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The Saturday Selection

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David Cameron lobbying row: MPs to launch inquiry into lessons learned from Greensill scandal

Written by on 14 April 2021

A committee of MPs is to launch an inquiry into the lessons learned from the Cameron-Greensill lobbying row.

The Treasury Committee will next week begin looking at how appropriate the Treasury’s response was to lobbying by former prime minister David Cameron on behalf of Greensill Capital.

Mr Cameron, who was employed by the finance firm’s owner Lex Greensill in 2018 after he left Downing Street, has been revealed to have approached serving ministers about the involvement of Greensill Capital in government-backed financial support schemes during the coronavirus crisis.

This included text messages sent to Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

Mr Cameron also had a drink with Health Secretary Matt Hancock, attended by Mr Greensill, at which they are reported to have discussed a payment scheme later rolled out in the NHS.

The former prime minister was cleared of any wrongdoing by the official watchdog in March 2021 on the basis he was an employee of Greensill Capital rather than a third-party lobbyist.

The Treasury Committee, made up of six Conservative MPs, three Labour and one SNP MP, will also look at the regulatory lessons learned from giving Greensill access to government cash, for it to then collapse last month.

Full details of what it will look into will be published when the inquiry begins.

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Starmer: Greensill scandal ‘just tip of iceberg’

Top lawyer Nigel Boardman is also looking into the role of Mr Greensill, his business and its involvement with the government after Mr Johnson ordered a separate review on Tuesday. He is expected to return his findings in June.

The news a fresh inquiry would be launched came hours after Boris Johnson told MPs at Prime Ministers’ Questions he shares their “widespread concern” about the controversy and questioned whether “boundaries” between top civil servants and businesses had been “properly understood”.

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Cameron to Sunak: Who’s who in Greensill controversy

He faced repeated quizzing by MPs about the lobbying row, with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer accusing Mr Johnson of overseeing the “return of Tory sleaze”.

A vote introduced by the Labour Party to set up a committee to investigate government lobbying was then rejected ahead of the Treasury Committee announcing its inquiry.

Mel Stride, chair of the Treasury Committee, said: “The Treasury Committee had previously decided to carefully consider these issues as part of its regular and upcoming evidence sessions with HM Treasury and its associated bodies, including the Financial Conduct Authority and Bank of England.

“In addition to this, we have now decided to take a closer look by launching an inquiry to investigate the issues that fall within our remit.

“We will publish further details when we launch the inquiry officially next week.”

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