UK prime minister’s protection officer arrested over alleged bet on election timing

A police constable working as part of the UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s protection team was arrested this week for allegedly making bets related to the timing of the general election, police told CNN.

The officer was arrested on Monday “on suspicion of misconduct in public office,” a Metropolitan Police spokesperson said Wednesday.

“We can confirm that on Friday, June 14, the Met were contacted by the Gambling Commission who informed us that they were investigating alleged bets made by a police constable from the Met’s Royalty and Specialist Protection Command, which were related to the timing of the General Election,” the spokesperson added.

The constable was removed from his operational duties and the matter was immediately referred to the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards, which opened an investigation, the spokesperson said.

The arrest comes days after the Guardian newspaper reported that a close aide of Sunak made a £100 ($127) bet on a July election date before the prime minister had publicly announced the date. Craig Williams apologised for making the bet, telling the BBC: “I clearly made a huge error of judgment that’s for sure and I apologize.”

The police spokesperson said the country’s Gambling Commission continues to lead its probe into “alleged betting offenses, and our investigation is running in parallel to that.”

When asked for comment, the prime minister’s press office told CNN they had nothing to add to the Met police statement.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday afternoon shortly before the police released their statement, Sunak’s Conservative Party posted a campaign ad on social media that said, “If you bet on Labour, you can never win,” alongside a video of a roulette wheel.

Many people in the comments have since reacted by highlighting the news of the police constable’s arrest for allegedly betting on the election.

The UK general election will take place on July 4. Sunak is down around 20 points in opinion polls, which also suggest the opposition Labour Party is on course to win for the first time since 2005.

Sunak’s floundering campaign was further derailed at the start of June when he apologized for leaving the 80th anniversary commemorations of D-Day early in order to film a TV interview, a decision that prompted anger and disbelief in Britain.

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