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Tracey Crouch 'considering quitting' as minister over delays to plans for fixed odds betting terminals

The sports minister Tracey Crouch is thought to be considering quitting her ministerial role in a row over proposals to limit the stakes on gambling machines.

The MP for Chatham and Aylesford is said to be unhappy the Chancellor Philip Hammond has delayed the introduction of cutting stakes on fixed odds machines by six months, according to a report in the Daily Telegraph.

The introduction of limits – cutting the maximum stake from £100 to £2 – will not come into force until next October.

Chatham and Aylesford MP Tracey Crouch
Chatham and Aylesford MP Tracey Crouch

There was growing speculation that the MP had already handed in her resignation but it had not been accepted.

According to a tweet by Francis Elliot, political editor of The Times, there was a letter sent to the Chief Whip but not as would be usual to the Prime Minister.

Campaigners want the change brought in from April. This was rejected by Chancellor Philip Hammond in the Budget on Monday.

Ms Crouch, who is returning from a trip to America, refused to rule out quitting, according to the newspaper.

The issue of the minister's future was raised in the Commons this morning by the MP Nick Smith. He pressed Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright directly over whether Ms Crouch had threatened to resign.

He failed to rule it out, instead saying: "I think she's doing a great job.But in the end this is a decision that has to be taken by the government collectively and it is being taken by the government collectively."

The apparent standoff has prompted messages of support from her colleagues.

Tonbridge and Malling MP Tom Tugendhat tweeted: "Losing @tracey_crouch over an issue we know must be fixed would be a mistake.

"She’s a dedicated and popular MP because we all know she’s passionate about her work and works incredibly hard for everyone in our country."

Those using fixed odds betting machines, which have been dubbed the crack cocaine of gambling, can place stakes of up to £100 every 20 seconds.

Ms Crouch and Matt Hancock, the former culture secretary, secured a major victory when Mrs May agreed to slash the stake.

Ms Crouch could not be reached for comment.

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