July 14, 2024
Tories called election early to 'make loads of money from betting on it', poll finds

Some voters believe the Tories called the election so they could “make loads of money” from betting on the date of it, a focus group has found.

Research by pollsters JL Partners found public anger over the gambling scandal that has derailed the Conservative campaign.

It came as Scotland Yard said it would be taking charge of investigations into politicians where serious breaches of the law are alleged.

Five Tory figures have been named as under investigation by the Gambling Commission over election bets, as has one Labour candidate.

JL Partners put together a focus group for Times Radio of voters who backed the Conservatives in 2019 but plan to switch to Labour.

They came from Dudley, Blyth Valley, and Wakefield, which are all key targets for Sir Keir Starmer.

Responses from the group showed the election betting scandal has become a talking point among voters who are angry at the Tories.

One man questioned whether the party had only called the election to make money out of placing wagers, given that it is so far behind in the polls.

“This is no different to that partygate – we’re being told one thing and they’re just doing another,” the unnamed participant told Times Radio.

“It just doesn’t make any sense to call a general election now because they’re so far behind, so there’s got to be something where someone’s benefited.

“Maybe that’s it – maybe they’ve all made loads of money off betting on it.”

‘Pure corruption’

Another male voter said that senior Tories allegedly betting on the date of the snap election was “pure corruption” and that “they’ve taken the absolute mick”.

He said: “If it was a fixed football match, it’s no different from them betting on that because it’s a dead cert, isn’t it? For me, it’s completely illegal”.

One woman in the group questioned whether the Conservatives had even confected the betting scandal to distract from their record in office.

“I’m just wondering, have they leaked all this to put something else in your head so that some of their policies you’ll kind of forget about?” she asked.

‘Losing all faith’

Another woman added: “You’re just losing all faith in all of them really, not just the ones that have been caught doing it.

“Just with everyone it gives you reason to think, are they in it to help people, are they in it for what they can score out of it?”

Their responses show how the betting scandal has cut through to voters more than any other story as the election enters its crucial last week.

Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir were both questioned on the row by an audience of voters at the final TV election debate on Wednesday night.

Mr Sunak said he was “furious when I learnt about these allegations” and vowed to “boot out” any Tory candidate or official found to have broken the rules.

Sir Keir said the allegations were evidence of declining standards in public life under the Conservatives and vowed to reverse that trend.

“The instinct of these people to think the first thing they should do is try to make money, that was the wrong instinct, and we have to change that,” he said.

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