Better put a tie on Dave, this is serious! Cameron faces grilling by MPs over barrage of lobbying emails and texts sent to ministers on behalf of collapsed finance firm Greensill
- David Cameron is facing a grilling from two committees over Greensill lobbying
- The former PM sent a barrage of messages to ministers and government officials
- Mr Cameron denies breaking rules but approaches could have been more formal
A dressed-down David Cameron left his London home today as he braces for a grilling from MPs over his lobbying for collapsed finance firm Greensill Capital.
The former PM is facing hours of gruelling back-to-back hearings with the Commons Treasury and Public Accounts committees as he defends his activities.
Earlier this week the Treasury Committee released dozens of texts and emails Mr Cameron sent to ministers and senior officials appealing for their help in gaining access for Greensill to Covid support programmes.
They included toe-curling messages to senior civil servants saying he was looking forward to an ‘elbow bump’ with Rishi Sunak.
There were also direct contacts with the Chancellor, Matt Hancock and Michael Gove, as well as senior officials at the Treasury and the Bank of England.
Mr Cameron has insisted he broke no rules when acting on behalf of the firm, but admitted he could have made approaches in a more formal way. There have been claims he stood to make tens of millions of pounds from shares if Greensill had floated on the stock market.
In the end the firm did not get access to the government schemes.
Mr Cameron, who is expected to give evidence by video link, was casually dressed in a green plaid shirt under a jacket as he left home this morning.
He once famously told Jeremy Corbyn at PMQs to ‘put on a proper suit, do up your tie and sing the national anthem’.
A dressed-down David Cameron left his London home today as he braces for a grilling from MPs over his lobbying for collapsed finance firm Greensill Capital
Mr Cameron pictured with Lex Greensill on a trip to Saudi Arabia in January last year
Mr Cameron sent a toe-curling message saying he was looking forward to an ‘elbow bump’ with Rishi Sunak (pictured)
David Cameron’s toe-curling barrage of messages lobbying ministers
David Cameron’s toe-curling barrage of messages to ministers and officials as he lobbied on behalf of Greensill were revealed earlier this week.
The Treasury Committee published a full list of the former PM’s contacts after he disclosed them ahead of the evidence session today.
They show that he fired off an array of texts and emails, some signed ‘Love Dc’ and suggesting meet-ups for ‘elbow bumps’.
The powerful cross-party committee is investigating the collapse of Greensill Capital and lobbying of the Treasury and Bank of England on its behalf.
Mr Cameron has denied breaking any lobbying rules, but admitted he should have made approaches in a more formal way.
The messages revealed include to Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove.
He also contacted vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi.
One text message to Mr Gove on April 3 last year acknowledged the minister is ‘manically busy’, adding: ‘But do you have a moment for a word? I am on this number and v free. All good wishes Dc.’
The Government has also said Greensill’s applications were dealt with properly and were ultimately rejected.
However there has been criticism of how a former prime minister was able to exploit his personal contacts with former colleagues and officials in the pursuit of commercial gain.
In one message to Mr Sunak, Mr Cameron complained the Treasury’s objections to Greensill’s application were ‘nuts’, adding: ‘Think there is a simple misunderstanding that I can explain.’
In an exchange with Mr Gove, the former prime minister messaged: ‘Am now speaking to Rishi first thing tomorrow. If I am still stuck, can I call you then?’
‘Of course! Any time,’ Mr Gove responded.
Meanwhile the City watchdog has said it is launching a formal investigation into the collapse of Greensill which filed for insolvency in March.
The Financial Conduct Authority said some of the allegations made about the firm were ‘potentially criminal in nature’.
Greensill had major financial ties to GFG – the owner the UK’s third largest steelmaker, Liberty Steel – and its failure has put thousands of jobs at risk as GFG seeks to refinance.
In a letter to the committee, Mr Cameron said he first became concerned that the company might be in serious financial difficulty in December last year.
‘Up until that point, I firmly believed that Greensill was in good financial health,’ he said.
Appearing before the Treasury Committee on Tuesday, the firm’s founder, Australian financier Lex Greensill, said he was ‘truly sorry’ and took full responsibility for what happened.
‘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 fired off an array of texts and emails, some signed ‘Love Dc’ and suggesting meet-ups for ‘elbow bumps’
Lex Greensill, whose firm is at the heart of a lobbying row featuring former prime minister David Cameron, told MPs earlier this week he was sad that 1,000 had lost their jobs with the finance house.
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