Tory data chief takes leave of absence amid General Election betting claims | Politics | News

June 23, 2024
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The Conservative Party’s chief data officer has taken a leave of absence amid claims he placed bets on the timing of the General Election.

The PA news agency understands that Nick Mason has taken a leave of absence after becoming the latest Tory to be investigated by the Gambling Commission for allegedly betting on the timing of the election before the date had been announced.

The latest allegations were published by The Sunday Times, which claimed dozens of bets had been placed with potential winnings worth thousands of pounds.

The revelations are a fresh blow to Rishi Sunak’s hopes of getting the Tory election campaign on track after three other Conservative figures were caught up in the scandal.

Tony Lee, the party’s director of campaigns, and his wife Laura Saunders, are under investigation by the Commission.

Ms Saunders, a Conservative candidate in the Bristol North West constituency, has said she will co-operate fully with the investigation.

Craig Williams, who was the Prime Minister’s parliamentary private secretary and is the Conservative candidate for Montgomeryshire and Glyndwr, has admitted to putting “a flutter” on the date of the election and is also facing a probe.

Michael Gove, the Housing Secretary, has condemned the latest reports, and likened the controversy to Partygate.

“It looks like one rule for them and one rule for us,” he told the Sunday Times, adding: “That’s the most potentially damaging thing.”

Mr Gove went on to suggest it was “just not acceptable” for those in a “privileged position” close to the Prime Minister to use what he described as “inside information to make additional money for yourself”.

A Conservative spokesman said: “As instructed by the Gambling Commission, we are not permitted to discuss any matters related to any investigation with the subject or any other persons.”



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