Tory MP Suspended After Offering to Lobby Parliament for Fake Gambling Investor

  • Scott Benton agreed to leak market-sensitive info and ask parliamentary questions for cash
  • The undercover video shows Benton agreeing to try to water down upcoming gambling reforms
  • He agreed to send the Gambling Act white paper to the fake businessman before its publication
Passing money under table
A Tory MP has been suspended after getting caught on video offering to lobby ministers on behalf of a gambling investor in return for cash. [Image:]

In the UK, Tory MP Scott Benton has been suspended by the Conservative Party after undercover footage showed him offering to lobby ministers on behalf of a gambling investor in return for cash.

The Times carried out the investigation, which involved a man going undercover to pose as a representative for a non-existent company. Ultimately, the probe demonstrated that Benton was willing to break parliamentary rules by leaking information that was market sensitive. He also agreed to ask parliamentary questions on behalf of the fake investment fund. The MP for Blackpool South has since been stripped of the party whip.

MPs are not allowed to raise a matter with ministers in exchange for payment. They also cannot serve as a paid consultant or advisor to firms that are looking to gain influence in Parliament.

According to The Times, the undercover video footage was shot in early March. Benton was led to believe that an Indian businessman had set up an investment fund that was looking to get involved in the UK gaming and betting sector. This businessman was hoping MPs would water down proposed gambling legislation reforms.

In the video, Benton agreed to send the undercover man a copy of the much-anticipated government white paper on gambling reform at least two days before its publication. He also mentioned how he could pose certain written parliamentary questions, something which he had done previously for a different company.Finally, Benton offered a direct line to a minister who was involved in deciding on the reforms.

The two parties agreed to a monthly fee of between £2,000 ($2,494) and £4,000 ($4,987) for just two days’ work.

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