Rishi Sunak’s aide put £100 wager on July election – days earlier than it was introduced

One of Rishi Sunak’s closest aides put a £100 bet on a July General Election – just three days before the Prime Minister announced the date.

Craig Williams, who is standing to be a Tory MP in Montgomeryshire and Glyndwr, admitted he was being looked at by the Gambling Commission after he “put a flutter” on a General Election. In a statement tonight, he admitted he should have “thought through how it looks”.

Mr Williams, who is the PM’s parliamentary private secretary, made a bet with Ladbrokes on May 19 that there would be poll in July, according to The Guardian. The PM announced the election date would be July 4 just three days later on May 22.

Mr Williams could have won a £500 payout on odds of 5/1 for betting correctly. Ladbrokes automatically triggered a red flag on the bet as being potentially placed by a “politically exposed person”, the Guardian reported. The bookmaker then referred the case to the Gambling Commission, with No10 understood to have been informed last week.

Mr Williams, who is the PM’s eyes and ears in Parliament, is likely to face questions on how much he knew about Mr Sunak’s plans to call a summer election, which stunned Westminster.

It is believed he placed the bet via an online account where he would have needed to put in his details including date of birth and debit card. It may be considered a criminal offence if confidential information is used to get an unfair advantage when betting. The Football Association, for example, has strict rules on using insider information for betting.

Shadow Paymaster General Jonathan Ashworth said: “These allegations are utterly extraordinary. Rishi Sunak has sat on this information for more than a week but has lacked any backbone to take action.

“Once again Rishi Sunak has been exposed as utterly weak. After all the Tory financial scandals, this is more evidence that the Tories have learned nothing, haven’t changed, and if given five more years, the chaos will just continue.”

In a statement posted online, Mr Williams 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”. Mr Williams was elected as MP for Montgomeryshire in 2019 with a majority of 12,138.

A Conservative Party spokesman said: “We are aware of contact between a Conservative candidate and the Gambling Commission. It is a personal matter for the individual in question. As the Gambling Commission is an independent body, it wouldn’t be proper to comment further, until any process is concluded.”

A spokesman for the Gambling Commission said: “If someone uses confidential information in order to gain an unfair advantage when betting, this may constitute an offence of cheating under section 42 of the Gambling Act, which is a criminal offence. The Gambling Commission does not typically confirm or deny whether any investigations are under way unless or until they are concluded, or if arrests are made or charges are brought during a criminal investigation.”