Former UK PM Cameron had extensive contact with senior ministers over Greensill
LONDON (Reuters) -Former British Prime Minister David Cameron repeatedly contacted senior ministers over a four-month period in 2020 to lobby for the now-failed, supply-chain finance firm Greensill Capital, according to documents published on Tuesday.
The communications included texts, WhatsApp messages and telephone calls to finance minister Rishi Sunak, cabinet office minister Michael Gove and health minister Matt Hancock, documents provided by Cameron to parliament’s Treasury Committee showed.
“Am sure goodwill and common sense can fix this. In the end substance is what matters (help for SMEs) – the form can always be sorted,” one message from Cameron to Sunak said.
Cameron was lobbying the government to allow Greensill, founded by Australian banker Lex Greensill in 2011, to access a COVID-19 loan scheme.
Lex Greensill was brought in as an adviser to the government while Cameron was British prime minister from 2010 to 2016.
After leaving office, Cameron in turn became an adviser to Greensill Capital, which filed for insolvency protection in March.
Cameron has denied breaking any code of conduct or government rules and the government has repeatedly said the outcome of his discussions on Greensill’s proposals for access to a COVID-19 loan scheme were not taken up.
The Bank of England said in April that no changes were made to the Covid Corporate Financing Facility as a result of communication between Cameron and Bank officials.
The data release showed Cameron contacted six different ministers and a similar number of government and Bank of England officials. The messages ranged from arranging calls to listing the merits of Greensill’s business.
In later messages, Cameron expressed frustration at not getting agreement from the treasury and the bank.
“Again Greensill have got a ‘no’. Am genuinely baffled … This seems bonkers. Am now calling CX, Gove, everyone. Best wishes. Dc,” Cameron wrote to top finance ministry official Tom Scholar on April 3. ‘CX’ refers to Sunak.
The Treasury Committee will interview Lex Greensill later on Tuesday and Cameron on Thursday for its inquiry into Greensill Capital.
Source: Read Full Article