Don’t bet on more casinos (ho, ho! do you see what we’ve done there?)

After a wholly gratuitous but well-deserved link to the BBF for their demolition of The Lamentable Mrs Pritchard, and in the absence of any rebellion during the first day of the final Commons stages of the Companies Bill (concessions ahoy, we feel), there was an interesting vote last night on gambling reform.

Labour MP Jim Cunningham introduced a ten-minute rule bill that would have amended the Gambling Act 2005 to allow the construction of eight regional ‘super-casinos’. The original Gambling bill had proposed exactly that number, only for the bill to be watered down, in the face of pressure from Labour MPs and others. The act ended up including just one pilot project – place yet to be decided.

Cunningham’s bill failed – and decisively, by 55 votes to 240. The majority of the PLP sat out the vote, but those Labour MPs that did take part split fairly evenly 52/46, but marginally in favour of Cunningham’s proposal. By contrast, Kenneth Clarke was the only Conservative MP supporting the idea, whilst 146 Conservatives voted in the opposition lobby. The Liberal Democrats were also overwhelmingly against, just four Lib Dems voting in support, compared to 49 against. Five SNP MPs, three Plaid Cymru and the independent MP, Dr Richard Taylor trooped into the no lobby against the plan.