The sport industry has been reacting to news of sport minister Tracey Crouch’s resignation over delays to the implementation of fixed-odds betting reforms.
Crouch, who has held the position since 2015, confirmed her departure in a tweet, commenting: "Politicians come and go but principles stay with us forever."
The MP for Chatham and Aylesford has been frustrated by a decision to push back the timetable for introducing maximum £2 stakes to October 2019. In her resignation letter, she explained: "From the time of the announcement to reduce stakes and its implementation, over £1.6bn will be lost on these [fixed odds] machines.
"In addition, two people will tragically take their lives every day due to gambling-related problems and, for that reason as much as any other, I believe this delay is unjustifiable."
She added: "It is a fact of government that ministers must adhere to collective responsibility and cannot disagree with policy, let alone when it is policy made against your wishes relating to your own portfolio."
It is with great sadness I have resigned from one of the best jobs in Government. Thank you so much for all the very kind messages of support I have received throughout the day. Politicians come and go but principles stay with us forever. pic.twitter.com/rD8bEbCQcK— Tracey Crouch (@tracey_crouch) November 1, 2018
News of Crouch’s resignation drew a large response from the across the UK sport industry.
The football fanatic, an FA-qualified coach, had been a popular figure, particularly among the grassroots sport sector, and was widely praised for bringing an authentic passion and understanding to her brief.
Incoming Sport England CEO Tim Hollingsworth was among those to comment, tweeting: “Very sad indeed to see this news @tracey_crouch and that I won't be able to work on #SportingFutures with/for you when at Sport England. Thank you for your passionate support for sport and especially @ParalympicsGB while Minister over the past few years."
Sport Industry Group chairman Nick Keller said: “The sport industry has been really lucky with Tracey.
“She’s a minister who has really engaged with the industry. And she really understood the potential for grassroots sport, in particular, to serve as an agent of social change.
“We must hope the new minister coming in has the same passion and enthusiasm, and quickly gets to grips with this area, understanding how to harness community sport in an effective way to achieve real benefits across health, education and inclusion.”
Similar sentiments were expressed in tweets from Women in Sport CEO Ruth Holdaway and UK Sport.
Oh @tracey_crouch I'm so gutted! You've been a brilliant champion of womens sport. Thank you for prioritising this, for introducing the requirement for 30% women on the board of NGBs and for your support of #ThisGirlCan A fabulous legacy.— Ruth Holdaway (@RuthHoldaway) November 1, 2018