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Election 2024: Labour suspends candidate after Gambling Commission probe

Labour has administratively suspended Central Suffolk and North Ipswich candidate Kevin Craig. Photo: PA
Labour has administratively suspended Central Suffolk and North Ipswich candidate Kevin Craig. Photo: PA

A Labour candidate has been suspended by the party after the Gambling Commission launched an investigation into him.

Central Suffolk and North Ipswich candidate Kevin Craig is running to be elected to parliament in the place of former Tory Dan Poulter, who is standing down after defecting to Labour ahead of the election.

The probe is understood not to relate to bets on election timing, but rather betting that he would lose in his constituency.

A spokesperson for Labour said after being contacted by the Gambling Commission the party acted immediately to administratively suspend Craig, pending investigation.

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They added: “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.”

It comes after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak pulled support from candidates Craig Williams and Laura Saunders over the general election betting row.

Sunak acted after coming under mounting pressure within the party to take a tougher stance on the alleged use of inside information to bet on the timing of the July 4 poll.

And in a sign of the wider scope of the Gambling Commission’s investigation, the watchdog has also passed information to the Met Police alleging five more officers had placed bets related to the timing of the poll.

In a statement on X, Craig said: “Throughout my life, I have enjoyed the odd bet for fun whether on politics or horses.

“A few weeks ago when I thought I would never win this seat I put a bet on the Tories to win here with the intention of giving any winnings to local charities.

“While I did not place this bet with any prior knowledge of the outcome, this was a huge mistake, for which I apologise unreservedly. I have so much respect for how Keir Starmer has changed the Labour Party and I have been fighting so hard to win this seat and change the country alongside him.

“However, it is right that the party upholds the highest standards for its Parliamentary candidates – just as the public expects the highest standards from any party hoping to serve in government.

“I deeply regret what I have done and will take the consequences of this stupid error of judgement on the chin. I am deeply sorry to the many dedicated and loyal local Labour Party volunteers who have been supporting my campaign. I will comply fully with the investigation.”

City A.M. has contacted Craig for further comment.