David Cameron texted ministers and officials 62 times as he desperately lobbied for Greensill Capital, it was revealed yesterday.
The former prime minister also made 11 phone calls and sent 12 emails to some of the most senior figures in the Government and the Bank of England during the four-month bombardment.
Mr Cameron was a paid part-time senior adviser at Greensill Capital for two years and received share options that could have landed him a huge windfall if the firm had floated on the stock market, but he has said their value was ‘nowhere near’ the rumoured £42 million.
The former PM signed some of the messages ‘love Dc’, claimed he was ‘riding to the rescue’ with his financier boss Lex Greensill and described the now-collapsed firm as a ‘British success story’.
David Cameron (pictured on Tuesday) texted ministers and officials 62 times as he desperately lobbied for Greensill Capital, it was revealed yesterday
Far more comprehensive than the information previously released by HM Treasury and the Bank, the messages were published by the Treasury select committee ahead of Mr Cameron’s highly anticipated appearance tomorrow in front of MPs examining his lobbying for Greensill Capital last year and the firm’s recent demise.
Greensill boss apologises for the collapse of firm
The boss of collapsed finance company Greensill apologised today and said he takes full responsibility as the City watchdog launched a probe into the firm.
Lex Greensill, whose firm is at the heart of a lobbying row featuring former prime minister David Cameron, told MPs today he was sad about the impact on its 1,000 staff and its clients.
But he sidestepped questions about his relationship with companies like Liberty Steel – which faces an uncertain future – for legal reasons.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said it is formally investigating how two Greensill companies failed, and how one of them was overseen by a company whose licence it piggybacked on to operate in the UK.
Facing MPs for the first time since the explosion of the lobbying scandal earlier this year, Australian banker Mr Greensill said ‘Please understand that I bear complete responsibility for the collapse of Greensill Capital.
‘I am desperately saddened that more than 1,000 very hard working people have lost their jobs at Greensill. Likewise I take full responsibility for any hardship being felt by our clients and their suppliers, and indeed investors in our programmes.
But at the same time he said the decision of the company’s leading insurer, Tokio Marine, ultimately led to the collapse.
He said that Covid-19 and the actions of authorities in Germany had played a role in the insurance company’s decision.
‘It’s deeply regrettable that we were let down by our leading insurer whose actions assured Greensill’s collapse, and indeed some of our biggest customers.
‘To all of those affected by this. I am truly sorry.’
Mr Cameron was introduced to Mr Greensill when he was in Downing Street by then Cabinet Secretary Jeremy Heywood, who had met him when they both worked at the investment bank Morgan Stanley.
The Australian became a business adviser to the Government and hired Mr Cameron two years after he left No 10.
Just before the pandemic struck, Mr Cameron and Mr Greensill met Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, and they went on a ‘desert camping trip’ together.
The messages show that Mr Cameron’s approaches began early on March 5 last year, with a text message to Sir Tom Scholar – the most senior civil servant in the Treasury and well known to Mr Cameron since he had served as his main adviser on international affairs in Downing Street.
The former PM wrote, ‘hope you are still alive and well’ before asking for a phone number for one of the Bank’s deputy governors, Sir Jon Cunliffe.
He also asked the Permanent Secretary, ‘can I give you lunch once the budget is done’ before signing off ‘Love Dc’.
Minutes later, Mr Cameron was emailing Sir Jon and arranging for him to phone him.
The following day he was texting Sir Tom again and boasting: ‘I am riding to the rescue with Supply Chain Finance with my friend Lex Greensill.’
He added that he hoped to see Sir Tom with Chancellor Rishi Sunak ‘for an elbow bump or foot tap’.
Mr Cameron texted Bank boss Sir Jon as he had ‘tried to call but line busy’, then emailed him to arrange a meeting.
Ten days later he texted Sir Tom to say he was ‘thinking of you in these impossibly difficult times’ and ‘hope you are staying calm’, as he sent him Greensill’s request for the Bank to buy billions of pounds worth of its bonds.
On April 2, he told Sir Tom, ‘one last point then I promise I will stop annoying you’ as he highlighted Greensill’s early payment deal with NHS pharmacies.
But the next day he texted him again to say he was ‘genuinely baffled’ that the firm had been rejected from joining the Bank’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility – which would have given it the ability to make £200 million loans to businesses rather than its upper limit of £50 million – and complained that the Treasury’s decision ‘seems bonkers’.
He concluded: ‘Am now calling CX [Chancellor Mr Sunak], Gove, everyone.’
True to his word, within ten minutes he was WhatsApping Mr Sunak about the ‘nuts’ decision to reject Greensill, which he described as a ‘British Fintech success story’.
Continuing a mammoth day of lobbying on April 3, Mr Cameron also texted, emailed and called No 10 adviser Sheridan Westlake, saying: ‘Dc here. There is a looming problem you can help solve.’
On the same day, Mr Cameron texted, phoned and emailed Treasury minister Jesse Norman, as well as contacting ministers John Glen and Mr Gove.
The former prime minister also made 11 phone calls and sent 12 emails to some of the most senior figures in the Government and the Bank of England during the four-month bombardment. Pictured: The texts he sent
He told his former friend Mr Gove, now in the Cabinet Office: ‘I know you are manically busy – and doing a great job, by the way (this is bloody hard and I think the team is coping extremely well).’
He said he had arranged a phone call with the Chancellor and asked: ‘If I am still stuck, can I call you then? Thanks!’
Carrying on into the evening, before ringing him the next day, he told Mr Sunak: ‘You are doing a great job – keep going!’
After his conversation with the Chancellor early on April 4, Mr Cameron started texting Sir Tom again to say they had enjoyed a ‘good chat’.
But he wanted Sir Tom to have ‘one more conversation’ with Mr Greensill and in the next few days kept texting him to ask ‘anything to report’.
Mr Cameron was a paid part-time senior adviser at Greensill Capital for two years and received share options that could have landed him a huge windfall if the firm had floated on the stock market, but he has said their value was ‘nowhere near’ the rumoured £42 million. Pictured: Lex Greensill
Mr Cameron was introduced to Mr Greensill when he was in Downing Street by then Cabinet Secretary Jeremy Heywood, who had met him when they both worked at the investment bank Morgan Stanley
Mr Cameron had a phone chat with the Treasury’s top two civil servants on April 7 and immediately told the Chancellor about the ‘excellent call’.
But three weeks later he was messaging Mr Sunak again to complain the ‘situation is still stuck’ and asked: ‘Could you try and give it another nudge over the finish line?’
He continued to message and call the Chancellor into May, asking ‘for the last time, I promise’ for officials to look at Greensill’s plans again.
In June, he moved on to business minister Nadhim Zahawi, telling him he had been ‘very solid on the media’ before asking him for a phone number for Richard Sharp, a banker and Tory donor who was then an unpaid adviser to the Chancellor and is now BBC chairman.
Mr Cameron had a phone chat with the Treasury’s top two civil servants on April 7 and immediately told the Chancellor about the ‘excellent call’
The Treasury Committee has published a full list of the former PM’s contacts after he disclosed them ahead of an evidence session tomorrow