Cameron and Greensill founder face grilling by MPs over lobbying

Cameron and Greensill founder face grilling by MPs over lobbying
Cameron and Greensill founder face grilling by MPs over lobbying

David Cameron is to appear before MPs next week to be grilled over his lobbying of government ministers on behalf of failed finance firm Greensill Capital.

The former prime minister will face sustained questioning by the cross-party House of Commons Treasury Committee on 13 May.

And financier Lex Greensill, who got a job inside government under Cameron’s administration and recruited him as a senior adviser after his departure from office, will also face the committee on 11 May.

The committee is conducting one of seven inquiries into the Greensill affair, which saw Mr Cameron lobby Treasury ministers including chancellor Rishi Sunak by text message for the company’s inclusion in multi-billion pound government Covid support schemes.

Committee chair and former Treasury minister Mel Stride said: “The Committee is determined to answer the key question as to whether HM Treasury responded appropriately to the lobbying on behalf of Greensill Capital, including that carried out by David Cameron.

“We also want to establish what lessons there are from Greensill’s collapse for the operation of the financial system.

“Following our first evidence session of the inquiry last week with experts, next week we’ll hear from two of the key figures: Lex Greensill and David Cameron.

“The committee will want to carefully examine their actions in relation to Greensill Capital and its interactions with HM Treasury.”

Select committee hearings allow witnesses to be put under sustained and forensic questioning over a period of two hours or more in televised sessions.

Treasury documents released under freedom of information laws showed that Mr Cameron sent multiple texts to Mr Sunak as the coronavirus pandemic struck in the spring of 2020, pleading for access to government-backed loans under the Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF).

At one point, Mr Sunak told the former PM that he had “pushed” his officials to explore options for Greensill’s inclusion, but after a number of meetings with senior Treasury officials the company was told it was not eligible for the scheme. Greensill was later accredited to the coronavirus large business interruption loan scheme (CLBILS), giving it the ability to offer government-backed loans of up to £50m.

Mr Cameron also phoned two other Treasury ministers and lobbied a 10 Downing Street aide. Separately, he took Mr Greensill for private drinks with health secretary Matt Hancock in 2019, when the company was seeking to win NHS contracts.

In a statement last month, the former PM insisted he had done nothing wrong, but accepted his communications with ministers should have been “done through only the most formal of channels, so there can be no room for misinterpretation”. He denied reports that he stood to gain £60m from Greensill share options had the company succeeded, but declined to say how much they would have been worth.


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