David Cameron faces investigation over dealings with finance company


The allegations come at a sensitive time for Johnson, whose government has been accused of cronyism and favoritism towards Conservative Party supporters in awarding lucrative contracts during the coronavirus crisis.

The lobbying review will be led by Nigel Boardman, a lawyer and non-executive board member of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. It will investigate the development and use of supply chain finance – a financial tool offered by Greensill – as well as business engagement with government, Downing Street said on Monday.

Experts don’t believe Cameron broke the rules, as he waited more than two years after leaving government before undertaking any lobbying. Moreover, he was employed by Greensill and was therefore not required to comply with the transparency obligations imposed on external professional lobbyists.

However, the furor over his behavior suggests that the rules themselves may be insufficient.

After weeks of silence, Cameron released a statement on Sunday evening in which he acknowledged that while his behavior was in line with codes of conduct and government rules, he should have done things differently.

Cameron also admitted to traveling to Saudi Arabia in January 2020, just over a year after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and meeting Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who US intelligence agencies said ordered the murder. But he insists he used the opportunity to raise human rights issues.

From his dealings with the UK government, Cameron admitted mistakes in contacting ministers informally.

“I thought about it for a long time. There are important lessons to be learned,” he wrote in the lengthy statement. “As a former prime minister, I accept that communications with the government should only take place through the most formal channels, so there can be no room for misinterpretation.”

Perhaps of all people, Cameron shouldn’t have needed to learn that particular lesson.

More than a decade ago, just before becoming prime minister, he warned that a lobbying crisis was the “next big scandal to come” following an outcry over spending by lawmakers.

“We all know how it works,” Cameron said in a 2010 speech. find the right way to go.

According to British media, this is precisely the type of influence peddling Cameron engaged in when he texted Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak in an unsuccessful bid to secure emergency loans for Greensill after encountering financial difficulties.

Cameron also reportedly hosted a private drink with Health Secretary Matt Hancock as part of earlier efforts to promote Greensill’s role in the country’s National Health Service.

Greensill presented itself as an intermediary between the government and recipients, offering to speed up payments to businesses and individuals. In the case of individuals, Cameron championed the practice as a kind of populist alternative for some people to usurious payday loan programs.

Documents leaked to some UK media revealed opposition from some civil servants who believed it was better to focus on speeding up government systems rather than involving a third party from the private sector. The government argues that Sunak rejected Greensill’s overture and the lobbying failed.

Cameron’s behavior partly reflects Britain’s tendency to throw former prime ministers into the political wilderness rather than find them useful roles. Aged 49 when he resigned after calling and losing the 2016 Brexit referendum, Cameron was left – like many of his predecessors – with no real role.

But Gordon Brown, Cameron’s immediate predecessor, was among those who struck a critical tone on Monday. “I don’t really think former ministers and prime ministers should be lobbying for particular business companies, when they are lobbying their successors whom they know very well and who they might have privileged access to,” Brown told the BBC.

“Lobbying in this commercial manner could also be a stain on our democracy, and therefore an investigation is entirely appropriate,” he said.

Cameron’s connection to the company dates back to his time as Prime Minister when company founder Lex Greensill was brought to Downing Street as an unpaid business adviser by Jeremy Heywood, who was then the most senior civil servant. powerful in the country but who died in 2018. Although Cameron said that as prime minister he only met the financier a few times, Greensill was given his own business card and a government email account .

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