Rishi Sunak says he is not being investigated in betting scandal probe

24 June 2024, 11:02 | Updated: 24 June 2024, 17:08

Rishi Sunak has said he is not being investigated by the Gambling Commission as part of its probe into bets placed on the date of the general election.

The prime minister also said the Conservatives would conduct their own internal investigation into the allegations that have dogged the latter part of his campaign.

Speaking to reporters in Edinburgh, Mr Sunak said his party "will act" if the Conservatives' own inquiry into the alleged betting scandal finds wrongdoing.

"The Gambling Commission is independent of government - it's independent of me," he said.

"I don't have the details of their investigation, right? They don't report to me, I don't have the details, but what I can tell you is, in parallel we've been conducting our own internal inquiries and of course will act on any relevant findings or information from that and pass it on to the Gambling Commission."

Election latest: betting scandal hangs over Tories

When asked whether he had ever bet on politics whilst being an MP, Mr Sunak replied: "No."

The prime minister, who also ruled out any of his family members being involved, is in Scotland to help Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross launch the party's manifesto.

Speaking before the visit, Mr Sunak said the Scottish Conservatives are "sending the nationalists the strongest message possible that the people of Scotland want to move on from their independence obsession".

The Conservative campaign has been plunged into crisis over claims several people associated with the party placed bets on the date of the election.

Read more:
Bookies to reveal election bets £20 and above
Another top Tory being investigated

Craig Williams, Mr Sunak's parliamentary private secretary and Tory candidate in Montgomeryshire and Glyndwr, admitted to placing a "flutter" on the date of the election and is facing an investigation.

Tony Lee, the party's director of campaigns, and his wife Laura Saunders, the Tory candidate for Bristol North West, are also under investigation.

Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris has rejected calls, including from within Tory ranks, for those facing an investigation to be suspended while the probe is ongoing.

Sir Keir Starmer said Mr Sunak's announcement that there would be an internal party investigation was an effort to kick the story "into the long grass" and showed a "total failure of leadership".

"He's announced an investigation, an investigation designed for one purpose, which is to knock this in the long grass to the other side of the election," Sir Keir said during a speech at Northampton Town football club.

The Labour leader argued an investigation should already have been carried out and added: "It would take half an hour. Who knew? Did you place a bet? That's it."

Sir Keir was echoed by shadow health secretary Wes Streeting, who said the Conservative Party was hiding "behind the Gambling Commission.