Officer in Sunak’s Protection Team Accused of Placing U.K. Election Bet

A protection officer working for Britain’s prime minister, Rishi Sunak, was arrested over allegations he had made bets on the timing of the country’s general election, which was recently called months earlier than had been expected, the police said on Wednesday.

In a statement, the Metropolitan Police, the force that covers London, said the officer had been removed from operational duties and had been arrested on Monday “on suspicion of misconduct in public office.” The force added that the officer, who was not identified by name, was free on bail “pending further enquiries.”

News of the arrest came a week after Craig Williams, a Conservative lawmaker and parliamentary aide to Mr. Sunak, apologized after having placed a bet on the timing of the election before the date of July 4 was officially announced.

“I put a flutter on the general election some weeks ago,” Mr. Williams, who is running for re-election in the July 4 vote, wrote on social media. He noted that the Gambling Commission, which oversees the betting industry in Britain, was making inquiries. “I confirm I will fully cooperate with these,” he said.

“I don’t want it to be a distraction from the campaign,” he added. “I should have thought through how it looks.”

Under British election rules, Mr. Sunak had the power to decide the date of the general election, providing that he chose a time before late January next year. The prime minister had said on several occasions that he expected the election to take place in the second half of the year.

Most political analysts had said they believed that Mr. Sunak would wait until the fall before facing the voters to give the economy more time to revive and to give him time to try to start implementing his flagship immigration policy of sending some asylum seekers on one-way flights to Rwanda.

Mr. Sunak surprised most observers by opting for July 4.

In the statement on the latest case, the Metropolitan Police said that it had been contacted on Friday by the Gambling Commission about claims that an officer from the Royalty and Specialist Protection Command had placed a bet.

The command is part of the Metropolitan Police, and its members — who often work close to the prime minister and to the royal family — are required to maintain discretion.

The Met said that it had referred the matter to the Independent Office for Police Conduct, which oversees the complaints system in England and Wales and investigates the most serious matters relating to officers’ behavior.

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