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Tracey Crouch resigns from government over gambling crackdown row

Ashley Cowburn
Political Correspondent
Thursday 01 November 2018 11:19
Theresa May hits back at Jeremy Corbyn over Labour's confusion on tax cuts

Tracey Crouch has resigned as the sports minister after the government refused to back down on the timetable for reducing the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs).

She had lobbied unsuccessfully for the change to be made earlier than the planned date of October 2019.

Betting industry groups had reportedly said they would be ready to implement the cut by next April, but the government confirmed in the Budget that the change would not be made until next October.

The MP tweeted: "It is with great sadness I have resigned from one of the best jobs in Government. Thank you so much for all the very kind messages of support I have received throughout the day. Politicians come and go but principles stay with us forever."

In her resignation letter to Ms May, Ms Crouch said: "Unfortunately, implementation of these changes are now being delayed until October 2019 due to commitments made by others to those with registered interests.

"From the time of the announcement to reduce stakes and its implementation, over £1.6 billion will be lost on these machines.

"In addition, two people will tragically take their lives every day due to gambling-related problems and, for that reason as much as any other, I believe this delay is unjustifiable.

"I know there is never a good time to resign and appreciate that this will be an unwelcome distraction, but as the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said in the House this morning, it is a fact of government that ministers must adhere to collective responsibility and cannot disagree with policy, let alone when it is policy made against your wishes relating to your own portfolio."

This liveblog has now closed but you can see the updates below


Welcome to The Independent's politics liveblog - we will be bringing you the latest updates from Westminster, as a series of votes are due to be held on Philip Hammond's Budget that was unveiled earlier this week. 

Ashley Cowburn1 November 2018 09:54
Ashley Cowburn1 November 2018 09:56
Ashley Cowburn1 November 2018 09:57
Ashley Cowburn1 November 2018 09:57
Ashley Cowburn1 November 2018 10:18

Jeremy Wright, the culture secretary, is currently responding to an urgent question on fixed-odds betting terminals - after reports in the Daily Telegraph that one minister in the government department, Tracey Crouch, is on the brink of resigning from her role over a decision to delay the gambling crackdown by several months.

Mr Wright, however, is rejecting the claim in the Commons that the government is delaying the introduction of the crackdown, saying policy has not changed.

Tom Watson, the shadow culture secretary, asks if Ms Crouch is resigning, but Mr Wright plays down the speculation, adding she is "doing an oustanding job as minister for sports and civil society" and deserves considerable credit for the decision to cut the maximum stake at betting terminals from £100 to £2.

Ashley Cowburn1 November 2018 11:03
Ashley Cowburn1 November 2018 11:14
Ashley Cowburn1 November 2018 11:29

In regards to speculation regarding Tracey Crouch threatening to resign, the prime minister's spokesperson has just attempted to play down reports at a regular briefing, saying: “As far as I'm aware, the minister has been travelling back from the United States.”

Ashley Cowburn1 November 2018 11:43

In other news, Downing Street have rejected they are planning an end of round-the-clock "boozing" at airports (as reported by The Sun this morning). The newspaper suggested a Home Office review could see an end to the "morning pint" for travellers. 

But at a regular briefing, a spokesperson for the PM said they had "No intention of banning the consumption of alcohol at airports."

The evidence of a problem is "anecdotal", they added, saying the government had simply established a call for evidence to probe the scale of the problem.

Ashley Cowburn1 November 2018 11:53

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