British Member of Parliament (MP) Scott Benton has found himself in a precarious position. His Conservative Party has removed him from their ranks pending an investigation into his alleged involvement in a fraudulent gambling enterprise.
Benton, who represents the constituency of Blackpool South, was caught on camera by undercover reporters of The Times seemingly agreeing to provide confidential market and investment data to other lawmakers on behalf of a gambling investor. This action is in direct violation of Parliamentary norms and has led to an inquiry by the UK’s Parliamentary Committee on Standards. Benton has denied any wrongdoing, but existing evidence may prove otherwise.
Recordings of Benton show him discussing a plan to help an undercover reporter posing as an Indian investor, who was interested in investing in the British gambling and sports industry, by creating disruption in the upcoming gambling white paper. He offered to provide the investor with a copy of the white paper before it was made public, giving him an advantage over other operators. Furthermore, he assured the investor that he could provide access to decision-makers and engage with them personally outside of the Commons voting room. All of this was to be provided for a fee of between £2,000 and £4,000.
This is yet another example of a scandal to plague the UK’s political system. Just last month, another investigation uncovered two former cabinet ministers who were willing to offer favors to a fake South Korean company in exchange for £10,000. The individuals caught in this sting were Matt Hancock, who had resigned due to an affair while married, and Kwasi Kwarteng, who served as the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer for less than two months last year. His attempt to introduce a new tax plan in September not only failed, but also resulted in the pound hitting its lowest point in trading against the US dollar.