Tracey Crouch has resigned from her government role as minister for sport, civil society and loneliness, in protest at the government's decision to delay changes to gambling rules.
In her resignation letter she praised the work of the charities and volunteers she met and said she had one of the best jobs in government.
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. pic.twitter.com/rD8bEbCQcK— Tracey Crouch (@tracey_crouch) November 1, 2018
It was reported last night that Crouch had been angered by the Treasury’s decision to delay the introduction of changes to fixed odds betting terminals which would see the maximum stake reduced from £100 to £2. The change was intended to come in from April 2019, but on Monday the chancellor announced they would come into effect next autumn.
This afternoon Treasury minister Liz Truss said there were no plans to reconsider the timing.
Crouch did not show up for an urgent question in Parliament today, leaving her boss Jeremy Wright to defend the government’s position around the timing of FOBT changes, fuelling speculation that she might resign later today.
Wright repeatedly dodged questions from MPs about whether Crouch had threatened to quit and insisted that she was doing a “great job”.
He also claimed that there had been “no change to government policy” and that it was wrong to describe the change in the expected date as a “delay”.
A number of MPs including Damian Collins, the Conservative chair of the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport committee and former secretary of state for work and pensions Iain Duncan Smith raised their concerns in Parliament.
Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader and shadow minister, accused Wright of giving in to the gambling industry. But Wright said that this was not the case as if they had given in they would not be introducing changes at all.
Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of NCVO, has reacted to the news by calling Crouch a "passionate and inspiring minister" who will leave a "strong legacy" for the sector.
His statement in full reads: "Tracey has been a passionate and inspiring minister for civil society. Her strong leadership in creating a cross-government civil society strategy demonstrated a real commitment to supporting the work of charities across the country. She made a point of always trying to work in partnership with charities and in doing so gained a great deal of good will.
"Her work to help improve safeguarding standards was exemplary of her thoughtful and constructive approach. She leaves a strong legacy and we will play our role in ensuring momentum continues in implementing the important strategy she put in place."