An article in the Mirror Politics on 12/04/2021.
An article in the Mirror Politics on 12/04/2021.

Mr Cameron broke his silence over the row on Sunday where he defended his conduct but admitted he should have only contacted Tory ministers through ‘the most formal of channels’.

The Government will launch an independent inquiry into Tory former PM David Cameron’s lobbying for collapsed firm Greensill Capital.

Downing Street confirmed there would be a probe into links between Greensill and ministers, as well as the firm’s activities in Government over to use of scheme allowing companies to get cash from banks to pay their suppliers.

The review will be led by Nigel Boardman, a non-executive director at the Business Department, and the Cabinet Office will set out more formal details later on.

It comes amid an ongoing row over Mr Cameron’s efforts to lobby ministers on behalf of the firm, where he worked as an adviser after leaving office.

Mr Cameron privately texted Chancellor Rishi Sunak and other Treasury ministers over access to an emergency loan for Greensill, which later filed for insolvency.

He broke his silence on Sunday night with a 1,749 word statement after weeks of questions about his contact with ministers on behalf of the firm.

Mr Cameron defended his conduct but accepted that “lessons need to be learnt” as he admitted he should have only contacted ministers through “the most formal of channels”.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “The Cabinet Office is commissioning an independent review on behalf of the Prime Minister to establish the development and use of supply chain finance and associated activities in government, and the role Greensill played in those.

He broke his silence on Sunday night with a 1,749 word statement after weeks of questions about his contact with ministers on behalf of the firm.

Mr Cameron defended his conduct but accepted that “lessons need to be learnt” as he admitted he should have only contacted ministers through “the most formal of channels”.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “The Cabinet Office is commissioning an independent review on behalf of the Prime Minister to establish the development and use of supply chain finance and associated activities in government, and the role Greensill played in those.

However, it’s understood the study of “engagement” will include lobbying by Mr Cameron.

Asked when the review would report back, the spokesman replied: “The Prime Minister wants this to be done thoroughly and he wants it to be done promptly – you can expect a prompt return on this.”

However Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Rachel Reeves said the review risked kicking the issue into the long grass.

She said: “This has all the hallmarks of another cover-up by the Conservatives.

“Just as with the inquiry into Priti Patel’s alleged bullying, this is another Conservative Government attempt to push bad behaviour into the long grass and hope the British public forgets. The Conservatives can’t be trusted to yet again mark their own homework.

“We need answers on Greensill now – that means key players in this cronyism scandal like David Cameron, Rishi Sunak and Matt Hancock appearing openly in front of Parliament as soon as possible to answer questions.”

It comes after Gordon Brown said former Prime Ministers should be prevented from lobbying for at least five years after leaving Downing Street.

The Labour ex-PM said tougher curbs were needed to prevent former top politicians from contacting ministers for commercial purposes.

He told the Today programme: “I can’t comment on the individual detail of this, but for me there are principles about public service – it cannot ever become a platform for private gain.

“Ministers must never be lobbying, former ministers, prime ministers, must never be lobbying for commercial purposes. Current ministers should not be entertaining such lobbying.

“And if we can’t succeed in achieving this stopping by the sort of flexibility of the rules, we are going to have to pass laws to make sure that at least for say five years, no serving or former prime minister or minister, is ever lobbying for any commercial purpose within government.

“It simply brings public service into disrepute.”

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