Former Prime Minister David Cameron has returned to the limelight recently over his alleged involvement in a lobbying scandal with a firm he advises and the Treasury. He was trying to secure Greensill access to a loan scheme called the Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF). The former Prime Minister wanted Greensill Capital to be able to issue loans using tax-payer cash through this scheme.
He sent multiple text messages to the personal phone of Chancellor Rishi Sunak and approached two junior treasury ministers.
The scandal has sparked a wider row over private companies’ attempts to influence ministers and officials.
The Government has now asked a senior lawyer to conduct a review into the issue and a report by the end of June but on Wednesday the Commons Treasury committee announced plans for its own probe, with other committees reportedly planning to do the same.
Labour had wanted a “full” probe, including public hearings by a cross-party panel of MPs – but the Government rejected this, and voted down the plan.
Regardless, according to Labour Leave’s general secretary and Ashford councillor Brendan Chilton, this scandal will hit the Conservative Party hard after enjoying a significant boost in support as a result of the vaccine roll-out programme.
He told Express.co.uk: “Throughout this crisis we have repeatedly seen examples of contracts being given to close friends of ministers or associates of ministers or donors to the Conservative Party.
“They seem to have got these fantastic contracts worth hundreds of millions of pounds without a proper procurement process.
“This latest one… [David Cameron] is a friend of Boris Johnson.
“Both of them went to the same school and a few years later, they both occupied Number 10.
“The fact that he could just ring the Chancellor in this case and say ‘By the way, a firm I am working for needs some help’ is baffling.
“No ordinary person in this country has that level of access.
“No plumber or electrician can text the Chancellor.”
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Mr Chilton also noted it is not just Labour who is concerned about the scandal, but also people from the business world.
Richard Tice, leader of the Reform Party, has heavily condemned it and so has the Independent Business Network, he added.
Conservative grandee Sir Bernard Jenkin echoed Mr Chilton’s comments yesterday, arguing Prime Minister Boris Johnson risks losing his election gains against Labour if he does not clean up the “shameful” Westminster lobbying controversy.
Writing in The Observer, Sir Bernard said the “lines between public service and private gain” had become “blurred”.
The senior Tory, who has been an MP since April 1992, described the current situation as “shameful” and “utterly corrosive of public trust in Government”.
In an apparent dig at the former Remain-backing Cameron Government, he added: “This should matter to Boris Johnson.
“He does not need to pretend to be a saint, but his ‘red wall’ voters, who gave him his majority, will start to dismiss him unless he can show he is more open, more transparent and very different from the out-of-touch elite he defeated in the 2016 referendum and ousted from Government.”
Sir Bernard’s theory will be put to the test in only a few weeks as Mr Johnson looks to see whether he can turn Hartlepool, a seat traditionally held by Labour, blue during the by-election on May 6.