James O'Brien reacts to claims Cameron is in 'wealth trap', as Greensill investigation launches

12 April 2021, 14:05

By Fiona Jones

James O'Brien reacts to claims David Cameron is stuck in a "wealth trap" as an investigation is launched into his efforts to persuade ministers to award an emergency Covid loan to company Greensill Capital.

The former PM has faced criticism after it emerged he privately appealed to ministers, including sending texts to Chancellor Rishi Sunak, to win access to an emergency coronavirus loan scheme for his employer, financier Lex Greensill.

Claims, initially made by columnist Charles Moore, have resurfaced stating that a root of Mr Cameron's actions is that he is stuck in the "fate" of his own "wealth trap."

James tried to define its meaning: "It's this idea that you move in a world where survival is never an issue, even success is never an issue, so what do you measure yourself against?

"And people like David Cameron measure himself against people like his father-in-law, who inherited a castle and a title and all the trappings that go with it.

"One thing I do know is there's not a violin small enough to play a mournful dirge in sympathy of people trapped in the wealth trap."

James played a speech by David Cameron while in power, where he stated: "Ex ministers are not allowed to use their contacts gained in Government for their own private gain.

"We'll double the time where it's forbidden for ex-ministers to lobby Government from 12 months to two years."

James said that while listeners may not understand the ex-PM's words through "the howls of pain of a wealth trap", he surmised: "That is David Cameron's intention to outlaw what David Cameron has spend the last year doing."

"Where is accountability in this country? Where has it gone?" James asked.

"You look at Trump...Trump is so blatant in his corruption and depravity that you look at the British equivalent and think 'it's never going to be that bad', but that is David Cameron literally describing the need to outlaw conduct that he has been indulging in for the last year.

"I want you to tell me I'm not living in a country as corrupt as it appears to be."

The investigation will be carried out by Nigel Boardman, a partner at Slaughter and May, who is also a board member of the Department for Business, which has lead responsibly for government relations with business.

According to LBC Westminster Correspondent Ben Kentish, No10 is currently unable to say whether he’ll step down from this role while the inquiry is carried out.