Greensill scandal: David Cameron will respond 'positively' to requests for evidence

15 April 2021, 07:19 | Updated: 15 April 2021, 07:38

David Cameron has signalled his willingness to cooperate with any inquiry into the Greensill lobbying scandal
David Cameron has signalled his willingness to cooperate with any inquiry into the Greensill lobbying scandal. Picture: PA Images
Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

David Cameron intends to respond "positively" to any request to give evidence to any of the inquiries taking place into the Greensill affair, a spokesman for the former prime minister has said.

Following the announcement that the Commons Treasury Committee is to hold an inquiry into the firm's collapse and "lessons learned", the spokesman said the former PM was also keen that "lessons are learned".

"David Cameron will respond positively to all such requests when the terms of reference of each inquiry are made clear and any invitations to provide evidence are received," the spokesman said.

"While he was an adviser to the business and not a board director, he is keen to ensure that lessons from it going into administration are learned."

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The cross-party committee will focus on the regulatory lessons from the failure of the firm and the appropriateness of the Treasury's response to lobbying.

Committee chairman Mel Stride said: "The Treasury Committee had previously decided to carefully consider these issues as part of its regular and upcoming evidence sessions with HM Treasury and its associated bodies, including the Financial Conduct Authority and Bank of England.

"In addition to this, we have now decided to take a closer look by launching an inquiry to investigate the issues that fall within our remit."We will publish further details when we launch the inquiry officially next week."

The announcement was made on Wednesday night - hours after the defeat of a Labour motion to launch an inquiry into the lobbying of Government.

Downing Street also announced on Monday that it would launch its own independent investigation into Mr Cameron's efforts to lobby ministers on behalf of financial firm Greensill Capital.

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The former PM approached a number of government ministers on behalf of the company, which he started working for in 2018, in an attempt to secure the firm access to a loan scheme called the Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF), making it able to issue loans using taxpayers' cash.

Multiple texts were sent to the personal phone of the Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who has since distanced himself from the scandal, and two junior treasury ministers were approached by Mr Cameron about the issue.

He also sent an email to a senior Downing Street adviser stating it "seems nuts" to not provide support for Greensill, according to a report in the Sunday Times.

As the scandal deepened, it was revealed that a Reports suggest Mr Cameron stood to make millions through his shares in the firm as a result.

It comes after Boris Johnson admitted it is not clear whether the "boundaries" between Whitehall and business have been "properly understood" as Labour claimed the Greensill row marks the return of "Tory sleaze".

Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Rachel Reeves told LBC on Wednesday: "If you're working in Bramley in my constituency and you're struggling during the pandemic and you want to access a loan system from the Government, then if you've got the number of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, you can have ten meetings with officials in that department.

"You can potentially have a private drink with the Health Secretary or any other department you've got the telephone number of.

"The problem is you don't have those telephone numbers. But you do if you're the former Prime Minister."

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She continued: "The former Prime Minister has used that contact list of his to get special access to companies that he was lobbying for - not in the national interest to protect British jobs and British business, but in his own interest, to line his own pockets, because he had share options worth tens of millions of pounds.

"It's not right, it's not a level playing field, and it's frankly sleazy."