Betting Scandal Angers Sunak

Conservatives, especially, haven't shaken trust issues in UK
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 22, 2024 2:40 PM CDT
Betting Scandal Angers Sunak
A man displays a board showing betting odds as people arrive to attend the launch of the Labour Party's 2024 general election manifesto in Manchester, England, last week.   (AP Photo/Jon Super)

Rishi Sunak, who's trailing badly in polls ahead of the UK's July 4 snap election, really didn't need a scandal to complicate his campaign to remain prime minister. But Conservative Party candidates and others close to Sunak are being investigated on suspicion of placing bets on when the election would be held before he called it—a development the incumbent said makes him "incredibly angry" and has given the Labour Party an easy issue to exploit. The scandal has reached into the party's upper levels: Tony Lee, director of campaigning, has taken a leave of absence after falling under investigation, Politico Europe reports.

Sunak has said that anyone involved in placing the bets should be kicked out of his party, per NBC News. UK politicians have been dealing for years with declining public trust of them, exacerbated by former Prime Minister Boris Johnson's parties held while the rest of the country was in COVID lockdown. Analysts say the betting case could reach voters who usually pay little attention to UK politics. "It's a reminder of wounds that have never really healed so far as the public's view of the Conservative Party is concerned," said a pollster.

  • The Guardian has a breakdown of the reality of political gambling in the UK here.
(More Rishi Sunak stories.)

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