Rishi Sunak admission over Cameron lobbying leads to calls for investigation

12 Avril, 2021, 05:06 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • David Cameron

Allies of the former PM - cleared of breaking lobbying rules - claim he has been caught in a "pincer movement" between No10 aides loyal to Mr Gove and former mandarins Lord Macpherson and Lord Kerslake, now crossbench peers.

In his first statement on the issue, he said he should have left "no room for misinterpretation".

The government has withheld messages sent by Mr Cameron.

"However, I have reflected on this at length", he said in a statement to the Press Association news agency. "There are important lessons to be learnt".

Labour also questioned whether the Chancellor had broken the ministerial code, while the SNP urged Mr Sunak to appear before Parliament next week to "set the record straight" over his full exchanges with Mr Cameron.

The total number of ministers to be entangled in the controversy reached four when it was reported that Mr Cameron arranged a "private drink" between health secretary Matt Hancock and Mr Greensill to discuss a payment scheme later rolled out in the NHS.

Calls for an investigation have been made after Rishi Sunak revealed he "pushed" officials to consider plans that could have helped a firm David Cameron was lobbying for.

For three weeks the headlines kept coming.

One of the Cameron friends said: 'It has been noted how Maude has come out of all this smelling of roses.

The BBC, in turn, cited an unnamed Hancock ally as saying that the health secretary "acted in entirely the correct way", and that he "updated officials on the business that was discussed, as is appropriate".

There's another point worth making too: journalism matters.

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Greensill had approached Treasury officials regarding access to the Covid Corporate Finance Facility (CCFF), administered by the Bank of England.

His lobbying efforts had been unsuccessful and had not led to a change in government policy, he pointed out.

Britain's former prime minister David Cameron said he accepted that communications with government needed to be done through formal channels after the row about his lobbying activities for financier Lex Greensill deepened on Sunday.

Mr Cameron was said to have described the decision to exclude his employer's firm, Greensill Capital, from the multibillion-pound scheme as "nuts" and pressed for the Chancellor to reconsider.

"That was, in large part, my reason for working for Greensill in the first place", he said.

Earlier this week, it was revealed the chancellor responded to texts from Mr Cameron saying he had "pushed" officials to consider helping Greensill a year ago. "I feel desperately sorry for those affected".

SNP Cabinet Office spokesman Stewart Hosie said Boris Johnson's Government is "stumbling from one scandal to the next", adding: "The latest developments around Greensill Capital and access to Government departments granted to firms with close links to the Tory party has only raised further questions".

The Chancellor was defended by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, who insisted that Mr Sunak had followed the ministerial code "absolutely to the letter". We've also got Lex Greensill - Lex, where are you?

However, the friend of Mr Cameron said he and Mr Greensill met twice at most when Mr Cameron was PM.

Mr Cameron - who was in Downing Street from 2010 to 2016 - is reported to have told friends he was set to earn as much as £60m from shareholdings in Greensill Capital prior to its collapse, although this has since been disputed.

Labour MP Dame Margaret Hodge, a former chair of the Commons Public Accounts Committee, said: "We need an independent inquiry immediately".

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