Scott Benton, the MP for Blackpool South, has been caught in a Sting Operation indicating that he would be willing to break parliamentary lobbying rules in exchange for money.
Benton offered to table written questions which offered an ‘instant response’ and stated he had direct access to ministers ‘two or three times per day’ – services he agreed that no one outside the political realm had access to. The MP also guaranteed he could leak the upcoming gambling white paper 48 hours before its publication. This occurred during a meeting in Central London with undercover reporters from The Times posing as investors with interests in the betting and gaming industry who were seeking an adviser.
When discussing compensation for this special access, Scott Benton agreed that a figure of £2,000 to £4,000 per month would be appropriate for his services.
Scott Benton has since released an official statement about the incident:
Last month I was approached by a purported company offering me an expert advisory role. I met with two individuals claiming to represent the company to find out what this role entailed. After this meeting, I was asked to forward my CV and some other personal details. I did not do so as I was concerned that what was being asked of me was not within Parliamentary rules. I contacted the Commons Registrar and the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner who clarified these rules for me and had no further contact with the company. I did this before being made aware that the company did not exist and the individuals claiming to represent it were journalists.
The video of the incident can be found on The Times (behind the paywall)