Rishi Sunak Urged To Dump Tory Aide Who Placed Bet On General Election Date

Craig Williams was elected MP for Montgomeryshire in 2019.
Craig Williams was elected MP for Montgomeryshire in 2019. Matthew Horwood via Getty Images

Rishi Sunak has been urged to suspend his parliamentary aide after it was revealed he put a bet on the date of the general election just days before the prime minister announced it.

Craig Williams admitted he “put a flutter” on the July 4 poll, prompting an investigation by the Gambling Commission.

The Guardian reported that Williams, who was elected the Tory MP for Montgomeryshire in 2019, placed the wager at a Ladbrokes in his constituency on May 19. Sunak announced the election date three days later.

He was the PM’s parliamentary private secretary until parliament was dissolved two weeks ago.

In a statement, Williams told The Guardian: “I’ve been contacted by a journalist about Gambling Commission inquiries into one of my accounts and thought it best to be totally transparent.

“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.”

A Conservative party spokesperson added: “We are aware of contact between a Conservative candidate and the Gambling Commission.

“It is a personal matter for the individual in question. As the Gambling Commission is an independent body, it wouldn’t be proper to comment further, until any process is concluded.”

Liberal Democrat deputy leader Daisy Cooper said: “Not content with gambling with the country’s future, it now appears that a senior Conservative may have been trying to turn a quick buck on the election date.

“Given that Craig Williams is Rishi Sunak’s close personal aide, it is incumbent on the prime minister to immediately suspend him as a candidate and Conservative Party member while the inquiry takes place.

“Voters are being taken for granted by Rishi Sunak and the Conservatives.”

Jonathan Ashworth, Labour’s shadow paymaster general, said: “These allegations are utterly extraordinary. 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.

“After all the Tory financial scandals, this is more evidence that the Tories have learned nothing, haven’t changed, and if given five more years, the chaos will just continue.

“Britain has the chance to turn the page on this failed Tory government which will heap £4,800 onto people’s mortgages. It’s time to rebuild with Labour.”

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