A second Conservative candidate is being investigated by the Gambling Commission for betting offences.

Laura Saunders, a Conservative candidate for Bristol North West, is being investigated alongside her husband Tony Lee, the Conservative Party’s Director of Campaigning, regarding an alleged bet made relating to the timing of the general election.

According to the Conservatives, Lee took an indefinite “leave of absence” from his role on Wednesday.

News of the investigation follows an investigation into Tory candidate Craig Williams, a former senior aide to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, for a similar offence and the arrest of one of the Prime Minister’s police protection officers over betting allegations.

James O’Brien and Natasha Clark discussed the implications of the investigations on O’Brien’s LBC radio show.

Clark said: “This is a real headache for the Conservative Party just two weeks out from the election. You’re 20 points behind in the polls and now you’ve lost your director of campaigning as well as two Tory candidates that have been embroiled in this story.”

Michael Gove, the former Conservative MP for Surrey Heath, admitted to LBC that the news was “beyond embarrassing”.

Gove added: “The principle here is it’s not just a betrayal of trust in the Prime Minister which is very bad. It also means that punters are losing out because of insider information and that means the system isn’t operating fairly.”

The Gambling Commission released a statement confirming that it is investigating the “possibility of offences concerning the date of the election” however due to the fact it is an ongoing investigation it did not confirm the identity of individuals involved in the investigation.

The Conservatives told the BBC that they had been contacted by the Gambling Commission however felt it “wouldn’t be proper to comment further” until the investigation is completed.

If someone uses confidential information to gain an unfair advantage when betting it could be a criminal offence under section 42 of the Gambling Act.

Since the news broke both Labour and Liberal Democrat leaders have called for Saunders and Williams to be suspended as Conservative candidates.

Labour leader, Keir Starmer, told the BBC: “If it was one of my candidates they’d be gone and their feet would not have touched the floor”.

Unfortunate timing for the Conservatives

The news of the allegations broke at an unfortunate time for the Conservatives. 

The day before they had released a video on X, formerly Twitter, of a spinning roulette wheel with the caption “If you bet on Labour, you can never win”.

The post has since been taken down by the Conservatives however the video and screenshots of the tweet can still be found online.

Gambling Commission investigates a second Tory MP