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Sunday 5 July 2020

Priti Patel’s Unhealthy Lottery Liaison

Still pretending to be Home Secretary, Priti Patel has recently been more than ready to leap to the defence of under-fire fellow minister Robert Jenrick, who is supposed to represent Newark-on-Trent, but appears to prefer living somewhere else. Jenrick had overridden departmental objections to give the go-ahead to the redevelopment of the Westferry Printworks site in London’s Docklands - before approval was withdrawn.
The beneficiary of Jenrick’s determined decision making was former Express and Daily Star proprietor Richard “Dirty” Desmond. And now Ms Patel has come under fire for her own post-Des-meeting decision making, featuring in the Sunday Times in another of those articles that really should have been on the front page.

As the ST has told, “Priti Patel lobbied for a relaxation of lottery rules that would have benefited a Conservative donor after they met privately … In a Westminster Hall debate in December 2017 Ms Patel echoed Richard Desmond’s call for a large increase in the jackpot and sales limits for society lotteries such as his own Health Lottery”.

There was more. “She later tabled written questions in the Commons and met a minister in order to push for the changes … Sir Henry Bellingham, who was a Tory MP at the time and called the adjournment debate, said that Ms Patel was ‘very involved’ in the campaign to change the rules”. Zelo Street regulars may recall the Health Lottery controversy.
The Desmond titles, as I noted in early 2016, had run a slew of attack pieces rubbishing the National Lottery. That the papers promoted another Desmond business was not news: he was known for proprietorial interference. At the Tom Bower libel action (which Desmond lost) Roy Greenslade “told the jury Desmond had a worse reputation than any newspaper proprietor since the second world war, including Robert Maxwell”.

Worse, an analysis of the Health Lottery at the time showed that the National Lottery allocates 5.6p in every £ to running costs and profits. For the so-called Health Lottery, that rises to a whopping 50.4p, giving Dirty Des a very nice little earner indeed. The “return to society” - all those good causes that both lotteries claim to benefit - shows that the so-called Health Lottery gives less than half the percentage of takings than the National Lottery. And it’s the same when it comes to prize money.
While the Mail is telling its readersLast week Priti Patel, the home secretary, asked the National Crime Agency (NCA) to investigate modern slavery in Leicester's clothing factories. Responding to the investigation, Home Secretary Priti Patel said: 'These allegations are truly appalling and I commend the Sunday Times … for their [role] in uncovering such abhorrent practices'”, she apparently batted for Dirty Des’ lottery.

The impression that this may be yet another “cash for favours” episode is inescapable. It will be interesting to hear what Ms Patel has to say about her relationship with Dirty Des, but anyone waiting for a resignation is likely to be disappointed - again.

And so the reputation of this Government sinks further. I’ll just leave that one there.
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Johnspartacusanonymous said...

Given that her entree to politics seems to have been via the (late unlamented) James Goldsmith's Referendum Party, it ought to be no surprise that Misnomer Patel's an absolute Ritter.

Anonymous said...

Makes you wonder what was discussed on her "holiday" when Teresa May sacked her.

Johnspartacusanonymous said...

Rotter damnit