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Plaid Cymru MP calls for ‘safeguards’ in wake of David Cameron lobbying scandal

14 Apr 2021 3 minute read
David Cameron and Ben Lake

A Plaid Cymru MP has called for stronger “safeguards” in the wake of a lobbying scandal involving former UK Prime Minister David Cameron.

Ben Lake, who represents Ceredigion, made the call in a debate in the House of Commons about the former Tory PMs involvement with Greensill Capital.

Boris Johnson has launched a review by a government lawyer into the finance firm’s links to fellow Etonian David Cameron and top civil servants in his administration, while Labour wants a broader inquiry into lobbying by a cross-party panel of MPs.

More details emerged this week about Cameron’s efforts on behalf of the now-collapsed finance firm, which has intensified calls to examine corporate lobbying in the halls of power.

This includes a revelation from a lobbying watchdog that a top civil servant had joined the company as part-time adviser while still working for the government.

It has also emerged that Cameron Lex Greensill met Health Secretary Matt Hancock for a “private drink” back in in 2019 to discuss a new payment scheme for NHS staff.

‘Financial interest’ 

He pressed Treasury ministers, including sending Chancellor Rishi Sunak text messages, for emergency funding for the company, in which the former prime minister had a financial interest. He reportedly told friends that he set to earn as much as £60m from shares in Greensill, according to The Times.

Ben Lake said: “From a former Prime Minister texting Ministers in pursuit of his own financial interests to concerns over Russian state access to the other place, it is little wonder that questions have arisen as to the integrity of decision making in the UK.

“I acknowledge the Government’s commitment to investigate the Greensill debacle, but will they go further by implementing the Intelligence and Security Committee’s recommendations regarding undue influence in decision making, particularly in the practice of Lords for boards, to safeguard the transparency of our democratic decision making?

Paul Scully, Parliamentary Under-Secretary in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, replied: “The review specifically looks at supply chain finance and the discussions with Greensill. As I say, Nigel Boardman will do his work and report back at the end of June.”

In a statement on the matter David Cameron said: “I accept that communications with government need to be done through only the most formal of channels, so there can be no room for misinterpretation.”

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