Top Tory in car crash interview after being grilled on election bet scandal

'One of the worse car crash interviews I’ve ever seen'

Tory Minister Chris Heaton-Harris

Tory Minister Chris Heaton-Harris landed himself in a car crash interview on Monday morning as allegations about Tories placing bets on the date of the election continues to dominate the line of questioning. 

The Northern Ireland Secretary was rinsed for his performance during the media rounds this morning, after he appeared flustered as his answers started to fall apart when probed on the betting scandal. 

He was asked on LBC why the Tory candidate Craig Williams was still allowed to stand in the election, after he admitted he had made a mistake in placing a bet on the election. 

Williams was an aide to the Prime Minister in the last Parliament and allegedly placed a £100 bet on a July election, three days before it was announced. He was the first person to be investigated and admitted he had made a “huge error of judgement” in placing a “flutter” on the date of the next general election.

Heaton-Harris suggested the Conservative Party does not know whether Williams had insider knowledge and must wait for the Gambling Commission to finish its investigation.

“There’s both a principled point and practical point there,” the top Tory figure told LBC.

“The fact needs to be determined whether he had prior knowledge, because the whole point of this is whether he had knowledge of the date or not, which is what the Gambling Commission are investigating.”

“But he basically admitted he made a mistake and has apologised for it, so why is he still in the party?” cut in Nick Ferrari.

Heaton-Harris responded: “Ye, yep, not quite until the Gambling Commission say, exactly, the answer is not quite and they are independent of us so..”

“So even though the man himself admits it, the Conservatives still have to wait for the Gambling Commission to underscore what the man himself says, is that right?” Ferrari went on seemingly bemused by the case. 

“He said he made a bet and that was a mistake.. we don’t know whether he did that with prior knowledge or whether that was just a hunch or whatever, so until that comes to be true or he’s found out we don’t know,” said the Conservative.

Ferrari went on to ask the Minister how damaging this scandal was to the party, to which Heaton-Harris admitted, “well, god, it’s not great” and that the party should be out talking about policies, rather than damage control on another sleaze scandal. 

One social media user said it was: “One of the worse car crash interviews I’ve ever seen.”

Another X user wrote: “There really is no point in re-watching The Thick of It anymore. Tory reality is far more ridiculous.”

Labour’s Jess Phillips replied to the video: “I’ve got an idea, ask Craig Williams if he knew and ask Rishi Sunak if he told him. It’s not complicated.”

Hannah Davenport is news reporter at Left Foot Forward

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