgomeryshire and Glyndwr, admitted to putting a “flutter” on the election.

The Prime Minister’s protection officer has also been arrested and suspended over alleged bets about the timing of the election.

Asked if he was worried about the reputation of the Tory Party on questions of ethics and integrity, particularly given the impact of the Partygate scandal, Mr Davies replied: “Well, of course I am.

“I took a decision when I entered the Wales Office as Secretary of State that I’d do two things immediately to set an example. The first was to get rid of the ministerial car, so I’ve been happily travelling around on the Tube ever since, which I don’t think is appropriate for all Cabinet ministers, by the way, because some of them have more security issues than I do.

“The second thing I did was to look round, notice there was alcohol in the building and ask for it all to be removed within 48 hours, for there to be no alcohol to be served at any official Wales Office events at all, and for nobody – including and of course especially myself – to be drinking alcohol at any official functions at any time of the day or night.”

Investigation

Asked by Sky News whether more names are expected to emerge in connection with the investigation, he said: “I have absolutely no idea, none whatsoever, the news of those two was a complete surprise to me.

“I just want to put on record that I certainly haven’t bet myself, I haven’t made any bets on anything for many years, I didn’t know the election was coming until probably the morning, I had an inclination, I wasn’t absolutely certain even then, and I’ve no idea who – if anyone – has placed any bets and what further investigation is going on.

“What I will say, I will repeat the Prime Minister’s words – it’s totally unacceptable if people have broken the rules in any way, there is an investigation going on by the Gambling Commission and I welcome that, and anyone who is found to have broken the rules will be kicked out of the Conservative Party.”

Mr Sunak said Tory figures who are found to have broken gambling rules “should face the full force of the law”.

Concerns over political insiders profiting from the election date could overshadow his campaigning on Friday, when he is at the Welsh Conservative manifesto launch in Kinmel Bay.

Betfair data appears to show a flurry of bets on a July poll placed on May 21, the day before Mr Sunak called the election, including some in the hundreds of pounds at odds that would have delivered profits in the thousands.


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Richard
Richard
24 days ago

A sure bet for the winds of change in “ Monmouth “ plus a return to Cardiff Bsy in two years ?

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
24 days ago

Politics the Fat Shanks way…

Sunak the Shorter made a poor understudy…

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
24 days ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

Making slurs against Chris Skidmore…thin ice…

Dafydd
Dafydd
24 days ago

He wouldn’t but like the rest of his party – allegedly from reports so far – he may get a family member or friend to have a flutter? Perhaps?

The rot never stops with the Tories, no?

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