Scott Benton, elected as the Conservative MP for Blackpool South, last night had the Conservative whip removed following a Times sting. The MP, who also chairs the APPG on betting and gambling, was filmed offering to lobby ministers on behalf of investors – he even pledged to leak a copy of the gambling harms white paper 48 hours in advance. If Benton had acted on his words, it would be a breach of paid advocacy rules.
Scott had the whip suspended last night – after he referred himself to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards. Benton also laid out his defence to the Times:
“I was concerned that what was being asked of me was not within parliamentary rules… [I] contacted the 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.”
All eyes on the standards commissioner.
According to polling aggregator, UK Polling Report, Blackpool South is set to turn red in any event at the next election – no doubt accounting for why Benton was so quick to get on the ‘displaced list’ of Conservative MPs affected by boundary changes, to be parachuted into new seats. Guido doubts having the whip removed will enhance his prospects…