Tory MP who asked questions in Parliament warning ministers not to crack down on gambling is paid £24,000-a-year by betting industry body

  • Tory MP Laurence Robertson is paid £24,000 a year for 10 hours of work a month
  • Tewkesbury MP is a ‘parliamentary adviser” for the Betting and Gaming Council
  • According to records, he was at least three times a speaker on Government’s Gambling Review.

Conservative MP Laurence Robertson, who is paid by a betting industry body, has spoken out on the Government's gambling review

Laurence Robertson is a Conservative MP who has been paid by the betting industry. He spoke out about the government’s Gambling Review

A Conservative MP who is paid £24,000 a year by the betting industry has spoken out against the introduction of tougher laws on gambling.

Laurence Robertson, the MP for Tewkesbury, is paid the fee of £2000 a month for 10 hours work advising the Betting and Gaming Council, an industry body which lobbies on behalf of gambling companies and bookmakers.

His job is to be a ‘parliamentary advisor on sports and safer gambling. 

The 63-year old, however, denies any conflicts of interest and claims his actions are transparent. He has opposed new gambling laws at least three times in Parliament.

Robertson reminded the MPs last December of the “enormous contribution” that gambling companies made to horse-racing when an announcement was made about a review in gambling laws.

He estimated its value to be £350 million a year and said this was ‘a very large amount to that sport’ without which it would not survive.

According to the Times, Mr Robertson warned ministers in July this year that there is a ‘great danger’ that tougher laws could lead to players using the black market and suggested that there is not enough evidence to warrant greater regulation.

Robertson asked Chris Phelp, the minister responsible for the Gambling Review currently underway by the Government to make sure it was evidence-based. 

He prefaced both occasions by noting that he has registered his interests with MPs. 

It comes amid heightened scrutiny over MPs and second jobs which have been in the spotlight since the resignation of Owen Paterson who was found to have broken lobbying rules while working for two firms that paid him more than £500,000.

Mr Robertson reacted by reminding MPs of 'enormous contribution that betting companies make to horse-racing'. Pictured: Cheltenham Racecourse which is located in his constituency

Robertson responded by reminding the MPs about the ‘enormous contributions that betting companies make horse-racing. Pictured: Cheltenham Racecourse is within his constituency

The standards committee will be reviewing whether MPs can work as consultants. Boris Johnson suggested that they should focus on their constituents and not the other way around.

New scrutiny was applied following the revelation by the Daily Mail that former Attorney General Sir Geoffrey Cox had made hundreds of thousands from his second job, which saw him remotely vote in Parliament from the Caribbean.

Chris Bryant, Labour chairman of the Commons standards committee, yesterday confirmed that a report on the MPs’ code of conduct this month is set to make recommendations on second jobs.

The report would include a recommendation by the Committee on Standards in Public Life that MPs are prohibited from taking up consultancy positions that involve lobbying.

For work as consultants, some 30 MPs make thousands more a year. The outside earnings of several dwarf their Commons salary of £81,932 a year.

Mr Robertson’s remarks come as the Government launched a review into gambling laws while facing pressure to curb advertising, prevent punters spending thousands online and protect the 55,000 children suffering from addiction.

Mr Robertson, who denies a conflict of interest, said tougher gambling restrictions could encourage more gamblers to use the black market when speaking at Parliament this year

Robertson denies any conflict of interest and said that tighter restrictions on gambling could encourage more people to gamble in the black market. He spoke at Parliament this year.

The UK betting industry has seen revenues surge to £14.5billion a year thanks to lax regulation and the growth of gambling on smartphones.

The proposed measures include banning betting ads on football shirts, and cap for online stakes. 

The Times was told by a spokesperson from the BGC that Lawrence Robertson is an advocate for big changes within the betting industry. He has already been publicly declared and his appointment is in accordance with strict parliamentary regulations. It’s therefore fully transparent.

Robertson said that he was the first to be elected as a member of the 1997 election.

“I’ve also referenced the register of interest every time it was appropriate, so I don’t believe that there is a conflict. And, I’ll continue to follow the strict parliamentary rules regarding these matters.”