UK politicians criticised over gambling advocacy roles

Opposition MPs have claimed there was a conflict of interests.
Opposition MPs have claimed there was a conflict of interests.

Two Conservative members of parliament have been criticised for taking up jobs in the industry.

UK.- Two sitting Conservative members of parliament have been criticised for accepting jobs in gambling advocacy ahead of the government’s review of UK gambling laws.

Laurence Robertson, an MP for Tewkesbury, has accepted a position as parliamentary adviser on sport and safer gambling initiatives at the trade body, the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC).

Philip Davies, MP for Shipley, took a consultancy role at GVC Holdings to advise on responsible gambling and customer service standards, but GVC says he is no longer working with the company.

The appointments were revealed through a parliamentary disclosure reported by The Guardian.

Opposition politicians have said the appointments represent a conflict of interest ahead of the government’s upcoming review of the 2005 Gambling Act.

They are not the first politicians to take up roles in the sector, but the appointments have come in for more criticism because Robertson and Davies are sitting MPs.

Robertson argued that he would not advocate for the industry and would not make submissions to the government’s gambling review.

The BGC said: “[Robertson] is a strong advocate of big changes in the betting industry. Indeed, as a Conservative candidate at the last general election, he stood on a manifesto specifically committed to reforming the Gambling Act.

“His appointment is consistent with the strict parliamentary rules and has already been declared, so it is fully transparent.”

Robertson said: “I have, of course, had registered interests in betting and horse racing for over 20 years and have always, and continue, to observe the strict parliamentary rules on such matters.

“Paid advocacy is, of course, rightly prohibited in parliament and my contract with the BGC rules out such practices anyway.”

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