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UK government suspends MP caught offering to lobby for gambling

UK government suspends MP caught offering to lobby for gambling

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A Conservative Member of Parliament in the UK who was caught by undercover journalists offering to take money from a gambling company money in exchange for asking questions in parliament has been suspended.

Scott Benton MP was caught on camera by journalists from The Times newspaper, listing the different ways he could lobby on behalf of the non-existent business.

His proposals would have broken UK parliamentary rules, which forbid members from supporting a particular matter in the House in exchange for payment. An investigation into Mr Benton’s conduct is now underway.

This news comes as the UK government carries out a review of its gambling laws, with operators concerned about how these changes might affect their profitability.

Mr Benton, Chair of the Parliamentary All-Party Betting & Gaming Group, told journalists he could try to soften any proposed restrictions by questioning them and speaking to a Minister responsible for making decisions. He also offered to provide a copy of the imminent gambling White Paper to the company at least two days before it is published.

The MP agreed with a fee proposed by the reporters in the range of £2,000 to £4,000 a month for two days’ work.

Commenting, Mr Benton said: “I met with two individuals claiming to represent the company to find out what this role entailed. After this meeting, I was asked to forward my CV and some other personal details. I did not do so as I was concerned that what was being asked of me was not within parliamentary rules.

“I contacted the House of Commons Registrar and the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner who clarified these rules for me and had no further contact with the company. I did this before being made aware that the company did not exist and the individuals claiming to represent it were journalists.”