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David Cameron to be investigated over informal lobbying activities

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
There are mounting fears the investigation into David Cameron's informal and at times clandestine lobbying activities will prove to be a perfunctory exercise lacking rigor and impartiality

Former Tory Prime Minister, David Cameron, is set to be investigated over his attempts to lobby leading government ministers on behalf of the collapsed lender, Greensill Capital.

According to a Downing Street spokesman, the review will be led by lawyer Nigel Boardman on behalf of the Cabinet Office.

The review will focus in particular on the awarding of contracts for supply chain finance, a financial technique regularly employed by Greensill.

"This independent review will also look at how contracts were secured and how business representatives engaged with government", the Downing Street spokesman said.

"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", the spokesman added.

Cameron’s half-hearted defense

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Cameron told the BBC that the former PM “welcomes” the investigation and “will be glad to take part”.

Earlier on Sunday (April 11), Cameron appeared to accept some wrongdoing after conceding in a statement that he should have contacted ministers through “formal” channels. 

It has come to light that Cameron contacted the Chancellor Rishi Sunak via texting to involve Greensill in the government-backed emergency Covid-19 loans scheme for struggling firms.

In addition, Cameron reportedly met the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, for a “private drink” in 2019 to discuss how Greensill could assist the National Health Service (NHS).   

Tory whitewash?

Even before the investigation has got off the ground, influential figures have raised concerns about the review’s independence and impartiality.

Leading Labor Party MP, Rachel Reeves, claims the review “has all the hallmarks of another cover-up by the Conservatives”.

Reeves, who is the Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office, said the Tories are attempting to push bad behavior “into the long grass”.

This has all the hallmarks of another cover-up by the Conservatives.

Just as with the inquiry into Priti Patel's alleged bullying, this is another Conservative attempt to push bad behaviour into the long grass and hope the British public forgets. 1/2

— Rachel Reeves (@RachelReevesMP) April 12, 2021

Most importantly, Reeves called on Cameron, Sunak and Hancock to take questions in the House of Commons over the affair.

Meanwhile, former Labor Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, has said the existing two-year lobbying ban on former ministers and civil servants should be extended to five years as current arrangements are potentially “inadequate”.

Cameron met the two-year ban threshold, but he is accused of going about his lobbying activity in a covert manner so as to avoid scrutiny. 




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