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MPs plot revolt after Chatham & Aylesford MP Tracey Crouch resigns

Friday 2nd November 2018

TORY MPs are set to exact revenge on the Prime Minister after she prompted Chatham and Aylesford MP Tracey Crouch to resign in a row over action to curb highly addictive gambling machines.

Miss Crouch, the highly-respected sports minister, resigned after Theresa May refused to bring forward to April a cut in the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) from £100 to £2.

In her resignation letter Miss Crouch said that a six-month delay to October 2019 would mean that another £1.6 billion was lost on the machines.

“In addition, two people will tragically take their lives every day due to gambling-related problems,” she said.

In a pointed personal message to Mrs May, Miss Crouch, a 43-year-old mother of one, added: “Your personalsupport earlier this year for a reduction in the stake of fixed odds betting terminals was incredibly welcome and a real reflect of your ambitions set out in your very first speech on the steps of Downing Street to support vulnerable people against the power of big business.

“I cannot begin to explain how many people got in touch to congratulate Government on its stance, including addicts, their families and also, sadly, those who have been left behind after loved ones took their own lives as a consequence of addiction."

Former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith said that he was "enormously proud of my government for taking what was a bold and important decision that put lives ahead of profits”.

He added: “It is not too late. For the sake of those people whose families and lives have been destroyed, and there may yet be more, many more, to follow them, I urge my right honourable friend to think again and to bring forward the date so we may end this scourge.”

The PM said the government's committment had not changed.

Miss Crouch is likely to add her name to a planned amendment to the finance bill, the act that implements the budget. Mr Duncan Smith and Labour MP Carolyn Harris are expected to lay the amendment, which is believed to have the support of about 35 Tory rebels, leaving the government facing the prospect of a bruising defeat.

Labour deputy leader Tom Watson said that he admired Miss Crouch's prinncipled position.