Ex-UK PM Cameron repeatedly contacted ministers over Greensill

Cornelia Mascio
Mag 13, 2021

The data release showed Cameron contacted six different ministers and a similar number of government and Bank of England officials. There have been claims he stood to make tens of millions of pounds from shares if Greensill had floated on the stock market.

In the end the firm did not get access to the government schemes.

Cameron said his appearance before the committee, by video link, was "a painful day".

He once famously told Jeremy Corbyn at PMQs to "put on a proper suit, do up your tie and sing the national anthem".

Former British prime minister David Cameron leaves his residence in London, on May 13, 2021.

The Treasury Committee published a full list of the former PM's contacts after he disclosed them ahead of the evidence session today.

David Cameron repeatedly lobbied the British government on behalf of a finance firm for the public good, and not his own financial gain, he told MPs Thursday.

The messages revealed include to Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove.

Opposition parties are calling for tougher rules on contacts between business representatives and government officials, saying Britain's laxly enforced lobbying regulations leave the door open to corruption.

He also contacted vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi.

David Cameron sent a number of texts to the Cabinet Minister and the Chancellor about Greensill previous year. I am on this number and v free.

The Government has also said Greensill's applications were dealt with properly and were ultimately rejected.

The Conservative former prime minister and his office staff sent ministers and officials 45 emails, texts and WhatsApp messages relating to the now-collapsed firm in less than four months, it emerged on Tuesday.

"Lobbying itself is a necessary and healthy part of our democratic process, but I accept there's a strong argument that having a former prime minister engage on behalf of any commercial interest, no matter how laudable the motives and cause, can be open to misinterpretation", he told MPs, saying he would be open to a longer post-government cooling-off period before taking on work.

During the coronavirus outbreak, Cameron sent text messages to U.K. Treasury chief Rishi Sunak and e-mailed the Bank of England in an effort to secure government-backed loans for Greensill under a program to help companies hurt by the pandemic. If I am still stuck, can I call you then?'

'Of course! Any time, ' Mr Gove responded.

Meanwhile the City watchdog has said it is launching a formal investigation into the collapse of Greensill which filed for insolvency in March.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said "potentially criminal" allegations had been made about the circumstances of the financial firm's failure.

In a letter to the committee, Mr Cameron said he first became concerned that the company might be in serious financial difficulty in December previous year.

In a letter to the committee, Mr Cameron said the "first time I became concerned that the company might be in serious financial difficulty was in December 2020" following a call from Mr Greensill.

'Up until that point, I firmly believed that Greensill was in good financial health, ' he said.

'Please understand that I bear complete responsibility for the collapse of Greensill Capital.

He said he was "desperately saddened that more than a thousand hard-working people had lost their jobs" and added that he took "full responsibility" for the hardship being felt by the company's clients and their suppliers.

"It's deeply regrettable that we were let down by our leading insurer, whose actions ensured Greensill's collapse", Mr Greensill said.

He said that Covid-19 and the actions of authorities in Germany had played a role in the insurance company's decision.

However, it collapsed after after its insurer refused to renew cover for the loans Greensill was making. I am truly sorry'.

The former United Kingdom prime minister has been at the center of Britain's biggest lobbying row in a generation after it emerged he pressed senior ministers and officials to include Greensill Capital - a supply-chain finance specialist that employed him as an adviser after he left governent - in a coronavirus lending scheme.

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