AFTER a week of clinging to an unsustainable line about how due process had to be followed with regard to the two Conservative candidates caught up in the election betting scandal, Rishi Sunak and the Conservative Party have finally withdrawn their support from the candidates, even though the investigative process is incomplete.

George Osborne, the former Conservative Chancellor, has termed his successor’s response to the scandal as “pathetic”. By clinging to the indefensible, Mr Sunak has allowed this story to dominate the campaigning for days, and his subsequent U-turn now threatens to overshadow the fact that, unbelievably, Labour has a similar affair brewing in its own ranks.

Keir Starmer, though, has acted swiftly in distancing himself from the Suffolk candidate Kevin Craig who is being investigated for apparently betting against himself to win his seat against a massive Tory majority. Mr Craig said he intended to donate his winnings to charity.

There is a difference in magnitude between the two affairs, but even so, Mr Starmer’s swift response will not remove the Labour story from the headlines. Mr Craig, who has an impressive CV in the world of communications, has donated £100,000 to the Labour Party, so questions now are bound to be asked about how he came to be selected as a candidate.

Sixty per cent of the public in a recent poll said that Mr Sunak had handled the Tory betting scandal, which goes to the heart of the party with the director of campaigning taking leave of absence over it, badly.

One hundred per cent of the public must be shaking their heads sadly that both parties wish to put before them candidates whose judgement is so flawed. These are people they want us to send to Parliament to grapple with really complex affairs and yet they don’t have the nous to know when it is acceptable to visit a bookie.