Second Tory candidate looked into over election betting

Second Tory candidate looked into over election betting

22 minutes agoBy Chris Mason, Political editor, @ChrisMasonBBC • Sam Francis, Political reporter, @DavidSamFrancisReuters

A second Conservative candidate is being looked into by the Gambling Commission over a bet relating to the timing of the general election, the BBC can reveal.

Laura Saunders is the party’s candidate in Bristol North West and has worked for the party since 2015.

It is understood she worked most recently in the party’s International Division – a department of Conservative Campaign Headquarters which liaises with other centre-right parties around the world.

It is not known when the bet was placed or for how much money.

A Conservative Party spokesman told the BBC: “We have been contacted by the Gambling Commission about a small number of individuals. As the Gambling Commission is an independent body, it wouldn’t be proper to comment further, until any process is concluded.”

Ms Saunders has been approached for comment and has not offered a response.

Laura Saunders

Ms Saunders is the second prospective parliamentary candidate being looked into by the gambling regulator.

Last week Craig Williams, who had been a parliamentary aide to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, apologised and said he had made a “huge error of judgement” over betting on the date of the general election.

Mr Williams, the Conservative candidate for Montgomeryshire and Glyndwr, allegedly placed a £100 bet on a July election three days before Mr Sunak announced it would happen on 4 July.

The confidential use of information in order to gain an unfair advantage when betting “may constitute an offence of cheating under Section 42 of the Gambling Act, which is a criminal offence”, according to a Gambling Commission spokesperson.

Separately, on Wednesday the BBC revealed a police officer from the prime minister’s close protection team had been arrested for allegedly betting on the timing of the general election.

The officer has been suspended and is under investigation for potential misconduct in public office.

The Met was contacted by the Gambling Commision on 14 June, which informed the force that it was investigating alleged bets made by a police constable from the Met’s Royalty and Specialist Protection Command.

The Met told the BBC: “The matter was immediately referred to officers in the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards, who opened an investigation, and the officer was also removed from operational duties.”

The officer was arrested on Monday, then taken into custody and bailed pending further enquiries.

The other candidates standing in Bristol North West are:

Caroline Gooch, Liberal DemocratsDarren Jones, LabourScarlett O’Connor, Reform UKMary Page, GreenLaura Saunders, ConservativeBen Smith, SDPConservative PartyGeneral election 2024

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