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Welsh politician and aide to Rishi Sunak placed bet on election date before announcement

CRAIG WILLIAMS, a close aide to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, is under scrutiny after it emerged he placed a bet on the timing of the general election just days before it was officially announced. Williams, who served as the MP for Montgomeryshire at the time, reportedly wagered £100 on a July election.

The Gambling Commission has launched an inquiry into the matter. Williams, a former Cardiff councillor who became an MP in 2019, is considered one of Sunak’s closest aides.

According to The Guardian, Williams placed the bet with bookmaker Ladbrokes on Sunday, 19 May, in Montgomeryshire. Prime Minister Sunak announced the surprise general election for 4 July just days later, on 22 May, with Williams standing for re-election.

The bet, which had odds of 5/1, could have resulted in a £500 payout. Ladbrokes’ system flagged the bet, citing Williams as a “politically exposed person”. The bet was reportedly made via an online account requiring personal details such as date of birth and debit card information. Using confidential information for betting could be a criminal offence.

In a statement, Williams acknowledged the accusations and expressed a desire to be transparent. He said, “I’ve been contacted by a journalist about Gambling Commission inquiries into one of my accounts and thought it best to be totally transparent. I put a flutter on the general election some weeks ago. This has resulted in some routine inquiries and I confirm I will fully cooperate with these. I don’t want it to be a distraction from the campaign. I should have thought through how it looks.”

The Guardian reports that Ladbrokes referred the case to the Gambling Commission and that Downing Street officials were informed last week. The bet was allegedly placed while Parliament was still in session, which could breach the MPs’ code of conduct that prohibits actions causing significant damage to the reputation and integrity of the House.

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