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MP: News report is a ‘hatchet job’
11:00am Friday 4th January 2013 in News
Cullingworth and Denholme MP Philip Davies has dismissed as a “misleading hatchet job” a report claiming he failed to declare donations from the gambling industry while he was chairman of a select committee on gambling laws.
A national newspaper claimed Mr Davies was invited to the Cheltenham Festival by Ladbrokes, and received an annual subscription from a business with links to Betfred while the committee was assessing whether gambling laws needed changing.
The trip to the Cheltenham Festival cost Ladbrokes £870, but the newspaper says this was not declared to the select committee when Mr Davies, a former bookmaker, quizzed the company’s chief executive six months later.
Mr Davies has described the article as “nonsense”, pointing out information on the donations has been available to the public for a year and a half.
He said: “It is a misleading article – a hatchet job.
“If I hadn’t declared my donations then that would be wrong, but I had declared them in my register of members’ interests. The Ladbrokes trip happened in March 2011, and I declared it that April.”
The story also said Mr Davies received a subscription valued at £4,680 from Peninsula Business Services – a company run by Peter Done, one of two brothers who founded Betfred.
Mr Davies admits he knew of the link, but saw no financial benefit from the subscription, which would offer his employees support in the case of an employment tribunal.
He said: “In hindsight, I could have referred people to my register of interests at the select committee hearing, but I wasn’t trying to conceal anything.
“I have been making the same arguments about gambling before these donations, and the committee’s decision was unanimous. It is not like I had the casting vote.”
In his response to the newspaper, Mr Davies said people knew of his background, including that he used to work for a bookmakers, and that he did not believe he had any interests to declare to the committee.