‘Analyst/gambler’ sends letter for LDems in Lewisham East – has bet heavily on outcome

An outraged tweet by a London resident has revealed that the LibDems – as the ‘imprint’ at the bottom of the letter – have been sending a letter to voters in today’s Lewisham East by-election from the founder and editor of the ‘PoliticalBetting.com’ website, Mike Smithson:

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The full letter attempts to persuade voters that they should switch their support from Labour candidate Janet Daby to the LibDem candidate Lucy Salek in order to ‘force Jeremy Corbyn to reconsider his vote for Brexit‘.

Ms Daby is a strong remain supporter. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said that he will honour the result of the EU referendum – and his intelligent handling of the delicate Brexit issue has been widely acknowledged as playing a key role in Labour’s strong electoral performances under his leadership, but the letter ignores such considerations:

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Mr Smithson, speaking from a Spanish train, told the SKWAWKBOX that the letter had not been his idea but was sent at the direct request of the Lib Dem party, who knew what he was going to say because they had seen similar comments on his website.

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Mike Smithson’s Twitter profile

He also admitted that he had ‘taken a very large position‘ on the LibDems coming above the Tories at tonight’s count – “as much as I’ve been able to get on at Ladbrokes and I stand to do reasonably well if it happens“.  He did not, however, consider there was a conflict of interest or ethical issue in placing a bet on an outcome and then presenting his expertise in a letter to voters on behalf of the LibDems as a means of trying to make his desired outcome happen.

The SKWAWKBOX contacted the LibDems to ask how many such letters had been sent and for the party’s comment on the ethical questions raised by its request to Smithson to write the letter, but no response has been received so far. It will be published separately . if received.

Labour candidate Janet Daby was unavailable for comment, as she was out campaigning.

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