Labour suspend candidate over bet that he would lose election

Kevin Craig is understood to have placed a bet that he wouldn't win the seat he's contesting in Suffolk.

Labour has suspended one of their election candidates after the gambling watchdog launched an investigation into him for placing a bet that he would lose the seat he’s contesting.

Kevin Craig is standing for Labour in Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, but the party will no longer support him.

It comes after the Tory party became embroiled in a betting scandal around the date of the election, with five people with connections to the prime minister being investigated by the Gambling Commission for allegedly placing election date bets.

Two of those are Conservative candidates in the election, and after pressure mounting on the PM to act, the party announced on Tuesday it was withdrawing support for them.

A Labour Party spokeswoman said after being contacted by the commission the party acted immediately to administratively suspend Mr Craig pending investigation.

A Labour Party spokeswoman said: “With Keir Starmer as leader, the Labour party upholds the highest standards for our parliamentary candidates, as the public rightly expects from any party hoping to serve, which is why we have acted immediately in this case.”

Mr Craig is the CEO of a political communications and crisis management company.

He’s standing in a seat which recently saw a defection from the Tories to Labour. Dan Poulter defected to the Labour Party in April, but is not standing for re-election.

The Tory candidates the party withdrew support from on Tuesday are Craig Williams – who was the prime minister’s parliamentary aide – and Laura Saunders, who is standing in Bristol North West, will no longer have the support of the party.

Because nominations have closed, Mr Williams – who is standing in Montgomeryshire and Glyndwr – and Ms Saunders will both still be on the ballot paper as Conservative candidates.

The withdrawal of support means the party won’t campaign for them, and is effectively therefore not standing candidates in those seats.

Alongside Mr Williams and Ms Saunders, two of Sunak’s close team are also being investigated – Ms Saunders’ husband and Director of Campaigning Tony Lee, and Chief Data Officer Nick Mason, along with one of the prime minister’s close protection officers, who has not been identified.

On Tuesday, the Metropolitan Police revealed they have received information from the gambling watchdog about another five officers who allegedly placed bets on when the election would take place.

A Met Police spokesperson said: “It is still the case that only one officer is under criminal investigation.

“We have, however, been passed information from the Gambling Commission alleging that five further officers have placed bets related to the timing of the election.

“The Gambling Commission continues to investigate these matters. The officers have not been arrested but the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards has been informed.”

The force also gave more details on the officers’ roles – with none of the additional five being in a close protection position.

“The officers are based on the Royalty and Specialist Command, the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command and the Central West Basic Command Unit.

“Decisions on whether they will be subject to any restrictions will be taken in due course.”

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