Each-way bet

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Alf Garnett used to complain that Harold Wilson, while Prime Minister, once garnered a small fortune by betting on the date of the next general election at his local bookies. Although this bright little tale is just a piece of fiction, the neat scam pulled off by some Labour MPs, who bet on Michael Martin to be the Speaker of the House of Commons and then helped their prediction become true by voting for him, did really happen.

Alf Garnett used to complain that Harold Wilson, while Prime Minister, once garnered a small fortune by betting on the date of the next general election at his local bookies. Although this bright little tale is just a piece of fiction, the neat scam pulled off by some Labour MPs, who bet on Michael Martin to be the Speaker of the House of Commons and then helped their prediction become true by voting for him, did really happen.

Frank Roy MP (Lab, Motherwell and Wishaw) is reported to have netted a cool five grand by putting down £250 on his fellow Scot. And rumour has it that another MP won a massive £200,000 on a wager of £10,000 (but doesn't that kind of pocket-money belong only to Tory MPs?).

We are told by busybodying ne'er-do-wells to deprecate this behaviour. They point out this sort of wager breaks several rules in the MPs' Code of Conduct: it employs inside information for personal gain, involves the punters in a conflict of interest, and brings the House of Commons into disrepute. We wonder - no one feels sorry for a bookie. Now, if you happen to see Tony Blair placing a bet at the Sedgefield branch of William Hill, please call this newspaper immediately.

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