Greensill lobbying scandal: What are the key questions facing David Cameron?

Greensill lobbying scandal: What are the key questions facing David Cameron?
Greensill lobbying scandal: What are the key questions facing David Cameron?

Former prime minister David Cameron is set to face a long afternoon of questions from MPs over his lobbying for a now-collapsed finance firm.

The ex-premier is due to appear on Thursday before two separate House of Commons committees over his actions on behalf of Greensill Capital.

Mr Cameron has already been revealed to have bombarded ministers and officials – as well as the Bank of England – with WhatsApps, texts and emails in his pursuit of winning Greensill access to government-backed COVID support schemes.

But there are remaining questions over Mr Cameron’s relationship with the firm’s founder, Lex Greensill, the government’s use of supply chain finance schemes while he was in Number 10, and how Greensill Capital collapsed into insolvency earlier this year.

Mr Greensill’s business activities and Mr Cameron’s lobbying of the government on his behalf are currently subject to a string of inquiries.

Two of those being conducted by MPs will hear evidence from the former prime minister on Thursday.

First of all, from 2.30pm, Mr Cameron will give evidence to the Commons’ Treasury committee. And he will then appear in front of the Public Accounts Committee from 5pm.

Mr Cameron has so far not commented on his lobbying on behalf of Greensill save for a 1,500-word statement he put out to break weeks of silence.

In that statement, Mr Cameron said he was “desperately sorry” for those affected by the firm’s collapse – which has threatened thousands of jobs – and that he accepted there were “important lessons to be learnt”.

“As a former prime minister, I accept that communications with government need to be done through only the most formal of channels, so there can be no room for misinterpretation,” he added.

However, he insisted he lobbied ministers during the COVID crisis not only for the benefit of Greensill – in which he had share options – but that he “sincerely believed there would be a material benefit for UK businesses at a challenging time”.

The former prime minister also denied that Mr Greensill, who was brought in as a government adviser when Mr Cameron was in Downing Street, was a “close member” of his team.

Mr Cameron said he met Mr Greensill “twice at most” during his six-year spell as prime minister, although he confirmed that the government’s use of a supply chain finance scheme for NHS pharmacies was part of Mr Greensill’s work.

Citigroup, who previously employed Mr Grensill, became the initial financier of that scheme.

And in July 2018, Greensill took over pharmacies scheme, although Mr Greensill had left his government role by then.

A month later, in August 2018, Mr Cameron joined Greensill as a part-time senior adviser.

In his own evidence to the Treasury committee earlier this week, Mr Greensill denied his previous government role allowed him to win contracts for his business.

The Australian financer also denied claims he was a “fraudster” and that his business model was like a “Ponzi scheme”.

But, during his evidence, he did detail how Mr Cameron had attended Greensill board meetings since joining the firm, and how he and Mr Cameron had travelled together on the company’s private jets.

Mr Cameron has previously confirmed he and Mr Greensill had met with Saudia Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, at a time when the Saudi ruler was facing international condemnation over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.


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