“MPs declare sports and bookies as most common donors”

“Sports and betting companies top the list of donors treating MPs to gifts and hospitality.

The Ladbrokes Coral group appeared 15 times in the register of members’ interests, more than any other donor.

Out of 187 donations from UK sources registered by MPs, 58 were from the world of sport. A further 19 were from betting companies.
Ladbrokes Coral said it wanted MPs to take decisions “from a position of knowledge”.

But campaigners for tighter rules on gambling said companies could use hospitality to lobby MPs not to change rules on fixed odds betting terminals.

MPs are required to declare any gifts, benefits and hospitality over a value of £300. The latest register was published on 29 August and most declarations date from the beginning of 2016 to July 2017.

The Ladbrokes Coral Group accounted for 15 entries including trips to Ascot, Doncaster and Cheltenham races, the Community Shield at Wembley and dinner at the Conservative Party conference.

Altogether, the group of companies donated £7,475-worth of hospitality to four MPs, Conservatives Philip Davies (eight occasions – totalling £3,685), Laurence Robertson (four occasions -£2,550) and Thérèse Coffey (twice – £890) and Labour’s Conor McGinn (once – £350).

The total does not include any gifts or hospitality worth less than £300 as MPs do not have to declare this.

ITV appeared eight times and Channel 4 was mentioned five times. BBC Northern Ireland appears once. …”