Bolton West candidate Chris Green has said he’s ‘never put a bet on anything political’ while serving as an MP.

Mr Green, who served as a Conservative MP from 2015 until Parliament was dissolved ahead of the general election next week, was previously the deputy manager of a bookies in Liverpool – where he said he once had to kick out somebody for a bet which didn’t conform to the rules.

In recent weeks, five Conservatives have been caught up in a Gambling Commission investigation into the alleged use of inside information to bet on the date of the July 4 general election before it was announced.

According to the PA news agency, reports suggest the figure could be as high as 15 parliamentary candidates and officials under investigation, though the Gambling Commission did not confirm the numbers. A Labour candidate is also being investigated for betting against himself winning a seat.

In his previous managerial role at a bookies in Garston, Liverpool, Mr Green said he had come across some suspicious bets himself.

He said: “Some people really know how to work the system and you can tell when they come in placing a vast bet on a very particular race and how they approach it that you’ve got to be very careful to make sure that all the rules are complied with.

“Sometimes you have to challenge it afterwards – the most difficult experience I had was when someone had placed a bet too late, and they couldn’t receive the winnings. Handling a very angry and very big man was quite difficult.”

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Despite his professional history, Mr Green said he had ‘never really been an enthusiast for gambling’ – instead preferring ‘games of skill’.

Asked for his favourite, Mr Green added: “I can’t say poker because I’m rubbish at poker… uh, darts.

“For me the horses would be, unless you’re really immersed in it – that will be random chance, what colour are they wearing on the Grand National or is it a nice name. I’ve never really been interested in that.”

Mr Green said he thought people would find the entire scandal ‘bizarre’, adding that nobody should use insider knowledge to place a bet.

He said: “I think in both cases, we just need to appreciate we live in a democracy – if your local MP is betting against themselves then it probably sends a message to the rest of the constituents of what they might want to do.

“With those using insider knowledge, again, if the local MP has been superb people may balance that out with what they do in terms of placing a bet.

“Fortunately, we live in a democracy, and I think the verdict of constituents is the most important now that that kind of openness and clarity from the Gambling Commission has happened.”

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In addition to politicians, at least seven Metropolitan Police officers also being investigated in the scandal, including one of Rishi Sunak’s protection officers.

Mr Green said: “I think the most surprising part is the number of police doing it. There is an open and active market in political betting and it’s really easy to do.

“If it was generally seen to be a problem then you’d already have rules or regulations to stop it. I think the overwhelming majority of these bets are 100 per cent legitimate, and it’s quite reasonable for most of the bets to happen.

“It’s just a different question if you have insider or specialist knowledge that you can only get from Downing Street.”

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