Election campaign day 35: Tory says bets by politicians may have to be banned

A close Cabinet ally of Rishi Sunak has suggested there may be a case for banning politicians betting on politics.

– What are the odds?

If a punter had walked into the bookies a couple of weeks ago to place a bet on the final stages of the election campaign being dominated by a row over political betting, they would probably have been offered some very long odds indeed.

Yet, as voters ponder who they want to run the country for the next five years, that is exactly what is happening with at least five Tories under investigation by the Gambling Commission as part of its inquiry into bets placed on the date of the election.

In part, it may reflect a sense of stalemate in the policy debate, with both Tories and Labour accused of failing to face up to the scale of the challenges facing the country while smaller parties have been accused of offering unaffordable wish lists.

Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride
Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride has said there may be a case for a ban on politicians betting on politics (Jordan Pettitt/PA)

With reports that as many as 15 Conservative candidates and officials could be implicated, Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride – tasked with the morning broadcast round – admitted he had no idea where it would all end.

“I don’t know what the number is, what the number may or may not end up as, or indeed which parties may be involved,” he said. “So, I don’t know where all of this will lead.”

Mr Stride defended his cabinet colleague, the outgoing Scottish Secretary Alister Jack, who has admitted placing a £20 bet on a summer election in April – before the period under investigation by the commission – saying he had not broken any rules.

He acknowledged, however, that the time may have come for a ban on politicians betting on politics.

“My personal view, I would just say that people shouldn’t do it, but I think we should have a debate about it more broadly,” he said.

However Sir Keir Starmer, who has suspended a Labour candidate for betting against himself in the election, said the problem lay with politicians, not the rules.

“You can see from the reaction of the public that they know straight away that what’s been going on in the Tory Party, this sort of insider dealing, is wrong,” he said.

– Quote of the day

– Sir Ed ‘fesses up

Sir Ed Davey may have spent the campaign polishing his embarrassing dad routine with a series of wacky photo ops, but the Lib Dem leader has now admitted to having the odd political flutter in the past.

He was, however, quick to insist he had not been privy to any insider information and had never backed himself in any election.

Sir Ed Davey stepping out of an orange coloured coach
Sir Ed Davey steps out of the Lib Dem battlebus (Jonathan Brady/PA)

“The one I can remember, because I got very excited, was in 2010 when I thought we were going to win more seats than we did and I lost my bet,” he said.

“I had no insider knowledge, I could see the polls like everyone else could see the polls and I got it wrong.”

Sir Ed backed the idea of the rules for politicians, suggesting such punts were by no means unusual at Westminster and that “lots of people in politics do this”.

– Picture of the day

Sir Keir Starmer and shadow health secretary standing outside by a pair of French windows (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
Sir Keir Starmer and shadow health secretary Wes Streeting take a moment to chat on the campaign trail (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

– Tories v the Time Lord

Rishi Sunak has entered into the bitter spat that has been developing between the equalities minister Kemi Badenoch and the actor David Tennant.

The Prime Minister said it was former Doctor Who star who was “the problem” after he said Ms Badenoch should “shut up”, suggesting that he would rather live in a world where she “doesn’t exist any more”.

The Labour-supporting actor launched his attack at the British LGBT awards last week when he was honoured as a “celebrity ally”.


Ms Badenoch, who strongly backs female-only spaces and has attracted criticism over her views on trans issues, hit back on social media, saying she would not be silenced by a “rich, lefty, white male celebrity” who prioritises “applause from Stonewall over the safety of women and girls”.

Mr Sunak has now waded in, posting: “If you’re calling for women to shut up and wishing they didn’t exist, you are the problem.”

It may seem a brave move by the Prime Minister as Tennant remains one of the the country’s most popular actors.

However, after Tuesday’s attack by the Tories on what they claimed were Labour’s plans to bring in self ID for trans people “by the backdoor,” it suggests the Conservatives see some mileage to be had from the “culture wars” debate.

Certainly, Sir Keir Starmer, who has been accused by Harry Potter author JK Rowling of having “abandoned” women seemed reluctant to get involved saying only that he “wouldn’t have engaged in the way that he (Tennant) did”.

– Young Sir Keir

The Labour leader has been called many things during the course of the campaign but “youthful” has not been one of them – until now.

The 61-year-old appeared delighted when, during a campaign visit to a GP surgery in Coalville in the East Midlands, one surprised patient told him “You look younger in person”. Another agreed, telling him “You do”.

Sir Keir Starmer seated alongsdie shadow health secretary Wes Streeting, and talking to two other people
Sir Keir Starmer and shadow health secretary Wes Streeting chat to patients at the Long Lane Surgery in Coalville, East Midlands (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

“That’s the right way round,” Sir Keir beamed back.

Wes Streeting, the 41-year-old shadow health secretary who was accompanying him on the visit, seemed unconvinced.

“How much have you paid these people?” he demanded.

– Social media moment

The Conservatives came under fire on X, formerly Twitter, after posting a video of the founder of the website MoneySavingExpert.com Martin Lewis that he and other social media users have said is misleading.

The party posted a video of Mr Lewis saying on ITV that a senior member of the Labour Party told him that an unspecified policy would not be included in the party’s manifesto because they could not commit to it, but it was their aim to “do it over the next Parliament”.

The Conservatives captioned the footage: “They’re not telling you the full truth. Labour have said they wouldn’t put up your taxes. But it’s now becoming clear that they have every intention to put them up.”

Mr Lewis commented on the footage, saying “NO WHERE in this comment do I talk about taxes. And the policy that I discussed (i will keep private as it was private) was NOT about taxes, or tax rises, it was about something that would be a positive change”.

The post received many negative replies and a Community Note was added, stating that the video was “unrelated to the text it is presented alongside”.


– What the polls are saying

Five opinion polls have been published in the past 24 hours, all of them showing Labour maintaining a large lead over the Conservatives and Reform UK several points behind the Tories in third place.

A line chart showing the seven-day rolling average for political parties in opinion polls from February 26 to June 26, with the final point showing Labour on 41%, Conservatives 20%, Reform 16%, Lib Dems 11% and Green 6%. Source: PA graphic
(PA Graphics)

Savanta gives Labour a lead of 21 percentage points, Ipsos has Labour with a 23-point lead, JL Partners give them a 16-point advantage, Verian has Labour 17 points ahead, while Survation puts the lead at 23 points.

An average of all polls with survey work completed during the seven days to June 26 puts Labour on 41%, 21 points ahead of the Conservatives on 20%, followed by Reform on 16%, the Lib Dems on 11% and the Greens on 6%.

– What’s happening tomorrow

Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer return to the campaign trail following their final TV debate.