Greensill lobbying scandal: David Cameron’s texts to ministers and prime officers revealed

2021-05-11 18:54:00

David Cameron advised the Treasury’s prime civil servant it was “bonkers” {that a} monetary companies agency he was lobbying for had been denied entry to government-backed COVID loans.

MPs on the Treasury choose committee have launched correspondence between the former prime minister and a spread of ministers and officers on behalf of Greensill Capital.

It comes forward of an look in entrance of the committee by Lex Greensill, the billionaire founding father of the now bankrupt finance agency.

David Cameron and Lex Greensill on a trip to Saudi Arabia in January last year
David Cameron and Lex Greensill on a visit to Saudi Arabia in January final yr

The agency filed for insolvency in March, placing tens of hundreds of jobs in danger globally in corporations that had been depending on its financing – together with round 5,000 jobs within the UK, primarily workers of Liberty Metal.

Mr Cameron approached serving ministers and officers concerning the involvement of Greensill in government-backed monetary assist schemes through the COVID-19 disaster, lobbying that included sending textual content messages to Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

Mr Cameron, who was in Quantity 10 from 2010 to 2016, has beforehand stated he broke “no codes of conduct and no authorities guidelines”.

However he did acknowledge: “As a former prime minister, I settle for that communications with the federal government have to be finished via solely essentially the most formal of channels, so there might be no room for misinterpretation.”

Correspondence offered by Mr Cameron and launched by the committee reveals that he texted Sir Tom Scholar, the Treasury’s everlasting secretary, on 3 April 2020 to say he was “genuinely baffled” on the scenario relating to Greensill and the Treasury’s refusal to grant it entry to the COVID Company Financing Facility.

He added: “Am now calling CX [the chancellor], Gove, everybody. Greatest needs, Dc.”

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Cameron to Sunak: Who’s who in Greensill controversy

Eight minutes later, Mr Cameron despatched a textual content to Mr Sunak, saying: “Rishi, David Cameron right here. Can I’ve a really fast phrase in some unspecified time in the future?

“Name any time on this quantity.”

That very same day he additionally contacted Michael Gove, saying: “I do know you’re manically busy – and doing an amazing job, by the best way (that is bloody exhausting and I believe the group is coping extraordinarily nicely. However do you may have a second for a phrase? I’m on this quantity and v free. All good needs Dc.”

After arranging to speak with the chancellor, Mr Cameron texted Mr Gove: “Am now talking to Rishi very first thing tomorrow. If I’m nonetheless caught, can I name you then?”

After the dialogue he wrote to Sir Tom, telling him that his final ask was for “another excessive degree chat” with him and that the chancellor had “agreed”.

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PM: ‘We have to get to backside of Greensill row’

Nevertheless, Mr Cameron messaged Mr Sunak once more on 22 April to apologise for “troubling you once more” and asking if he might assist on the subject of the CCCF and if he might “give it one other nudge over the end line”.

The 2 continued to remain in touch, with Mr Cameron asking the chancellor on 18 Could “for the final time, I promise” to instruct senior Treasury official Charles Roxburgh to look into the matter once more.

One other message from Mr Cameron to Sir Tom, despatched final March, learn: “I’m driving to the rescue with Provide Chain Finance with my pal Lex Greensill – my new job [REDACTED]. See you with Rishi’s for an elbow bump or foot faucet. Love Dc.”

The correspondence launched by the Treasury committee reveals that between March and June 2020, Mr Cameron despatched:

• 14 textual content messages to Tom Scholar, everlasting secretary of the Treasury
• Eight WhatsApp messages and two telephone calls to Chancellor Rishi Sunak
• 5 texts to financial secretary to the Treasury John Glen
• One name, one textual content message and one e mail to monetary secretary to the Treasury Jesse Norman
• Two textual content messages to Michael Gove
• Two WhatsApp messages to Richard Sharp, an aide to Rishi Sunak
• Three textual content messages, two emails and two telephone calls to Sheridan Westlake, Boris Johnson’s senior adviser
• 4 emails, one textual content messages and one name to Sir Jon Cunliffe, deputy governor of the Financial institution of England
• One WhatsApp message to vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi.

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