JAMES Brokenshire has insisted there is no delay to the UK Government’s crackdown on gambling, the row over which led last week to the resignation of Sports Minister Tracey Crouch.

The UK Housing and Communities Secretary made clear that he regretted the resignation of his colleague, who quit on Thursday following what she called was an “unjustifiable” six-month delay to the gambling crackdown.

Ms Crouch in a hard-hitting resignation letter to Theresa May suggested the date of October 2019 for the reduction of the maximum bet at Fixed Odds Betting Terminals from £100 to just £2 would cost lives.

The Kent MP told the Prime Minister: “From the time of the announcement to reduce stakes and its implementation, over £1.6 billion will be lost on these 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."

Mr Brokenshire said he was “very sorry” to see Ms Crouch leave the Government, describing her as an “outstanding colleague, someone who has worked very hard on this and is very passionate about the issues she believes in".

But he stuck to the Government line, contradicting Ms Crouch's insistence that there had been a six-month delay from expectations plans would be introduced in April 2019.

"We were called on to introduce these arrangements prior to April 2020 and we have brought that forward to deliver this in October 2019, recognising we need to do this, we need to bring these stakes down. We want to see this delivered effectively, for all the reasons Tracey identifies.

"But it is wrong to say there has been a delay," he added.