In the latest major political news in the UK, Labour’s Deputy Leader Tom Watson has announced his resignation and that he will not be sitting in the upcoming General Election.
The surprising news has sent shockwaves through the UK political scene but also has implications for the gambling industry, given that it was Watson who was spearheading a review into the industry.
While superficially critical of the gambling industry, some of the measures suggested such as the introduction of a gambling ombudsman were actually well received by many stakeholders. The biggest operators also responded to his ambition of raising £100m in funds for problem gambling treatment, research and prevention.
However Watson’s Labour Party is facing considerable internal turmoil at this crunch time of the election, one of its former MPs is pleading for voters to support the opposition Conservative Party rather than Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, and Watson himself survived a botched attempt to remove him from the Deputy Leader role just back in September.
In his resignation letter, Watson said he is not leaving politics but will continue to write about public health issues, citing gambling as one of these. It was an issue that the Labour leader and potential next Prime Minister has noted.
Thank you @tom_watson for your service to our party and your constituents. I know you’ll continue to take on the vested interests of the Murdoch empire, big sugar companies and the gambling industry. This is not the end of our work together. pic.twitter.com/MpYLVklHdr
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) November 6, 2019
As for who will take up the mantel of Watson planned reform of the gambling industry, which included a wholesale revision of the white label model and blanket ban of football shirt sponsorship, the expertise within the Labour Party as it stands remains unclear. The second highest profile speaker on gambling issues is Swansea East MP Carolyn Harris, who is aggressively campaigning for greater restrictions on online gambling.
The implications of Watson’s resignation and the general view of the General Election from a betting perspective will be covered next week in the latest SBC Webinar. Click here to register for A Christmas Snap Election Calls, 15:00 GMT, Wednesday 13 November 2019