Rishi Sunak has been blasted as a hypocrite after waging a £1,000 bet with Piers Morgan over whether deportations to Rwanda will begin before the General Election.
Being interviewed by Mr Morgan on TalkTV this afternoon, the journalist said his “grim prediction” is that the flagship border control plan will not work.
He wagered: “I’ll bet you £1,000 to a refugee charity you don’t get anybody on those planes before the election. Will you take that bet?”
The Prime Minister emphasised he does want to get illegal migrants on the plans and is “working incredibly hard” to get them off the runway. The duo shook hands as Mr Morgan repeated “£1,000”.
While the bet drew widespread criticism from opposition parties and left-wingers opposed to the Rwanda policy, it’s now sparked accusations of hypocrisy given the Government’s own gambling legislation.
The free market Institute for Economic Affairs think tank used the moment to highlight personal privacy concerns from the nanny state legislation.
The IEA’s Head of Lifestyle, Chris Snowdon, said: “It’s fine for Rishi Sunak to make a private £1,000 bet with Piers Morgan but under the government’s forthcoming anti-gambling laws, anyone placing a bet with an online bookmaker for the same amount would face intrusive affordability checks”.
“No doubt Mr Sunak would easily pass such a check but many ordinary punters will be uncomfortable sharing their private information just for the privilege of spending their own money.”
The Racing Post explained that the £1,000 stake would be enough to see the loser face an “enhanced financial check, due to the new £1,000 threshold for ‘binge gambling’.
Anyone who loses the sum within 24 hours faces such a check. According to the Government’s white paper, the enhanced financial checks assess “whether a customer’s level of spend is likely to be harmful to them”.
It also includes a review of their financial data, and could require Mr Sunak to provide bank statements and P60s.
The Lib Dems were humiliated this afternoon after trying to get Mr Sunak in trouble with the House of Commons speaker over the controversial bet.
MP Alistair Carmichael asked the Chair to confirm whether the PM would have to declare the £1,000 bet in his register of interests.
The deputy speaker bluntly pointed out: “I suspect that if every member of parliament who placed a bet on anything was required to register it in the book of members’ interests, the book might be rather full!”
“Nice try, but that is not a matter for the chair.”