UK Conservative Party’s Sir Philip Davies Accused of Betting Against His Election Win


In a twist worthy of a political thriller, Sir Philip Davies, a high-ranking member of the UK’s Conservative Party is at the center of a dilemma. He’s weathering accusations of placing a bet against himself in the upcoming July 4 general election – a seeming act of self-doubt in a landscape already fraught with tension and uncertainty. Although such an act would seem unorthodox, Davies maintains his integrity and asserts he’s broken no laws.

This intriguing tale began with an £8,000 wager reported by the UK tabloid, The Sun. Davies, a stalwart figure in Shipley, Yorkshire’s parliamentary scene since 2005, neither confirmed nor denied the wager. Despite his admission of anticipating defeat in the incoming potential landslide against Conservatives, he revealed no regrets nor feel any guilt. When confronted by The Sun, Davies adopted an air of defiance, retorting, “What’s it got to do with you whether I did or didn’t?” His defense rested on the grounds that such actions, while unusual, were entirely within the legal framework.

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The self-doubt stemming from his speculated wager isn’t a new phenomenon for Davies. He spoke about placing a similar bet on himself during 2005 elections. “I hope to win [in the election],” he professed. “I’m busting a gut to win. I expect to lose. In the 2005 election, I busted a gut to win. I expected to lose. I had a bet on myself to lose in the 2005 election, and my bet went down the pan.”

The Tory re-election campaign is already teetering, taking on water from a series of missteps. A major blow has come in the form of an ongoing investigation by the UK Gambling Commission into allegations of insider betting. Up to five high-ranking party figures are suspected of using inside information to place bets on the timing of the general election, just days before Prime Minister Rishi Sunak officially called it on May 22. Among these figures are Craig Williams, the prime minister’s chief aide, and Laura Saunders, wife of the Conservative Party’s campaign manager. The scandal has led to their suspension from the party.

The Telegraph, a well-respected publication, suggested that as many as 15 party officials may be under suspicion. Furthering the complexity of the situation, one individual in Sunak’s personal security detail, a special police officer from the London Metropolitan Police, is also implicated. Several other metropolitan police officers join him in the fray. If the allegations hold true, the accused could be charged with cheating at gambling, punishable with up to two years in prison. The charges would also include misconduct in public office, carrying a much steeper penalty – a lifetime in prison.

In contrast, if Davies did indeed place a bet on his own failure, it’s not technically breaking the law, as the election’s outcome remains legitimately undecided and outside of his control. Betting against oneself, however sensational it may sound, is only illegal for professional athletes, and that too breaches only the regulations of the sporting body in question, except in cases involving match-fixing.

Ironically, Davies isn’t the first lawmakers accused of betting against himself in this election. That questionable distinction falls on Labour Party candidate Kevin Craig, who admitted to placing the wager “for fun.” He further stated that intended to donate his winnings to local charities. However, despite his seemingly altruistic intentions, he was immediately suspended by his party—another chess piece fallen in the high-stakes game of political betting.