UK launches probe into David Cameron’s lobbying for financier Greensill

LONDON — An independent review will examine former U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron’s efforts to lobby ministers on behalf of the now-collapsed finance firm Greensill, the government has announced.

The inquiry follows a series of revelations that Cameron directly contacted ministers in a bid to secure access for the company to an emergency coronavirus loans scheme. The probe will be led by lawyer Nigel Boardman on behalf of the Cabinet Office, and will also examine the use of supply-chain finance, which Greensill specialized in, in the public sector.

Cameron, who quit as prime minister in 2016 in the wake of the Brexit referendum, on Sunday gave his first response since his lobbying efforts for Greensill were made public, saying he had not broken any codes of conduct or lobbying rules.

However, the former prime minister, who sent text messages to Chancellor Rishi Sunak, acknowledged that he should have contacted ministers through “formal” channels.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s official spokesman said Monday that the review would “look at how contracts were secured and how business representatives engaged with government.”

He added: “There is significant interest in this matter, so the prime minister has called for the review to ensure government is completely transparent about such activities.”

Boardman, a non-executive board member at the government’s department for business, will be expected to report “promptly,” he added.

The opposition Labour Party dismissed the inquiry as having “all the hallmarks of another cover-up by the Conservatives.”

Gordon Brown, a former Labour prime minister, suggested the current two-year lobbying ban for former ministers and senior civil servants — a rule Cameron followed — should be extended to five years. Cameron began working as an adviser to Greensill Capital in August 2018, having previously engaged the firm’s owner, Lex Greensill, as an unpaid adviser when he was in government.

This article is part of POLITICO’s premium policy service: Pro Financial Services. From the eurozone, banking union, CMU, and more, our specialized journalists keep you on top of the topics driving the Financial Services policy agenda. Email pro@politico.eu for a complimentary trial.

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