‘He’s been silly, hasn’t he?’: Welshpool voters on Craig Williams’ election bet

Craig Williams

Political scandals are a rarity in Welshpool. At the most recent town council meeting, the repair of a canal bridge was the main item up for discussion and garnered attention. However, on Thursday, the focus shifted to the curious decision of Craig Williams, a local boy who has risen to the position of Rishi Sunak’s top parliamentary aide. Williams placed a bet on a July election just three days before the prime minister announced the date. The town was buzzing with talk and speculation about why he would do such a thing.

Paul Alexander, the proprietor of a hardware and camping store situated on the main road of a mid-Wales town near the constituency office of Williams, expressed his opinion on the matter saying, "He has been foolish, don't you think? It doesn't reflect well on him. It seems selfish to me. He's taking a huge gamble with his career."

On the contrary, a lady exited from the Coral gambling establishment after betting on a racehorse. "If he knew it would be shameful, why didn't he ask someone else to place the bet for him?" she questioned.

A lady requested to remain anonymous due to two reasons: firstly, her husband is not aware of her habit of betting, and secondly, she has close acquaintance with the Williams family. She stated that the Williams family is very humble and can often be seen in the town. Although Craig has been quite successful, she finds it surprising that he has made such a foolish mistake. The lady believes it does not reflect well on the PM that someone who has achieved so much can make such a careless error.

The lady expressed her usual preference for voting Tory. However, she may consider Reform as a potential choice now. This thought came to her because she thinks the Tories may not be very wise.

When the Guardian entered the Pheasant Inn, a group of people who had gotten together for drinks in the middle of the afternoon were engaged in a conversation about a particular bet. One of the individuals, a designer by the name of Simon Gibbs, found the topic to be quite amusing. He described the person in question as being sincere and helpful and even recounted how this person had aided him when he experienced some trouble with solar panels. Despite the bet, Gibbs intended to still offer his support and vote for this individual.

A childcare expert named Bob did not show much leniency and said, "Just like all the Tories, he desires a little extra every time."

Williams has expressed regret for what he referred to as a significant lapse in judgment. He is originally from Montgomeryshire and attended Welshpool high school. Currently, he resides in Llanfair Caereinion, a market town that is connected to Welshpool by steam trains. Some of his hobbies include rugby, consuming locally produced beer, and celebrating the local heritage.

Archaeologist and supporter of Plaid Cymru, Neil Bayliss, was not pleased. He stated that if the person involved in this were a stockbroker, they would be facing serious charges of insider trading. Additionally, Bayliss believed that this seat should have been secured by the Conservative Party. He suggested that if it were not too late, the party would have likely selected a candidate to fill the seat.

The Guardian reported first about the bet and the County Times, a local newspaper, was able to include the news on its front page. The article mentioned that according to YouGov polls, the Montgomeryshire and Glyndŵr seat, which Williams is trying to keep, is the only safe seat for the Conservative Party in Wales.

Rob Williams, a member of the Labour party, stated that the situation could be different now. He mentioned that many individuals in the area could potentially lend their support to the Reform party instead.

He mentioned that Nick Griffin, the ex-chief of the BNP, resided in the vicinity. "There exists a faction here that subscribes to his beliefs."

According to Williams, Lembit Opik, a previous Member of Parliament for the Liberal Democrats in the region, lost popularity due to his involvement with Gabriela Irimia from the musical duo the Cheeky Girls. Williams believes that this kind of behavior did not sit well with the local community and is not accepted.

Naturally, the storm will be exploited by the opposing parties. Elwyn Vaughan, the Plaid Cymru representative, remarked that it has become a topic of discussion amongst those he encounters while campaigning. He divulged that people are immensely displeased with Craig Williams' conduct and feels that if the Conservative party had any sense of modesty, they would withdraw their endorsement of him.

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