UK Minister Denies He Bet Governing Party Would Falter

Lord West got 66-1 odds on Labour defeat
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 27, 2009 2:17 PM CDT
UK Minister Denies He Bet Governing Party Would Falter
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, right, sits with Lord West after West presented his report on terrorism prevention, Nov. 14, 2007.   (AP Photo)

Lord Alan West, the UK’s colorful security minister, today denied he’d bet on the Labour party’s defeat in the next election, the Times of London reports. The Telegraph yesterday alleged that West placed the bet when Gordon Brown succeeded Tony Blair as prime minister, grabbing 66-1 odds. West refuted that, adding, “I have never placed a bet at all while a minister ever on a political issue.”

Ministers aren’t specifically barred from betting against their own party. But such a bet would be a grave embarrassment to Brown, who appointed the former Royal Navy head as part of his push to fill the government with experts from beyond the political ranks. West’s indiscretions and bloopers have drawn fire before, from an alleged affair with an Abba singer to saying he wasn’t “totally convinced” by the government’s counter-terrorism strategy. (More Lord West stories.)

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