UK Politician Bet $10K on Himself to Lose Upcoming Election

Last week’s scandal involved senior British Conservative Party politicians making bets on the general election date with inside information from current Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. This week, it has emerged that one current Conservative member of parliament bet on himself to lose his seat in the July 4 contest. 

Sir Philip Davies (pictured) has been Conservative MP for Shipley in West Yorkshire in the north of England since 2005. Amid widespread acceptance that his party is in for a landslide loss in the 2024 election, Davies allegedly placed an £8000 (US $10,200) wager that the people would vote him out of his job on July 4. 

Although the optics are obviously not good for the party, Davies, or the local people in Shipley he represents, political wagers of the kind he made are fully legal in the UK.

That’s in comparison to a dozen other Conservative politicians who are currently under investigation for allegedly using insider information when placing bets on the election date last month before Sunak’s surprise announcement.

The Allegations 

The alleged bet from Davies was first revealed by UK newspaper The Sun earlier this week. The paper asked the MP for comment before running the story. 

“What’s it got to do with you, whether I did or didn’t? I hope to win. I’m busting a gut to win. I expect to lose,” Davies said. 

“In the 2005 election, I busted a gut to win. I expected to lose. I had a bet on myself to lose in the 2005 election, and my bet went down the pan. And if anyone’s alleging I’ve done anything illegal, they’re very welcome to allege it. But I’m afraid I haven’t.”

A dozen other Conservative politicians, and one from the competing Labour Party, have been caught up in the election betting scandal. 

A key aide to Sunak, Craig Williams, admitted placing a bet on the election date, but denied having inside information before putting his money down.

Conservative Party campaign director Tony Lee, and his prospective MP candidate wife Laura Saunders, have also been implicated.

The Reactions

All three of the Conservative politicians have since been suspended from the party by Sunak. The scandal also extends to his nonpolitical team, including half a dozen London police officers on security detail for the PM who allegedly placed similar inside bets. 

Meanwhile, Labour party candidate for the Central Suffolk and North Ipswich area, Kevin Craig, this week admitted placing a bet on himself to lose his upcoming election battle. 

The Labour Party immediately suspended him when the news broke, and is said to be in the process of returning £100,000 that Craig has donated to the party over the past year. 

The investigations into the betting were initially confined to the gambling regulator the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC). However, parts of the widening probe have now been handed over to London’s Metropolitan Police Force and the Crown Prosecution Service.

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