Fri. Mar 31st, 2023


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Tory MPs demand action to stop Strasbourg court raiding Lottery fund

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Gambling Commission gives evidence on the National Lottery

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Conservative MPs have reacted with fury that the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) could force the National Lottery to pay out £600 million from the Community Fund to an Italian company because it failed to get the rights to the competition. The row is seen as the latest evidence that Britain needs to end the ECHR jurisdiction in Britain before Brexit can be completed. has learnt a letter to Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan has been sent by 10 Conservative MPs demanding she intervenes in the legal challenge by Italian-owned International Game Technology (IGT).

The row follows concerns over the ECHR trying to force the UK Government to give prisoners the vote and, more recently, vetoing the deportation of illegal migrants to Rwanda in a hearing where the judge was not even named.

The MPs wrote: “The ECHR is not only being relied upon by criminal gangs to encourage people to make illegal trips across the Channel in small boats, but is now turning into a plaything for wealthy overseas corporations that are putting millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money at risk.

“We realise this is a legal process which must be tested in the courts without political interference.

“But regardless of the strength or weakness of either side’s case, we are clear that attempting to squeeze up to £600 million out of the public purse at this time is totally unacceptable.”

They continued: “Can you confirm, should legal proceedings determine that IGT should be awarded a financial sum in compensation, that this is not met by diverting funds away from National Lottery good causes, or indeed by any public money.

“Our constituents and the British taxpayer expect us to be careful with the way we spend money on their behalf and it’s vital that these precious funds go towards projects that are in Britain’s interest.”

The signatories included MPs Damien Moore, Ben Bradley, James Grundy, Henry Smith, Andrew Bridgen, Scott Benton and Elliot Colburn and three others.

The row started in March 2022 with the announcement by the Gambling Commission that Allwyn would run the next licence of the Lottery – not Camelot.

Camelot then threatened legal action but the new operator, Allwyn, announced it had bought Camelot off a Canadian teachers pension fund so it was assumed the problem had gone away.

However, it was revealed last month that IGT (who had an interest in Camelot as its former tech partner) was making an application in Strasbourg for compensation of up to £600 million.

The issue has been the subject of an inquiry by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) select committee.

The problems with the ECHR have been raised separately by Stoke North MP Jonathan Gullis this week.

He told a gathering of Tory Brexiteers on Monday night that Brexit cannot be completed until the UK has left the ECHR jurisdiction.

It is understood that Home Secretary Suella Braverman privately gave the same advice over the migrant crisis and taking back control of Britain borders when she was attorney general.

Mr Gullis tabled a bill last year to allow the UK government to ignore the ECHR on specific issues when necessary which he believes the government should adopt.

Mr Bridgen, a Brexit spartan, said: “By now I would have hoped we would have taken back control of our money and our borders. Obviously not.”


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