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Politicians should not bet on election results, says Swinney



Politicians should not bet on election results, says Swinney

Those involved in politics should not bet on the outcome of elections, SNP leader John Swinney has said.

Scotland’s First Minister compared the situation to gambling on football, where players are prohibited to bet on matches.

He has previously criticised Scottish Secretary Alister Jack for placing bets on the timing of the election.

Mr Jack has already said he had no knowledge of when the election would take place until Rishi Sunak fired the starting gun on the campaign on May 22.

The Scottish Secretary, who is not standing for re-election, has also said he did not break Gambling Commission rules with bets he placed.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has said he has placed small bets on the outcome of some seats on July 4, saying that is very different from insider betting and is merely “showing confidence” in his friends.

Speaking to the BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme, Mr Swinney said: “I don’t think that people who are involved in politics should bet on the outcome of elections.

“We are in an individual sense, we have knowledge that we acquire as we go around election campaigning, that obviously can inform our judgments better than most other people who won’t perhaps know what is going on.

Alister Jack in a hi-vis jacket speaking while being interview on camera
Alister Jack placed bets on the timing on the election well before Rishi Sunak named the date (Jane Barlow/PA)

“I think there is an analogy to be made here with footballing where footballers are not allowed to bet on games with which they are involved, and I think the same should apply to politics.”

Asked if any SNP candidates have placed a bet on the election, he said: “I’m not aware of anybody, nothing has been drawn to my attention.

“The Gambling Commission has not been in touch with us about any of these issues, so I am not aware of it.

“Just for the record, I haven’t placed any bets, never have done in politics, and I don’t think people should do so.”

Mr Jack has made clear he “did not place any bets on the date of the General Election during May – the period under investigation by the Gambling Commission”.

Alex Cole-Hamilton smiling while standing under an umbrella
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has said he has placed a number of small bets on individual contests (PA)

He has told the BBC: “I am very clear that I have never, on any occasion, broken any Gambling Commission rules.

“Furthermore, I am not aware of any family or friends placing bets. I have nothing more to say on this matter.”

Mr Cole-Hamilton said on Wednesday: “Like a lot of people who have an intense interest in politics, I have been known to have a flutter and I have put a very small number of bets on certain outcomes of races across the British isles at this election.

“But you can’t predict the outcomes of elections, it’s never a sure thing.

“I’m just backing my friends who are working hard and deserve to win.”

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