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  1. ITV Report

Tracey Crouch resigns as Sports Minister amid row over delays to fixed-odds betting terminal changes

  • Video report by ITV News political correspondent Paul Brand

Tracey Crouch has resigned as Sports Minister amid a row over delays to fixed-odds betting terminal changes.

Ms Crouch tweeted her resignation letter saying "it is with great sadness I have resigned from one of the best jobs in Government."

"Thank you so much for all the very kind messages of support I have received throughout the day. Politicians come and go but principles stay with us forever."

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  • Analysis from ITV News Political Correspondent Paul Brand

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The Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright insisted today there is no delay.

"I've heard language twisted to various uses in this place, but the idea that a move from April 2020 to October 2019 is a delay is going a little far. It is not a delay", said Mr Wright.

Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith said the decision to bring in the change in October 2019 was a delay and urged Mr Wright to bring the date forward to April 2019.

"I was under the impression then that the industry itself recognised they would need nine to 12 months to implement this," he said.

"That would have taken us to around about April or May next year."

"I say to him, 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 him to think again and bring forward the date so we may end this scourge", said Mr Duncan Smith.

There has been speculation about a delay to fixed-odds betting terminal changes. Credit: PA

The move came after the Government made it clear it was standing firm when Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss failed to give ground during the Budget debate in the Commons.

Ms Truss told MPs that the Government is "certainly happy to discuss" the matter, but gave no indication of a change of policy.

Ms Crouch has been a leading campaigner in reducing the maximum stake for FOBTs.

Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith joined cross-party calls to bring the change forward to April 2019.

Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine said: "When the minister responsible for a policy steps down, you know the Government is moving in the wrong direction.

"These machines are a blight on our society and undeniably damaging to vulnerable people.

"Tracey Crouch knows this, so why doesn't the Prime Minister? Theresa May should come to the floor of the House and explain why this will not be implemented for another year."

Tom Watson MP, Labour's deputy leader and shadow Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Secretary said her resignation is "a courageous and principled decision"

“She poured her heart and soul into a significant review of these destructive machines, faced down a systematic lobbying attempt by the gambling industry and took the right decision for those suffering from problem gambling, their families and communities", he said.

“The new Secretary of State has threatened all of this good work. He has prioritised corporate interests over victims, profits over public health and greed over good. He should be thoroughly ashamed.”