Cameron slammed for lack of judgment over Greensill lobbing

Thursday 22nd July 2021 03:51 EDT

An inquiry by the treasury committee showed that David Cameron showed "significant lack of judgement" in the way he lobbied the government on behalf of Greensill Capital. The committee also questioned the former prime minister's judgment on the financial health of the now-collapsed lending firm. The report comes after Cameron was found to have lobbied for Greensill by sending texts to the chancellor.

Cameron said he acted in good faith but there were "lessons to be learnt." The committee said that while Cameron did not break the rules over lobbying by former ministers, there was a "good case for strengthening them", with the current ones offering "insufficient strength". The committee concluded Cameron's "less formal means" to lobby the government to help Greensill, where he was an advisor, were "aided by his previous position of prime minister".

They added had he "taken a broader and more enquiring assessment of the business", there were "signals available" which might have led him to take a "more restrained approach" when asking the government to help the firm. Mel Stride, chair of the Treasury committee, said the Treasury "should have encouraged" Cameron into "more formal lines of communication as soon as it had identified his personal financial incentives".

He added: "However, the Treasury took the right decision to reject the objectives of his lobbying, and the committee found that Treasury ministers and officials behaved with complete and absolute integrity."
Greensill Capital, which has since collapsed, made seven loans totalling £350m to companies owned by Sanjeev Gupta's business empire, GFG Alliance, which included Liberty Steel, the UK's third-largest steel manufacturer which employs 3,000 people. It was revealed in March, that when advising Greensill, the former prime minister texted Conservative ministers within the Treasury to appeal for access to emergency loans for the finance firm, but the requests were rejected. Cameron has been cleared of breaking any rules over his lobbying, however, critics have continued to question his access to ministers.

The committee said the "central argument" for Greensill's attempt to gain access to government support was "more of a sales pitch than a reality".

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