Express & Star

McFadden calls for Tory candidate to be suspended amid betting scandal

Labour's Black Country campaign chief has written to the Prime Minister, calling on him to suspend two candidates amid the 'growing scandal' regarding betting on the General Election date.

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Pat McFadden, who is seeking re-election as MP for Wolverhampton South East, called on Rishi Sunak to suspend Craig Williams and Laura Sanders after it emerged they were being investigated by the Gambling Commission.

Mr Williams, who was MP for Montgomeryshire is alleged to have placed a bet with Ladbrokes in Montgomeryshire three days before Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced the date of the election.

It emerged yesterday that the regulator is also investigating Laura Saunders – wife of the Conservative campaign director Tony Lee – who is the Conservative candidate for Bristol North West. Mr Lee has since taken 'leave of absence' from his duties.

A police constable in Mr Sunak's protection team has been arrested as part of the investigation.

Mr McFadden, who is Labour's campaigns director, has called for both candidates to be suspended.

In a letter to Mr Sunak, he said it was unacceptable that Mr Williams and Miss Saunders were allowed to stand for the party while a police officer facing similar accusations had been suspended.

Pat McFadden

Mr McFadden said there were also questions about how far the scandal extended.

"If some of your most senior colleagues felt they had carte blanche to misuse the inside information they had on the election in order to make a profit, we must ask how many others had advance access to the same information, and placed bets either by themselves, or through their friends and family?"

Mr McFadden called on the prime minister to show a 'sense of urgency and decency about this matter, and do what is necessary both to establish how wide this scandal goes'.

Craig Williams

Mr Williams has issued a statement saying he was cooperating with 'routine enquiries' but added: "I don't want it to be a distraction from the campaign. I should have thought through how it looks."

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has also called for Miss Lee to be suspended.

He told reporters; "This candidate should be suspended and it's very telling that Rishi Sunak has not already done that.

"If it was one of my candidates they'd be gone and their feet not have touched the floor."

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