THE Herefordshire Conservative councillor who is the latest to be investigated over bets on the timing of the general election remains in his elected position in the county.

Nick Mason, the party’s chief data officer nationally, is reported to have taken leave of absence from the post following the revelation that he is being investigated by the Gambling Commission.

But Herefordshire Council says he remains a councillor for the Weobley ward.

The Sunday Times claimed at the weekend that Cllr Mason had placed “dozens” of bets on the election date ahead of its formal announcement by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

The prime minister told reporters that the party is conducting its own internal investigation into the scandal, adding: “We will act on any relevant findings or information from that and pass it on to the Gambling Commission.”

Labour candidate for Hereford and South Herefordshire Joe Emmett said: “We’ve gambled with the Tories for long enough.

“They’re cashing in whilst we work hard and struggle to make ends meet.”

When the Conservatives formed a minority administration to run the county following last May’s local elections, the newly elected councillor Mason was named as cabinet support to the council’s leader and deputy leader, along with fellow Conservative newcomer Dan Hurcomb.

A Conservative group spokesperson said: “We are aware of recent press reports that Nick Mason is the subject of an ongoing investigation by the Gambling Commission.

“This is an independent process which must be allowed to run its course and it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time”

Housing Secretary Michael Gove has likened the alleged betting controversy to Partygate.

“It looks like one rule for them and one rule for us,” he told the Sunday Times, adding: “That’s the most potentially damaging thing.”

He suggested it was “just not acceptable” for those in a “privileged position” close to the Prime Minister to use “inside information to make additional money for yourself”.

He added: “You are, in effect, securing an advantage against other people who are betting entirely fairly and without that knowledge. So if these allegations are true, it’s very difficult to defend.”