Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins responds to criticism after accepting Euro 2020 ticket from betting company
Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins has responded to criticism after it emerged he accepted a ticket to a Euro 2020 match from a betting company.
Mr Perkins along with four Conservative MPs – Scott Benton, Philip Davies, Esther McVey and Laurence Robertson – received tickets to the England v Denmark semi-final match from Entain Holdings at a value of £3,457 each.
The revelations – in the latest register of MPs’ financial interests – come as the Government is reviewing gambling laws including looking at introducing spend limits.
MPs are required to declare gifts or hospitality which could influence their words or actions as an MP.
Matt Zarb-Cousin, director of the Clean Up Gambling campaign, said: “While the Government reviews our gambling laws, it’s no surprise to see the betting industry on a charm offensive.
“Thankfully the vast majority of MPs are in favour of gambling reform, but legislators should think twice about accepting hospitality from a sector that derives the majority of its profits from people experiencing harm.”
In response to that criticism, Mr Perkins, who has served as Chesterfield’s Labour MP since 2010, said: “I agree with Clean Up Gambling’s view that further reform to protect people who engage in harmful gambling is needed.
“I support people’s right to have a bet, but just as I did when I supported the huge cut in fixed odds betting terminal stakes, I want gambling reform to focus on reducing gambling harm.
“I was happy to accept an invitation to the semi-final and reported it in line with the rules and I’m happy to answer questions about that.
“But it won’t remotely change my view that gambling companies have access to a lot of data on their customers and they must do more to use that data to identify problem gambling.
“The industry employs a lot of people and raises a lot of taxes which is a reason to engage with it, but that must never be a reason to turn a blind eye to gambling harm, and my constituents can be assured that reform that tackles gambling harm will remain my priority.”