The culture secretary held a meeting with pro-gambling MPs just three weeks before the government controversially delayed plans to crackdown on addictive fixed-odds betting machines.
Chancellor Philip Hammond announced in the Autumn Budget that the move to reduce maximum stakes for the terminals from £100 to £2 would not be enforced until October 2019, amid fears it would lead to job losses in betting shops.
The decision led to the dramatic resignation of sports minister Tracey Crouch, who had campaigned against the machines, which have been dubbed the “crack cocaine” of gambling.
But a parliamentary question submitted by Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson revealed Jeremy Wright met pro-gambling politicians Philip Davies and Laurence Robertson just 19 days before Hammond’s announcement.
Not only did the Tory MPs defend FOTBs in parliamentary debates, but both have received thousands of pounds of hospitality and gifts from gambling firms.
Between 2016 and 2017 alone, Davies accepted £3,685 in hospitality, while Tewkesbury MP Robertson enjoyed entertainment worth £2,550.
“I have not met with any gambling companies since my appointment,” Wright wrote in response to Watson’s question. “The Minister for Sport and Civil Society, together with officials, hold regular such meetings and I will be attending a roundtable with the gambling industry later this year.
“I held a meeting with the Hon Member for Shipley and the Hon…