Betting scandal casts further shadow over Tory election campaign

The Gambling Commission is investigating allegations that several Conservative Party members placed bets on the date of the general election using inside information.

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The Conservative Party's election campaign has been marred by a betting scandal involving high-profile figures within the party. And, with new developments, it looks set to continue.

Nick Mason, the party’s Chief Data Officer, is the latest to be investigated.

Mason, who has taken a leave of absence, is accused of betting on the election date before it was publicly announced. It is reported that numerous bets were placed, potentially yielding thousands of pounds in winnings. Mason, however, has denied any wrongdoing.

The scandal first came to light with Craig Williams, a parliamentary aide to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, admitting to placing a £100 ($126) bet on the election date at 5-1 odds.

Although his wager was flagged and not registered, it prompted the Gambling Commission to scrutinise all bets placed on the July election after 1 May.

The investigation has since expanded to include friends and relatives of MPs and candidates.

Additionally, a police officer from Sunak’s protection team was arrested on suspicion of misconduct in public office related to the betting allegations.

Commenting on the scandal, Rishi Sunak stated: “I am not aware of any other candidates that they are looking into.

"In parallel, we’ve been conducting our own internal inquiries, and of course we’ll act on any relevant findings or information from that and pass it onto the gambling commission”.

Senior Tories have condemned the use of inside information for betting. Cabinet Minister Michael Gove described it as “reprehensible”, while former Defence Minister Tobias Ellwood called for "robust action" from Sunak.

Additionally, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has criticised Sunak's handling of the situation, emphasising the need for leadership amid the scandal.

The Gambling Commission's investigation is ongoing, and the outcome currently remains uncertain.

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