David Cameron ‘attempted to lobby second minister’ over Covid funds for Greensill

Reports suggest former PM contacted chief secretary to the Treasury Jesse Norman

Ashley Cowburn
Political Correspondent
@ashcowburn
Saturday 03 April 2021 15:22
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The former Tory leader is yet to speak out on the claims
The former Tory leader is yet to speak out on the claims

David Cameron reportedly attempted to lobby a second minister at the Treasury for coronavirus state-backed loans for the finance company Greensill Capital.

Mr Cameron, who resigned as prime minister after the Brexit vote, had been advising the company since 2018 and has come under scrutiny after reports emerged alleging he lobbied Rishi Sunak via text messages.

According to The Times, Mr Cameron, who has not commented on the matter, also contacted Jesse Norman around the same time he attempted to contact the chancellor.

Mr Norman, who served as a policy adviser at No 10 during Mr Cameron’s administration and currently working as chief secretary to the Treasury, referred the decision back to officials, who had opted not to provide government support under the loan scheme requested, the newspaper added.

Mr Cameron was last week cleared of breaking lobbying rules after it was concluded he was an employee of the firm, so was not required to declare himself on the register of consultant lobbyists.

A Treasury spokesperson said: “The company was directed to the appropriate officials and, following a consultation process involving several firms in the same sector, their request was denied.”

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While there is no suggestion Mr Cameron acted unlawfully, questions have been raised about the revolving door between government and the private sector.

Both the Labour Party and Sir Alistair Graham, the ex-chair of the committee on standards in public life, have called for a full inquiry into Greensill Capital links with the Conservative government before it collapsed – causing uncertainty for thousands of workers at Liberty Steel, its main financial backer.

In a letter to the cabinet secretary Simon Case, the shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds called for a “full, transparent and thorough investigation”.

She added: “The irresponsible behaviour of Greensill Capital and its almost unparalleled access to the heart of government raises serious questions about what kind of businesses the government is engaging with”. The Cabinet Office has said it will respond in “due course”.

Earlier this week, the cabinet minister Kwasi Kwarteng said Mr Cameron “did absolutely nothing wrong”, saying: “He was a public servant for a long time, he’s now gone into private life and is working for Greensill Capital.

“People have looked into his role, people have looked into the fact that he may or may not have contacted people, officials in the Treasury. As far as I know everything was above board. He’s been largely exonerated and I think we should just move on”.

The Independent has contacted Mr Cameron’s office for comment.

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