To the sound of Britney Spears “Oops I did it again” another Tory has been caught in what can only be described as lobbying hot water. Whilst there is no accusation of explicit wrongdoing the optics on his (Philip Davies) conduct looks less than transparent, which is unfortunate given the issues in parliament of “Buy a Tory” that seem to be going on recently. Old Kwasi and his fellow donkey Hancock (we had to get the racing angle in) were offering their services to non-existent South Korean companies for a mere £10,000 a day. Nice work if you have few scruples and can get the work.
The short version was that Davies was found lobbying on behalf of a London casino that wanted some self-serving inclusions to the upcoming gambling white paper. The casino involved (Les Ambassadeurs) wanted to be able to advance lines of credit to ultra-high net-worth individuals (Something that is not currently available to non-UK domiciled people). Bear in mind this MP has previously taken (legally) money from the owners of Ladbrooks as well as close involvement with several other gambling companies and companies running sports fixtures.
Davies, the MP for Shipley in West Yorkshire was wined and dined by Les Ambassadeurs, the company behind the casino. Less than a week later he was writing to the culture secretary about how Les Ambassadeurs was yearning for the lines of credit inclusion and at one point conflated Les Ambassadeurs money as “our money”. Oops. One could think that perhaps the text had been written for him perhaps?
Such conduct in itself is not illegal but in our opinion, fails the sniff test. MP’s are not obligated to declare hospitality with a value of less than £300 but the fine dining menu at one of the top UK casinos that prides itself on its dining, with a good few bottles of wine could easily have smashed through that £300 ceiling without trying. Obviously, no gambling chips were included either!
Rather than explain it, Davies declined to give an on-the-record statement. Unfortunately, his predecessor in the role of co-chair of the parliamentary group on betting (Scott Benton) was suspended because he was offering lobbying services to various gambling concerns with an apparent starting price of £4000 a month. For anyone wanting to see the full story, the Guardian covers it.