Ex-Labour candidate admits 'stupid error' over seat bet

A former Labour parliamentary candidate has said he made a "stupid error" in betting he would lose his bid to become an MP.

Labour suspended Kevin Craig as its candidate for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich after learning the Gambling Commission had launched an investigation into him.

The seat was won by Conservative candidate Dan Poulter in 2019 with a majority of just over 20,000. Mr Poulter later defected to Labour.

In a statement on social media, Mr Craig said he "did not place this bet with any prior knowledge of the outcome" and had planned on "giving any winnings to local charities".

"This was a huge mistake, for which I apologise unreservedly," he said.

"I have so much respect for how Keir Starmer has changed the Labour Party and I have been fighting so hard to win this seat and change the country alongside him.

"However, it is right that the party upholds the highest standards for its Parliamentary candidates - just as the public expects the highest standards from any party hoping to serve in government."

A graphic which reads 'more on general election 2024'

The Labour Party has also returned a £100,000 donation made by Mr Craig in May 2023. A prolific donor, Mr Craig has given Labour £196,600 since 2005.

A Labour spokeswoman said: "With Keir Starmer as leader, the Labour party upholds the highest standards for our parliamentary candidates, as the public rightly expects from any party hoping to serve, which is why we have acted immediately in this case."

It comes as the Conservative party withdrew support from two candidates under investigation for alleged betting on the date of the general election.

Both Craig Williams, the candidate in Montgomeryshire and Glyndŵr, and Laura Saunders, the candidate in Bristol North West, are being looked into by the Gambling Commission.