UK

David Cameron texted Rishi Sunak lobbying him to grant loans to Greensill before it went bust

David Cameron texted Rishi Sunak lobbying him to grant hundreds of millions of taxpayer-funded loans to stricken financial firm Greensill before it went bust

  • The former prime minister is said to have texted the Chancellor’s private mobile 
  • Mr Sunak ignored most of the messages and instead referred him to officials 
  • Labour called for an inquiry into the saga and raised questions of transparency 

David Cameron personally lobbied Rishi Sunak to grant millions of Covid loans to a financial firm he was advising before it collapsed, it was claimed last night. 

The former prime minister is said to have texted the Chancellor’s private mobile in a bid to secure government-backed funding for the afflicted Greensill Capital.

Mr Sunak ignored most of the messages and instead referred Mr Cameron to senior Treasury officials, according to The Sunday Times. 

Those contacted by the ex-Tory premier were said to include Tom Scholar, the permanent secretary, and Charles Roxburgh, the second permanent secretary. 

The paper reported that Mr Sunak stood by officials who felt Greensill did not qualify for the scheme. 

But Labour has called for an inquiry into the saga to ensure that decisions taken about taxpayer money is transparent.

Rishi Sunak

David Cameron personally lobbied Rishi Sunak to grant millions of Covid loans to a financial firm he was advising before it collapsed, it was claimed last night

It emerged earlier in the week that Mr Cameron held meetings with Treasury mandarins to ask that Greensill receive support through the Government’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF).

The company, which Mr Cameron joined as an adviser in 2018, plunged into administration after its loan application was refused.

The FT said that public records showed Greensill representatives had 10 virtual meetings between March and June last year with senior Treasury officials. 

Mr Cameron has exposed himself to accusations of hypocrisy after previously warning about the dangers of financial lobbying.

Mr Cameron, 54, was prime minister and Conservative leader when Mr Sunak was first elected to the Commons in 2015.

The former prime minister is said to have texted the Chancellor's private mobile in a bid to secure government-backed funding for the afflicted Greensill Capital

The former prime minister is said to have texted the Chancellor’s private mobile in a bid to secure government-backed funding for the afflicted Greensill Capital 

He resigned a year later after his Remain campaign lost the Brexit referendum.   

For Labour, shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds said: ‘Rishi Sunak already had questions to answer as to why Greensill was given so much more access to the Treasury than other Covid lenders.

‘The suggestion that David Cameron was also contacting the Chancellor directly to further Greensill’s commercial interests raises even bigger concerns.

‘This is public money, and the processes involved in decision-making should be fully transparent and beyond reproach. We need a full and thorough investigation into what’s happened here.’

A Treasury spokeswoman said: ‘Treasury officials regularly meet with stakeholders to discuss our economic response to Covid.

‘The meetings in question were primarily about broadening the scope of CCFF to enable access for providers of supply chain finance, which – following a call for evidence and discussions with several other firms within the sector – we decided against and informed the businesses concerned.’

The Sunday Times said that Mr Cameron did not respond to a request to comment.

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