Ex-UK PM Cameron grilled over links to bankrupt finance firm

Andrew Cummings
May 14, 2021

- Mr Cameron was an accidental lobbyist.

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.

They inclued messages to Rishi Sunak, the UK's finance minister, and Tom Scholar, the United Kingdom treasury's top civil servant.

Mr Cameron's evidence session got off to a tetchy start when committee chair Mel Stride, a Conservative MP, queried the length of the former prime minister's opening statement to MPs.

However, he acknowledged there were "important lessons to be learnt" and accepted that "communications with government need to be done through only the most formal of channels, so there can be no room for misinterpretation".

Cameron potentially stood to make millions if Greensill went public.

"I had a big economic investment in the future of Greensill, so I wanted the business to succeed, I wanted it to grow", Cameron said.

But he insisted "the motivation was about trying to help the Government and get those schemes right".

He said: "I was paid an annual amount, a generous annual amount, far more than what I earned as prime minister, and I had shares - not share options but shares in the business - which vested over the period of time of my contract".

- His text message style is "old-fashioned". "Best wishes. DC", Cameron wrote to top finance ministry official Tom Scholar on April 3.

"Anyone I know even at all well, I tend to sign off text messages with "love DC" - I don't know why, I just do", Mr Cameron said.

She asked: "Did you know that 90 per cent of Greensill's business represented unsecured loans to high-risk borrowers, and half the time without any invoice whatsoever?"

"I did not believe in March or April, when I was doing this contact, that there was a risk of Greensill falling over".

Greensill went into administration in March 2021, with the fallout leaving thousands of workers at Liberty Steel facing an uncertain future because the firm owes billions to the collapsed lender.

The firm's implosion threatens about 50,000 jobs at companies around the world that relied on its financing for their supply chains, and has rekindled the debate on the close ties between the upper echelons of British politics and finance.

He insisted he didn't break any rules.The former Prime Minister refused to say how much he was paid for all his work, though he did reveal he used the corporate jet.

The ex-PM once described lobbying as "the next big scandal waiting to happen", a point seized on by Labour MP Siobhain McDonagh.

Mr Cameron has previously said he began working as a "part-time senior adviser" to Greensill Capital in August 2018.

"I did use it a handful of times on other visits, and of course all proper taxes and all those things would be dealt with in the proper way".

"It was a time of extraordinary crisis and so it was a time when I think it was appropriate to use phone and text over email and letter", the former prime minister said.

"We need to think differently and act differently".

The letter was part of a release of documents by the Treasury Committee detailing various responses to Greensill-related inquiries and, most notably, extensive lobbying by former prime minister David Cameron.

Other reports by iNewsToday