Politics Explained

What does the Greensill scandal mean for the future of lobbying?

David Cameron’s antics may have removed some of the obstacles to long-awaited reform, writes Sean O’Grady

Tuesday 13 April 2021 01:55
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<p>Mr Cameron wrote the lobbying rules but exempted ex-prime ministers</p>

Mr Cameron wrote the lobbying rules but exempted ex-prime ministers

Friendless as he has been ever since the loss of the Brexit referendum, David Cameron is now the subject of a Whitehall-wide inquiry into his lobbying activities on behalf of the Australian financier Lex Greensill, and his company Greensill Capital, and associated interests. The review will be headed by Nigel Boardman, a member of the board of the Department of Business, a partner at solicitors Slaughter and May since 1982, and winner of the Lawyer of the Decade award from Financial News.

Whether he wins the award for Report of the Decade remains to be seen. Labour has already derided his appointment. Rachel Reeves, shadow cabinet office minister, offered him this frosty welcome: “This has all the hallmarks of another cover-up by the Conservatives ... This is another Conservative government attempt to push bad behaviour into the long grass.”

None the less, all government departments are being asked to go through their diaries and records to ferret out any stray texts from the former prime minister, and to track down any “informal” meetings with him. We already know about the text messages Mr Cameron sent to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, as a result of which Mr Sunak undertook to “push” officials to consider Mr Cameron’s request for financial assistance from the taxpayer for his clients. They also had a 10-minute phone conversation. Mr Cameron also called economic secretary John Glen and financial secretary Jesse Norman about access to the Covid corporate finance facility (CCFF).

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