Page last updated at 09:02 GMT, Monday, 27 April 2009 10:02 UK

West 'did not bet against Labour'

Lord West
Admiral Lord West was recruited into the PM's 'government of all the talents'

Security Minister Lord West has denied reports that he bet against an outright Labour win at the next election.

The former First Sea Lord was named in a newspaper as having placed the bet in the middle of 2007.

But asked about the reports on Monday he said: "I have never placed a bet on Labour losing the election."

Lord West, who joined Gordon Brown's first cabinet in June 2007, added: "I have never placed a bet at all while a minister ever on a political issue."

There was much speculation at the weekend after the Sunday Times reported an unnamed minister had bet against an outright Labour win and said they stood to win a "substantial sum" if Labour was forced to form a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats.

Lord West was recruited as a member of Gordon Brown's "government of all talents" in June 2007, before which he held no official Labour Party position.

He previously attracted some controversy over the government's controversial bid to extend the limit on holding terrorism suspects before they are charged.

He told the BBC he had yet to be convinced of the case - then an hour later, following a visit to Downing Street, he said he was convinced. He said at the time he was just a "simple sailor" who had not chosen his words well.

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