David Cameron showed a ‘significant lack of judgment’ by lobbying ministers on behalf of Greensill Capital, MPs will say
- David Cameron showed ‘significant lack of judgment’ in lobbying for Greensill
- Criticised after messages to ministers and top civil servants on their behalf
- Comapny wanted access to billions of pounds through Covid support schemes
David Cameron showed a ‘significant lack of judgment’ in his lucrative lobbying work for a controversial finance firm, MPs will say today.
The former prime minister is criticised in a major report after sending dozens of text messages to ministers and top civil servants on behalf of Greensill Capital.
The Treasury committee found he should have ‘taken a more restrained approach’, having made contact 56 times in four months, particularly as ‘signals’ showed the now-collapsed firm was in trouble.
The company, for which the ex-Tory leader was reportedly paid more than £730,000 a year as a senior adviser, wanted access to billions of pounds through Covid support schemes.
David Cameron (pictured) showed a ‘significant lack of judgment’ in lucrative lobbying work for Greensill Capital, MPs will say today
But Greensill’s claim that it would support small businesses was ‘more of a sales pitch than reality’, the MPs found.
The Treasury is also criticised for not telling Mr Cameron to use ‘more formal methods of communication’ and for failing to consider whether his contact with the department ‘posed any reputational risks’.
Tory MP Mel Stride, chairman of the committee, said last night: ‘Our report sets out important lessons for the Treasury and our financial system resulting from both Greensill Capital’s collapse and David Cameron’s lobbying. The Treasury should have encouraged David Cameron into more formal lines of communication as soon as it had identified his personal financial incentives.
‘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.’
It is the first parliamentary report into the lobbying scandal, which erupted earlier this year. The MPs note in their report today that the ‘economic benefits from Mr Cameron’s relationship with Greensill were clearly very significant’ and point out his use of the firm’s private jets, including for personal trips.
The former prime minister is criticised in a major report after sending dozens of text messages to ministers and top civil servants on behalf of Greensill Capital
His ‘obvious personal links’ with those he was lobbying are clear from his ‘Love Dc’ sign-off when writing to the Treasury’s top civil servant Sir Tom Scholar, and his habit of sending texts and WhatsApp messages to their private mobile phones.
The report concludes: ‘Mr Cameron’s use of less formal means to lobby Government showed a significant lack of judgment, especially given that his ability to use an informal approach was aided by his previous position of prime minister.’
It notes that he ‘did not break the rules governing lobbying by former ministers’ – which apply only in the first two years after leaving office – but adds that this shows ‘there is a strong case for strengthening them’.
Last night, Mr Cameron said: ‘While I am pleased that the report confirms I broke no rules, I very much take on board its wider points. I always acted in good faith, and had no idea until the end of last year that Greensill Capital was in danger of failure. However, I have been clear all along that there are lessons to be learnt.’