'A Sign Of Moral Decay': Trevor Phillips Clashes With James Cleverly Over Top Tories Betting On Election Date

James Cleverly and Trevor Phillips.
James Cleverly and Trevor Phillips. Sky News

Trevor Phillips clashed with James Cleverly over the betting scandal which has sent the Tories’ election campaign into meltdown.

The Sky News presenter said it was a sign of the party’s “moral decay” and demanded to know why Rishi Sunak had not sacked those alleged to be involved.

It came as the Conservatives’ chief data officer, Nick Mason, became the latest senior official to be dragged into the affair.

According to The Sunday Times, he has taken a leave of absence amid allegations he placed dozens of bets on the date of the election.

Two Tory candidates, the party’s director of campaigns and one of the PM’s close protection officers are also under investigation.

On Sunday Morning with Trevor Phillips this morning, the presenter told the home secretary: “The prime minister talked two weeks ago about the moral mission of your government to reform welfare.

“Let’s talk about morality. Is it a sign of the Conservative Party’s moral decay that some of your colleagues were more interested in stuffing their own pockets by gambling on the date of the election than on helping hard-pressed families hit by the cost of living?”

Cleverly replied: “I’m not in any way going to defend people who placed bets on that There is an investigation by the Gambling Commission and we have been told very, very clearly that we are not to discuss the investigations.”

Phillips went on to ask the minister why Sunak had not taken firm action against those involved.

He said: “The prime minister claims to be furious, but he says it’s all got to go through this process. Why doesn’t he, like any other employer might do in this situation, call in the alleged offenders, ask them ‘did you place a bet or did you not place a bet’ ... and if the answer is yes, sack them?”

After Cleverly said that was the Gambling Commission’s job, Phillips told him: “No, no, no - he’s the prime minister. These people work for him. He can do whatever he wants.

“If it were you, he’d say ‘James, tell me the truth. Did you or did you not?’. And you, being an honest man, would say yes or no.”

But the home secretary replied: “I don’t necessarily know the process in detail, but the Gambling Commission is the appropriate body for this. They have said they’re investigating and they’ve also said it is inappropriate for us to comment on what is a live investigation.”

Phillips hit back: “He’s the prime minister - he doesn’t get told what to do by the Gambling Commission.”