POLITICIANS are often accused of being far too willing to betray their principles, so we applaud Tracey Crouch’s decision to resign from her position as sports minister in protest at the Government’s delayed implementation of their planned crackdown on maximum stakes for fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs).

Mrs Crouch has been a vociferous campaigner against the machines, which currently allow gamblers in betting shops to lose up to £100 in the space of just 20 seconds.

The North-East has more people who gamble at least once a year than any other UK region, and a recent report revealed more than £6.5m was lost in Newcastle in 2016 on FOBTs.

The Government intends to reduce the maximum stake that can be gambled on such machines from £100 to £2, but Philip Hammond confirmed on Monday that the change will not come into force until October 2019.

Mrs Crouch clearly feels that is unacceptable, and her resignation has been praised by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, who has also campaigned against FOBTs.

Mrs Crouch estimates that between now and next October, more than £1.6bn will be lost on the terminals, and claims two people a day will commit suicide because of gambling.

That is a disgrace, and both the Prime Minister and Chancellor need to come up with a detailed explanation of why their proposed changes cannot be introduced immediately. Otherwise, it will look as though they are more interested in the £400m of tax the machines generate each year than in saving lives.