Scott Benton Gambling

MP Scott Benton Offers to Break Rules for FAKE Bookie

It was a bad week for Scott Benton, Tory MP for Blackpool South and now ex whip, who was caught by undercover journalists seemingly offering to lobby parliament on behalf of gambling investors for cash.

He has now been suspended while an investigation takes place, but given that he has been caught on camera it’s hard to think of a reason why the investigation wouldn’t find him guiltier than my missus sitting next to an empty box of biscuits.

Before I get any further, I should make it clear that it was not a real gambling company who attempted to engage Benton to do this, it was a fake company created by the journalists.

Bent(on) by name and by nature, eh Scott?

Here’s what is known so far.

Allegations Against MPs Breaking Rules

Houses of Parliament

There have been stories recently about MPs being willing to break the rules for money, along with reports that spending by gambling companies on ‘entertaining’ members of parliaments have skyrocketed, and this prompted The Times to set up a sting.

They contacted 8 MPs via email from a fake gambling company, saying they wanted to set up a gambling business in the UK but needed an expert advisor due to the “turbulent political and regulatory landscape”.

They also stated that a compensation package was available, and the work would take one or two days a month.

This is fair enough, many companies employ politicians to advise on the political state of affairs as relevant to their businesses. The key word here though, is ‘advise’.

What Benton offered to do, was table questions to the minister who would actually be making decisions on the gambling industry, on behalf of the fake company.

This is very much against parliamentary rules.

He also gave instructions to the fake business on how to influence parliament, which again, is against the rules.

Perhaps most outrageously though, Benton said that he could “guarantee” advanced access to the white paper that is due to come out soon, at least 48 hours before that information is made public.

When asked what his fee would be he turned the question back on the fake company, who offered between £2k and £4k a month for his services, which he agreed was in the right ball park.

Is Scott Benton Guilty?

Innocent or GuiltyThe slightly complicated thing here, is that Benton didn’t actually do anything wrong.

He wasn’t paid and didn’t go ahead and do any of the things he was saying he could do.

In actuality, all he is guilty of is verbally agreeing that he was prepared to break parliamentary rules for financial gain.

Of course, given this has all come to light, he has had to address the allegations.

In a public statement, Benton said:

“Last month I was approached by a purported company offering me an expert advisory role.”

“I met with two individuals claiming to represent the company to find out what the role entailed.”

“After this meeting, I was asked to forward my CV and some other personal details. I did not do so as 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 and the individuals claiming to represent it were journalists.”

This may all be true, but I have literally seen the video of him telling them what he could do for them, so this sudden attack of conscience definitely came after the fact.

In any case, he has been suspended as a party whip, and with his constituency being reshaped under the boundary review before the next election, there is some doubt over how much longer he will remain an MP.

He also says ‘wivvin’ instead of within and ‘bofe’ rather than both, which to my mind is totally unforgiveable and a much better reason to keep him out of office.