Posted on: April 6, 2023, 02:09h.
Last updated on: April 6, 2023, 02:09h.
British Member of Parliament (MP) Scott Benton has put himself in a situation he won’t be able to talk himself out of. His Conservative Party has sent him packing while they investigate him for allegedly peddling a fake gambling company to other politicians in exchange for money and favors.
Benton, the MP for Blackpool South, has allegedly appeared in footage that shows him brokering deals on behalf of gambling investors, according to The Times. Using undercover reporters, a confidential investigation by the media outlet revealed that he had gone against congressional norms by offering to provide fellow lawmakers with confidential marketing and investment data on his behalf.
The politician, who has been in office since 2019, now faces an investigation by the UK’s Parliamentary Committee on Standards. Benton already lost the Tory whip because of the scandal, but has denied he did anything wrong. Existing video footage may prove otherwise.
Caught on Film
Recordings of Benton on camera reveal statements to journalists, disguised as investors, expressing his readiness to challenge the regulations that restrict MPs from championing any cause during sessions or lobbying for services in return. They can’t serve as paid advisors or consultants in Parliament or offer guidance to businesses on promises of swaying Parliament.
During a meeting last month, Benton allegedly discussed his plan to help an Indian investor – in reality, a reporter – who was interested in investing in the UK’s gambling and sports industry. He promised that he could help the investor by creating a disturbance in the government’s upcoming gambling white paper.
Benton reportedly promised to give the investor a copy of the white paper before it was made public. This would give him an edge, as he would have access to market data before anyone else. The white paper will likely include several new restrictions for operators that will influence their profits.
In addition, he shared that he possesses the ability to compose parliamentary inquiries, citing previous instances where he fulfilled this task on behalf of the company. Benton expressed confidence in his ability to provide access to the decision-making officials and engage with them personally, even outside the confines of the Commons voting room.
The MP was willing to give up the information for between £2,000 and £4,000 (US$2,489 and $4,979). It was a lucrative deal, as it would have apparently required only two days to complete.
When The Times broke the story, Benton admitted that he met with the individuals but denied any wrongdoing. He stated that he cut off communications with the “investors” after the meeting over concerns that his actions might violate regulations or laws.
Led By Donkeys
The UK political system has been dealing with one embarrassing scandal after another for the past couple of years. Even as the people try to put someone at the top of the government to help find balance, there has been an increase, not a decrease, in political turmoil.
Last month, another investigation uncovered additional issues within Parliament. Anti-Brexit and anti-Conservative Party lobby group Led By Donkeys reportedly identified two other wayward politicians last month.
The group conducted a sting operation that ensnared two former cabinet ministers willing to deal with a fake South Korean company. To give it favors, they allegedly expected £10,000 (US$12,449) in return.
Although no charges resulted from the sting, the case still proved to be further embarrassment to a government that has promised to restore integrity. One of the individuals in the Led By Donkeys sting was Matt Hancock, who resigned from politics last December for having an affair while married. He had also put the individual on his payroll at the expense of taxpayers.
The other individual was Kwasi Kwarteng, who served as the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer for just 38 days under Liz Truss last year. When he tried to present a new tax plan in September to stop the economic slide, the result was the opposite. The pound hit its lowest point ever in trading against the US dollar.