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Raymond Maxwell 2021-05-27
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Rishi Sunak has said he did not know David Cameron “very well at all” when the former prime minister texted him to controversially lobby on behalf of Greensill Capital.

Cameron’s intensive lobbying of ministers and officials was laid bare earlier this month as MPs seek to understand the role the ex-PM played in securing Whitehall access for the company.

Greensill is now being investigated by the Financial Conduct Authority, which received allegations relating to the firm’s collapse that were “potentially criminal in nature”.

The firm’s demise has rendered Cameron’s reported tens of millions of share options worthless, and there has been criticism of how a former prime minister was able to exploit his personal contacts with ex-colleagues and officials in the pursuit of commercial gain.

Sunak and the Treasury were at the centre of Cameron’s lobbying efforts.

IN DEPTH David Cameron’s Most Cringeworthy Greensill Lobbying Texts Laid Bare

The PM texted Sunak last April after being rebuffed by Treasury officials as he tried to gain access for Greensill to the government’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF).

After being told “no”, Cameron told Treasury permanent secretary Tom Scholar on April 3 that the refusal was “bonkers” and that he was now going to call “[the chancellor], [Michael] Gove, everyone”.

Just eight minutes later, Cameron texted Sunak: “Rishi, David Cameron here. Can I have a quick word at some point?”, before going on to explain Greensill’s request.

Several messages and phone calls between the pair followed.

But Sunak suggested that if Cameron was trying to exploit personal contacts, the pair had not actually spoken since summer 2016 or before.

“I don’t know David Cameron very well at all and I don’t think I’ve spoken to him since I was a backbench MP and he was prime minister,” Sunak told the Commons Treasury committee.

“It was a surprise to receive the message.” 

Sunak giving evidence to the Commons Treasury committee

Following a barrage of texts, calls, messages and emails across the government, Cameron’s lobbying efforts ultimately failed.

Sunak insisted that he would not have done anything differently in his approach to Greensill and that Cameron’s role was not important to how much time officials in the Treasury spent on the firm’s request.

“I looked at the issue on the merits of it, so the identity of the person talking about it was not relevant to the amount of attention and proper due diligence that the issue got and required,” Sunak said.

“This was one of many strands of work, and in fact probably the one we spent the least time on during this period.”

Earlier this month, Cameron stressed that he was unaware of any financial difficulty at Greensill until December 2020, when he was told that an attempt to raise funds had not gone as well as hoped.

According to founder Lex Greensill, the rug was finally pulled out from underneath the company when its biggest insurer, Tokio Marine, refused to renew its policies with Greensill.

Treasury official Charles Roxburgh said on Thursday that the firm’s collapse would directly cost around £8m to the taxpayer, including taxes that Greensill owed.

But he did not accept the cost of up to £5bn that former City minister Lord Myners estimated the taxpayer could indirectly be on the hook for.

Greensill provided so-called supply chain finance to businesses, which meant the firm would pay a company’s invoice immediately after it was sent, therefore cutting out the usual delay which can restrict companies’ cash flows.

Top lawyer Nigel Boardman has been tasked by prime minister Boris Johnson to look into the Greensill scandal.

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Brendon Dwelle 2021-04-08
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David Cameron’s lobbying of government has drawn fresh criticism after it emerged Rishi Sunak “pushed” officials to explore an alternative plan that could have helped a firm the ex-PM was working for.

Labour, the Lib Dems and the SNP have seized on text messages sent by the chancellor to Cameron that they say expose “Tory cronyism” and raise questions over Sunak breaking the ministerial code.

The two texts, released on Thursday following a Freedom of Information request, relate to the ex-Tory leader’s efforts to secure rescue funding for finance company Greensill Capital.

The firm, which Cameron had been working for since 2018, filed for insolvency after failing to secure support through the government’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF).

Greensill Capital’s demise rendered Cameron’s reported tens of millions of share options worthless.

The first message from Sunak to Cameron, sent on April 3 2020, read: “Hi David, thanks for your message. I am stuck back to back on calls but will try you later this evening and if gets too late, first thing tomorrow. Best, Rishi.”

The second message from Sunak sent on April 23 said: “Hi David, apologies for the delay. I think the proposals in the end did require a change to the market notice but I have pushed the team to explore an alternative with the Bank that might work.

“No guarantees, but the Bank are currently looking at it and Charles should be in touch. Best, Rishi.”

The “Charles” refers to Charles Roxburgh, the second most senior civil servant at the Treasury.

But texts from the former prime minister sent to the chancellor were not published as his status as an employee of Greensill Capital meant he had “an expectation of confidence”, it was claimed. 

The Treasury response to the FOI request said: “We are withholding the communications sent by David Cameron to the chancellor. These communications were made by David Cameron in his capacity as an employee of Greensill, and with an expectation of confidence.”

Sunak also confirmed Cameron lobbied three ministers, including himself, over the matter of Greensill Capital’s access to the Covid support scheme.

In a letter sent to shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds on Thursday, Sunak wrote: “I can confirm that David Cameron reached out informally by telephone to me, and to the economic secretary and the financial secretary, on the matter of Greensill Capital’s access to the CCFF.

“The matter was referred to the relevant officials and, following appropriate consultations as outlined in the previous requests, the request was turned down.

“During this process, this was communicated to Greensill Capital by officials and, in parallel, by me to David Cameron.”

Following the release, Labour’s Dodds said: “These messages raise very serious questions about whether the chancellor may have broken the ministerial code. They suggest that Greensill Capital got accelerated treatment and access to officials, and that the Chancellor ‘pushed’ officials to consider Greensill’s requests.

“The chancellor’s decision to open the door to Greensill Capital has put public money at risk. There must be a full, transparent and thorough investigation into the chain of events that saw Greensill awarded lucrative contracts, the freedom of Whitehall and the right to lend millions of pounds of government-backed Covid loans.”

The SNP’s cabinet office spokesperson Stewart Hosie said: “Boris Johnson’s Tory government is stumbling from one scandal to the next. The latest developments around Greensill Capital and access to government departments granted to firms with close links to the Tory party has only raised further questions.

“Tory ministers and former prime ministers casually texting each other over government access utterly reeks.

“When MPs return from recess, Rishi Sunak must come before parliament and set the record straight over his full exchange with David Cameron and what the outcome of those messages were.”

A Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson said: “There are now serious questions that the Chancellor must answer about the nature of these conversations. Yet again, the stench of cronyism emanates from this government.

“We need full transparency on exactly what the chancellor did and what David Cameron’s involvement was in persuading him.”

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Theodore Davis 2021-05-13
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“Make no mistake, this is a painful day, coming back to a place that I love and respect so much, albeit virtually, but in these circumstances.” David Cameron’s very first words to the Treasury select committee neatly previewed everything else that was to come: self-preservation masquerading as atonement, special pleading with a hint of humblebrag, all wrapped up in smoothly worded obfuscation.

The former PM wasn’t “back” anywhere, other than his own back room, but in his mind’s eye he was back in parliament. Somehow the phrase “remote working” seemed very apt, given how distant he seemed from the details of the collapsed finance firm Greensill, and from the lives of the many who suffered in the first wave of the Covid pandemic.

For it was during the height of the pandemic that Cameron devoted his energies not to helping the government tackle the virus, but to relentlessly lobbying ministers and Treasury officials on behalf of his company. As the deaths soared into their thousands last April, he made 19 calls, texts and emails in a single day: to the Chancellor, Economic Secretary, a No 10 spad, the Deputy Governor of Bank of England, Michael Gove and Treasury perm sec Tom Scholar.

Overall there were 56 different contacts. That’s a lot of words about him and his company. And there were lots more words about both during his two sessions before MPs on Thursday.  First we had a flannel-packed 144 minutes with the Treasury committee, then a further 77 minutes of verbal blancmange before the Public Accounts Committee.

Cameron started his working life as the director of corporate affairs for a long-dead TV company. So the wheel had come full circle and here he was appearing as a PR man for a long-defunct premier called David Cameron. The problem was that he proceeded to further tarnish his own reputation almost as much as Greensill had itself. Lacking any brutally honest self-assessment of his own, he left it to MPs to describe him as “a con artist” and “stalker” who “demeaned” his former office.

In line with plenty of corporate media experts who prep witnesses for parliament, he knew that he had to have a form of early apology. “I am extremely sorry and sad that it has come to this end,” he said. But he felt the need to still defend Brand Cameron. When he said that because Greensill had collapsed “doesn’t mean the whole thing was necessarily a giant fraud”, it felt like a plea for his own political tenure.

Pressed repeatedly on exactly how much he was paid by Greensill, Cameron was coy. He refused to say if his salary was higher or lower than £1m a year (a refusal that suggests it was higher), saying only it was a “generous, big salary that you might earn as someone in my position at a bank or what have you.” 

Yet he was at pains to suggest how little this was, saying if he’d worked at “a large bank, as some of my predecessors have done, perhaps it would have been even more”. There was even a hint of a complaint that he was not well paid in No.10, saying his Greensill income was “far more than what I earned as prime minister” (itself a pitiful £142,000 a year).

Of course the reason MPs wanted to know how much he got paid was precisely to discover just how motivated he was by a cash incentive when he lobbied government. In an attempt at apparent candour that hid more than it revealed, he admitted he had “a serious economic interest” but then said his actual salary and shares weren’t “particularly germane” because his real motivation was public service.

And that was perhaps the spin too far. “I have spent most of my adult life in public service. I believe in it deeply. I would never put forward something that I didn’t believe was absolutely in the interests of the public good,” he said. It was this attempt to argue that his desperate lobbying was all some kind of pro-bono charity work for the taxpayer that most seemed to rile MPs as an insult to their intelligence.

When he excused his embarrassing texts as being done “in the heat of responding to a crisis”, the crisis felt like Greensill’s desire for business rather than the need to get urgent help to struggling small firms. The now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t obfuscation was endless.

One minute he said the Greensill plan “would have been good for those businesses, but also good for us and I wouldn’t hide that for a second”. The next he said: “The motivation was about trying to help the government and get those schemes right.” Famously dubbed a “chameleon” politician, was karma catching up with him?

The attempts to portray himself as a saviour of small business, rather than his own business, kept on coming. At one point he even painted Greensill as NHS angels, saying a plan to enable staff to draw down their salary as they earned it (rather than having to wait to the end of the month) was an alternative to “the evils of payday lending”. The fact that some NHS staff are paid so little they would need cash advances seemed lost on him.

There were other awkward moments too, with his memory suddenly going hazy when asked about the German impact of Greensill, or the use of a private jet to get him to his third family home in Cornwall. He claimed he ended all texts with “love DC” yet strangely only his text to the top Treasury official had that sign-off. Most suspicious of all was he claim that his message about “rate cuts” was him being “a victim of spellcheck”. It was not about interest rate cuts (a very serious issue if he’d been told in advance) but VAT cuts. Honest.

On and on it went, the cake-and-eat-it exceptionalism. He said “prime ministers should only ever use letter or email” in future, but this particular ex-prime minister was allowed to text and phone because of the “exceptional” circumstances of last year. He didn’t want to merely “be on the board of some big bank and make the odd speech around the world”, he wanted “to get stuck in and help a business grow and expand”. That sounded like an admission that, yes, his own commercial interest really was what drove him.

What may irk Cameron’s critics most of all was just how similar his defence was on Greensill to his defence of his fateful decision to call a Brexit referendum. He has said a referendum was somehow “inevitable”, though most people believe it was an attempt at Tory party management that backfired spectacularly due to his sheer complacency (he even bragged to EU leaders privately in a summit he would walk it). 

A similar disingenuousness seemed to run through all his claims that he really was lobbying ministers on Greensill out of some kind of altruism, rather than a personal profit motive. Maybe, like many former PMs, he suffers from self-delusion. When asked how schoolchildren would remember his premiership, he said it was as someone who “has made our country a better place”.

Still, having trashed his own reputation so royally, which company will now dare risk him trashing theirs in future? It may well be that Cameron has to stick to charitable and other good works (he has done impressive work in dementia) from now on. Being seen as a gifter not a grifter is always a better look for a former premier. At least, that’s what a really good PR man would advise.

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Frances Buoy 2021-04-14
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Keir Starmer has said revelations about David Cameron’s lobbying of ministers on behalf Greensill Capital show the “return of Tory sleaze”.

Speaking during prime minister’s questions (PMQs) on Wednesday, the Labour leader told Johnson there was “an open door between his Conservative government and paid lobbyists”.

Johnson has rejected Labour’s demand that a parliamentary inquiry into links between Greensill and the government be set up.

MPs will vote later on Wednesday on the proposal, but without government support it is unlikely to pass.

Cameron has been revealed to have lobbied ministers on behalf of Greensill Capital, after he left office, in a failed attempt to secure the firm access to a government loan scheme.

The former PM is reported to have been in line to make millions of pounds as a result of owning shares in the company had his efforts been successful.

But Greensill filed for insolvency after being unable to secure support through the government’s Covid corporate financing facility. Its collapse threatens thousands of jobs in Liberty Steel.

The row deepened on Tuesday after it emerged that a former head of Whitehall procurement had become an adviser to Greensill while still working as a civil servant.

Bill Crothers began working for the firm as a part-time adviser to the board in September 2015 and did not leave his role as government chief commercial officer until November that year.

Starmer said: “The Greensill scandal is just the tip of the iceberg.

“Dodgy contracts, privileged access, jobs for their mates – this is the return of Tory sleaze.

“We know the prime minister will not act against sleaze, but this House can.”

During PMQs, Johnson admitted it was “not clear” from the accounts he had read of the Crothers case whether the “boundaries” between Whitehall and business had been “properly understood”.

He added he could not “remember” when he last spoke to “Dave” – as he called Cameron – but denied having had “any contact” with the former PM about Greensill. 

Johnson has launched an independent review of Cameron’s lobbying, but Labour has said it will be nothing more than a “Conservative Party appointee marking their own homework”.

City lawyer Nigel Boardman will lead the probe into links between the company and ministers, including personal approaches made by the former PM.

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Billy Clark 2017-10-10
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Ex-Prime Minister David Cameron takes on a new role, what challenges will he face this time?

Former Prime Minister David Cameron has bagged his first role post-Brexit, joining the board at US firm First Data.

First Data, a US electronic payments firm company, appointed Cameron earlier this week to increase the company’s presence around the world and expand the company in new and existing markets.

The US company, which claims to process $2.2tn worth of transactions per year, will employ Cameron as a consultant and brand ambassador’, on a part-time contract of three days a month.

As well as helping with developing the business across different regions, Cameron will join the international advisory board of First data and be charged with helping the chief executive and other figures with international advice and analysis.

Cameron has taken on previous roles, including chairman of the National Citizen Service Patrons, following the Brexit vote last year, which led him to stepping down as Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader.

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Ben Gallagher 2016-06-24
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View photosMoreWhile many curious nationals were eager to learn what Brexit meant for the country s future, others had more simple questions to ask.

Google has revealed the top UK questions typed into its search bar since the EU referendum results were officially announced on Friday morning.

was the second most popular answer sought in light of the Leave victory, proving many across the country weren t as clued up about the European Union as we may like to assume.

Inquisitive searchers also showed interest in learning more about the countries the UK is leaving behind in the EU, as well as the ramifications of the decision.

Meanwhile the top question posed by the UK to Google regarding David Cameron was Who will replace David Cameron?

People across the nation also demanded answers as to why Cameron called an EU referendum in the first place, as well as the reason behind his resignation and, weirdly, his age.

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Ramon Delo 2016-06-28
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European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and British Prime Minister David Cameron.

Britain's outgoing Prime Minister, David Cameron, according to a close relationship with the EU should continue and that the British Union for the best solution.

"Even if we leave the EU, we should not turn our backs on Europe," Cameron said upon arrival at the summit held in Brussels.

"I hope that we will find the closest in terms of the potential in terms of trade, cooperation and security, because it is good for us, and it is good for them."

EU leaders have viewed the EU and Britain: jatkopohdintoihin with respect to coolly: including German Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed upon arrival at the meeting, that it formally and informally until Britain has made a resignation pursuant to Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty to negotiate.

Brexit camp is hoped that a new agreement could be negotiated prior to the commencement of formal divorce impasse.

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Richard Lucarelli 2017-07-25
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On Ilicco Elia’s first day as Deloitte Digital’s new head of mobile in May at Deloitte’s New Street Square office in London, a sea of corporate suits greeted him.

Agencies have long defended the encroachment of management consultancies like Deloitte on their turf by reasserting that such corporate beasts can’t buy culture.

But for Elia, Deloitte’s $1.5 billion digital agency can combine the best of both worlds: buttoned-up corporate and casual creative.

After earning his degree in civil engineering from the University of Manchester in 1990, he headed straight to news giant Thomson Reuters, where he stayed for 22 years, most recently serving as global head of mobile of Reuters Media.

In 2010, his team at Reuters streamed interviews via Nokia N95 mobile handsets with the leaders of the coalition government, former Prime Minister David Cameron and former Liberal Democrats leader Nick Clegg, as well as former Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

“I remember David Cameron saying how amazing it was that all the interesting questions were coming from Twitter, not from the journalists in the room,” he said.

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James Manzo 2017-04-06
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Hundreds of black cabs blocked Whitehall, Westminster, in a protest against private hire app Uber on Thursday (7 March).

But unfortunately for the United Cabbies Group, LTDA and RMT Union, who organised the demonstration, MPs were not in the House of Commons because of the parliamentary recess.

The groups instead handed a letter to Number 10 demanding a parliamentary inquiry into taxi and private hire regulations as well as the relationship between David Cameron and Uber.

Jon Cruddas, the Labour MP for Dagenham and Rainham, has also raised concerns in a letter to Theresa May.

"The revelations published last week in the Mail, The Sun, and the Financial Times suggest that Number 10 under David Cameron acted as a full signed up lobbyist of Uber at the expense of a fair and effective regulatory framework for the industry," he said.

"I am certainly not opposed to disruptive technology and competition, but Uber's conduct in London and other cities around the world has raised serious issues in terms of fair competition, workers' rights, passenger safety and fair corporate taxation."

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Jeremy Green 2019-01-16
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David Cameron said he does not regret calling the EU referendum, the morning after a disastrous night for the prime minister which saw MPs monumentally reject her Brexit deal.

Filmed in his running gear on Wednesday, the former prime minister also said he wanted to “support” Theresa May following her crushing defeat in the Commons.

“I do not regret calling the referendum,” he told the BBC.

“It was a promise I made two years before the 2015 general election, it was included in a manifesto, it was legislated for in parliament.”

Cameron said he “deeply” regretted that the public chose to vote for Brexit.

“I was leading the campaign to stay in the European Union and obviously I regret the difficulties and problems we have been having in trying to implement the result of that referendum,” he said.

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Thomas Crain 2016-06-24
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In very loud voice she said, I wanna stay here sniff all ya gear cheer went up from waiting voters

— harryfre @HarryFremantle June 23, 2016

Just took 93yr old Mum to vote.

— Andy @ItsProbablyAndy June 23, 2016

Just took 93yr Mum to vote, she s registered blind.

KEITH IS A LIAR.

EUref pic.twitter.com/p0R1Ku2Y6P

— Baz @bazlyons June 23, 2016

Democracy s Best Friend

What Happened: Look, forget about the result of the Brexit vote for a second and remember happier times, when the most important part of it all was the dogs.

The real NRA apparently plans to get its legal team involved, probably for revealing just how untrustworthy most people find the NRA these days.

The Takeaway: In a week where civil rights hero and Georgia congressman John Lewis led a sit-in to push the conversation over gun control back up the agenda following the failure of no less than four gun control measures in the Senate, this hoax was well-timed.

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Ralph Knotts 2016-10-06
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Boris Johnson made a cheeky offer to replace Chris Evans as the

host of "Top Gear" after his Conservative party leadership bid

Business Insider hears that Johnson was consoled by a top BBC

executive after he ruled himself out of the race to replace

former prime minister David Cameron.

During the exchange, the bombastic Tory MP contemplated a change

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George Mitchell 2016-09-03
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Lionel Barber, the editor of the Financial Times, has criticised

the UK government's "incredibly inept" campaign to remain in the

Speaking at the FT Weekend Live Festival in London on

Saturday, Barber was succinct in his views on former Prime

Minister David Cameron and his colleagues' contribution to the

Project Fear, the Daily Mail was absolutely right," said

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Randy Rowald 2016-11-29
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Silva joined the Treasury after graduating from university and became a policy advisor to David Cameron and George Osborne

while they were in opposition.

Then he converted a former

carpet factory off Brick Lane into a futuristic office space

filled with 2,000 plants and a 1.5 tonne U-shaped table that can

rise and fall as needed.

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rayhan jamil 2018-10-13
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Mirza Fakhrul to decorum, keeping up to speak, urged the road transport and stunt and Awami League General Secretary David Cameron, who else.

On Saturday (October 13) at noon in the center of the bridge construction work, inspection period, he at urged.

Visited, the reporters, David Cameron who said, ‘the 21 August grenade attack, the defendants, like the Feb 25 plan murderers to escape, helped the BNP is a part.’

Plan in the event of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia's involvement has claimed the stunt, said, ‘Khaleda Zia on February 25 morning at 7 am, almost 24 hours, was missing.’

Dak. Zafrullah Chowdhury, BNP is people referring to Awami League general secretary said, ‘so the army chief about the controversial comments officially withdraw, if not the BNP, the difficult situation will be face to face.’

Road private said, ‘BNP terrorist team. Them any policy ethics there is. They now, Hulk has become.’

Dr. Plans and marriage. LEGO The objective that, who else said, ‘and who, Bangladesh politics, policies, ideals, said they are now joined murderer with terrorists.’

While visiting with her, attended - district administration and district police, senior officials.

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Raymond Maxwell 2021-05-27
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Rishi Sunak has said he did not know David Cameron “very well at all” when the former prime minister texted him to controversially lobby on behalf of Greensill Capital.

Cameron’s intensive lobbying of ministers and officials was laid bare earlier this month as MPs seek to understand the role the ex-PM played in securing Whitehall access for the company.

Greensill is now being investigated by the Financial Conduct Authority, which received allegations relating to the firm’s collapse that were “potentially criminal in nature”.

The firm’s demise has rendered Cameron’s reported tens of millions of share options worthless, and there has been criticism of how a former prime minister was able to exploit his personal contacts with ex-colleagues and officials in the pursuit of commercial gain.

Sunak and the Treasury were at the centre of Cameron’s lobbying efforts.

IN DEPTH David Cameron’s Most Cringeworthy Greensill Lobbying Texts Laid Bare

The PM texted Sunak last April after being rebuffed by Treasury officials as he tried to gain access for Greensill to the government’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF).

After being told “no”, Cameron told Treasury permanent secretary Tom Scholar on April 3 that the refusal was “bonkers” and that he was now going to call “[the chancellor], [Michael] Gove, everyone”.

Just eight minutes later, Cameron texted Sunak: “Rishi, David Cameron here. Can I have a quick word at some point?”, before going on to explain Greensill’s request.

Several messages and phone calls between the pair followed.

But Sunak suggested that if Cameron was trying to exploit personal contacts, the pair had not actually spoken since summer 2016 or before.

“I don’t know David Cameron very well at all and I don’t think I’ve spoken to him since I was a backbench MP and he was prime minister,” Sunak told the Commons Treasury committee.

“It was a surprise to receive the message.” 

Sunak giving evidence to the Commons Treasury committee

Following a barrage of texts, calls, messages and emails across the government, Cameron’s lobbying efforts ultimately failed.

Sunak insisted that he would not have done anything differently in his approach to Greensill and that Cameron’s role was not important to how much time officials in the Treasury spent on the firm’s request.

“I looked at the issue on the merits of it, so the identity of the person talking about it was not relevant to the amount of attention and proper due diligence that the issue got and required,” Sunak said.

“This was one of many strands of work, and in fact probably the one we spent the least time on during this period.”

Earlier this month, Cameron stressed that he was unaware of any financial difficulty at Greensill until December 2020, when he was told that an attempt to raise funds had not gone as well as hoped.

According to founder Lex Greensill, the rug was finally pulled out from underneath the company when its biggest insurer, Tokio Marine, refused to renew its policies with Greensill.

Treasury official Charles Roxburgh said on Thursday that the firm’s collapse would directly cost around £8m to the taxpayer, including taxes that Greensill owed.

But he did not accept the cost of up to £5bn that former City minister Lord Myners estimated the taxpayer could indirectly be on the hook for.

Greensill provided so-called supply chain finance to businesses, which meant the firm would pay a company’s invoice immediately after it was sent, therefore cutting out the usual delay which can restrict companies’ cash flows.

Top lawyer Nigel Boardman has been tasked by prime minister Boris Johnson to look into the Greensill scandal.

Theodore Davis 2021-05-13
img

You’re reading The Waugh Zone, our daily politics briefing. Sign up now to get it by email in the evening.

“Make no mistake, this is a painful day, coming back to a place that I love and respect so much, albeit virtually, but in these circumstances.” David Cameron’s very first words to the Treasury select committee neatly previewed everything else that was to come: self-preservation masquerading as atonement, special pleading with a hint of humblebrag, all wrapped up in smoothly worded obfuscation.

The former PM wasn’t “back” anywhere, other than his own back room, but in his mind’s eye he was back in parliament. Somehow the phrase “remote working” seemed very apt, given how distant he seemed from the details of the collapsed finance firm Greensill, and from the lives of the many who suffered in the first wave of the Covid pandemic.

For it was during the height of the pandemic that Cameron devoted his energies not to helping the government tackle the virus, but to relentlessly lobbying ministers and Treasury officials on behalf of his company. As the deaths soared into their thousands last April, he made 19 calls, texts and emails in a single day: to the Chancellor, Economic Secretary, a No 10 spad, the Deputy Governor of Bank of England, Michael Gove and Treasury perm sec Tom Scholar.

Overall there were 56 different contacts. That’s a lot of words about him and his company. And there were lots more words about both during his two sessions before MPs on Thursday.  First we had a flannel-packed 144 minutes with the Treasury committee, then a further 77 minutes of verbal blancmange before the Public Accounts Committee.

Cameron started his working life as the director of corporate affairs for a long-dead TV company. So the wheel had come full circle and here he was appearing as a PR man for a long-defunct premier called David Cameron. The problem was that he proceeded to further tarnish his own reputation almost as much as Greensill had itself. Lacking any brutally honest self-assessment of his own, he left it to MPs to describe him as “a con artist” and “stalker” who “demeaned” his former office.

In line with plenty of corporate media experts who prep witnesses for parliament, he knew that he had to have a form of early apology. “I am extremely sorry and sad that it has come to this end,” he said. But he felt the need to still defend Brand Cameron. When he said that because Greensill had collapsed “doesn’t mean the whole thing was necessarily a giant fraud”, it felt like a plea for his own political tenure.

Pressed repeatedly on exactly how much he was paid by Greensill, Cameron was coy. He refused to say if his salary was higher or lower than £1m a year (a refusal that suggests it was higher), saying only it was a “generous, big salary that you might earn as someone in my position at a bank or what have you.” 

Yet he was at pains to suggest how little this was, saying if he’d worked at “a large bank, as some of my predecessors have done, perhaps it would have been even more”. There was even a hint of a complaint that he was not well paid in No.10, saying his Greensill income was “far more than what I earned as prime minister” (itself a pitiful £142,000 a year).

Of course the reason MPs wanted to know how much he got paid was precisely to discover just how motivated he was by a cash incentive when he lobbied government. In an attempt at apparent candour that hid more than it revealed, he admitted he had “a serious economic interest” but then said his actual salary and shares weren’t “particularly germane” because his real motivation was public service.

And that was perhaps the spin too far. “I have spent most of my adult life in public service. I believe in it deeply. I would never put forward something that I didn’t believe was absolutely in the interests of the public good,” he said. It was this attempt to argue that his desperate lobbying was all some kind of pro-bono charity work for the taxpayer that most seemed to rile MPs as an insult to their intelligence.

When he excused his embarrassing texts as being done “in the heat of responding to a crisis”, the crisis felt like Greensill’s desire for business rather than the need to get urgent help to struggling small firms. The now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t obfuscation was endless.

One minute he said the Greensill plan “would have been good for those businesses, but also good for us and I wouldn’t hide that for a second”. The next he said: “The motivation was about trying to help the government and get those schemes right.” Famously dubbed a “chameleon” politician, was karma catching up with him?

The attempts to portray himself as a saviour of small business, rather than his own business, kept on coming. At one point he even painted Greensill as NHS angels, saying a plan to enable staff to draw down their salary as they earned it (rather than having to wait to the end of the month) was an alternative to “the evils of payday lending”. The fact that some NHS staff are paid so little they would need cash advances seemed lost on him.

There were other awkward moments too, with his memory suddenly going hazy when asked about the German impact of Greensill, or the use of a private jet to get him to his third family home in Cornwall. He claimed he ended all texts with “love DC” yet strangely only his text to the top Treasury official had that sign-off. Most suspicious of all was he claim that his message about “rate cuts” was him being “a victim of spellcheck”. It was not about interest rate cuts (a very serious issue if he’d been told in advance) but VAT cuts. Honest.

On and on it went, the cake-and-eat-it exceptionalism. He said “prime ministers should only ever use letter or email” in future, but this particular ex-prime minister was allowed to text and phone because of the “exceptional” circumstances of last year. He didn’t want to merely “be on the board of some big bank and make the odd speech around the world”, he wanted “to get stuck in and help a business grow and expand”. That sounded like an admission that, yes, his own commercial interest really was what drove him.

What may irk Cameron’s critics most of all was just how similar his defence was on Greensill to his defence of his fateful decision to call a Brexit referendum. He has said a referendum was somehow “inevitable”, though most people believe it was an attempt at Tory party management that backfired spectacularly due to his sheer complacency (he even bragged to EU leaders privately in a summit he would walk it). 

A similar disingenuousness seemed to run through all his claims that he really was lobbying ministers on Greensill out of some kind of altruism, rather than a personal profit motive. Maybe, like many former PMs, he suffers from self-delusion. When asked how schoolchildren would remember his premiership, he said it was as someone who “has made our country a better place”.

Still, having trashed his own reputation so royally, which company will now dare risk him trashing theirs in future? It may well be that Cameron has to stick to charitable and other good works (he has done impressive work in dementia) from now on. Being seen as a gifter not a grifter is always a better look for a former premier. At least, that’s what a really good PR man would advise.

Billy Clark 2017-10-10
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Ex-Prime Minister David Cameron takes on a new role, what challenges will he face this time?

Former Prime Minister David Cameron has bagged his first role post-Brexit, joining the board at US firm First Data.

First Data, a US electronic payments firm company, appointed Cameron earlier this week to increase the company’s presence around the world and expand the company in new and existing markets.

The US company, which claims to process $2.2tn worth of transactions per year, will employ Cameron as a consultant and brand ambassador’, on a part-time contract of three days a month.

As well as helping with developing the business across different regions, Cameron will join the international advisory board of First data and be charged with helping the chief executive and other figures with international advice and analysis.

Cameron has taken on previous roles, including chairman of the National Citizen Service Patrons, following the Brexit vote last year, which led him to stepping down as Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader.

Ramon Delo 2016-06-28
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European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and British Prime Minister David Cameron.

Britain's outgoing Prime Minister, David Cameron, according to a close relationship with the EU should continue and that the British Union for the best solution.

"Even if we leave the EU, we should not turn our backs on Europe," Cameron said upon arrival at the summit held in Brussels.

"I hope that we will find the closest in terms of the potential in terms of trade, cooperation and security, because it is good for us, and it is good for them."

EU leaders have viewed the EU and Britain: jatkopohdintoihin with respect to coolly: including German Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed upon arrival at the meeting, that it formally and informally until Britain has made a resignation pursuant to Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty to negotiate.

Brexit camp is hoped that a new agreement could be negotiated prior to the commencement of formal divorce impasse.

James Manzo 2017-04-06
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Hundreds of black cabs blocked Whitehall, Westminster, in a protest against private hire app Uber on Thursday (7 March).

But unfortunately for the United Cabbies Group, LTDA and RMT Union, who organised the demonstration, MPs were not in the House of Commons because of the parliamentary recess.

The groups instead handed a letter to Number 10 demanding a parliamentary inquiry into taxi and private hire regulations as well as the relationship between David Cameron and Uber.

Jon Cruddas, the Labour MP for Dagenham and Rainham, has also raised concerns in a letter to Theresa May.

"The revelations published last week in the Mail, The Sun, and the Financial Times suggest that Number 10 under David Cameron acted as a full signed up lobbyist of Uber at the expense of a fair and effective regulatory framework for the industry," he said.

"I am certainly not opposed to disruptive technology and competition, but Uber's conduct in London and other cities around the world has raised serious issues in terms of fair competition, workers' rights, passenger safety and fair corporate taxation."

Ralph Knotts 2016-10-06
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Boris Johnson made a cheeky offer to replace Chris Evans as the

host of "Top Gear" after his Conservative party leadership bid

Business Insider hears that Johnson was consoled by a top BBC

executive after he ruled himself out of the race to replace

former prime minister David Cameron.

During the exchange, the bombastic Tory MP contemplated a change

Randy Rowald 2016-11-29
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Silva joined the Treasury after graduating from university and became a policy advisor to David Cameron and George Osborne

while they were in opposition.

Then he converted a former

carpet factory off Brick Lane into a futuristic office space

filled with 2,000 plants and a 1.5 tonne U-shaped table that can

rise and fall as needed.

Brendon Dwelle 2021-04-08
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David Cameron’s lobbying of government has drawn fresh criticism after it emerged Rishi Sunak “pushed” officials to explore an alternative plan that could have helped a firm the ex-PM was working for.

Labour, the Lib Dems and the SNP have seized on text messages sent by the chancellor to Cameron that they say expose “Tory cronyism” and raise questions over Sunak breaking the ministerial code.

The two texts, released on Thursday following a Freedom of Information request, relate to the ex-Tory leader’s efforts to secure rescue funding for finance company Greensill Capital.

The firm, which Cameron had been working for since 2018, filed for insolvency after failing to secure support through the government’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF).

Greensill Capital’s demise rendered Cameron’s reported tens of millions of share options worthless.

The first message from Sunak to Cameron, sent on April 3 2020, read: “Hi David, thanks for your message. I am stuck back to back on calls but will try you later this evening and if gets too late, first thing tomorrow. Best, Rishi.”

The second message from Sunak sent on April 23 said: “Hi David, apologies for the delay. I think the proposals in the end did require a change to the market notice but I have pushed the team to explore an alternative with the Bank that might work.

“No guarantees, but the Bank are currently looking at it and Charles should be in touch. Best, Rishi.”

The “Charles” refers to Charles Roxburgh, the second most senior civil servant at the Treasury.

But texts from the former prime minister sent to the chancellor were not published as his status as an employee of Greensill Capital meant he had “an expectation of confidence”, it was claimed. 

The Treasury response to the FOI request said: “We are withholding the communications sent by David Cameron to the chancellor. These communications were made by David Cameron in his capacity as an employee of Greensill, and with an expectation of confidence.”

Sunak also confirmed Cameron lobbied three ministers, including himself, over the matter of Greensill Capital’s access to the Covid support scheme.

In a letter sent to shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds on Thursday, Sunak wrote: “I can confirm that David Cameron reached out informally by telephone to me, and to the economic secretary and the financial secretary, on the matter of Greensill Capital’s access to the CCFF.

“The matter was referred to the relevant officials and, following appropriate consultations as outlined in the previous requests, the request was turned down.

“During this process, this was communicated to Greensill Capital by officials and, in parallel, by me to David Cameron.”

Following the release, Labour’s Dodds said: “These messages raise very serious questions about whether the chancellor may have broken the ministerial code. They suggest that Greensill Capital got accelerated treatment and access to officials, and that the Chancellor ‘pushed’ officials to consider Greensill’s requests.

“The chancellor’s decision to open the door to Greensill Capital has put public money at risk. There must be a full, transparent and thorough investigation into the chain of events that saw Greensill awarded lucrative contracts, the freedom of Whitehall and the right to lend millions of pounds of government-backed Covid loans.”

The SNP’s cabinet office spokesperson Stewart Hosie said: “Boris Johnson’s Tory government is stumbling from one scandal to the next. The latest developments around Greensill Capital and access to government departments granted to firms with close links to the Tory party has only raised further questions.

“Tory ministers and former prime ministers casually texting each other over government access utterly reeks.

“When MPs return from recess, Rishi Sunak must come before parliament and set the record straight over his full exchange with David Cameron and what the outcome of those messages were.”

A Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson said: “There are now serious questions that the Chancellor must answer about the nature of these conversations. Yet again, the stench of cronyism emanates from this government.

“We need full transparency on exactly what the chancellor did and what David Cameron’s involvement was in persuading him.”

Frances Buoy 2021-04-14
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Keir Starmer has said revelations about David Cameron’s lobbying of ministers on behalf Greensill Capital show the “return of Tory sleaze”.

Speaking during prime minister’s questions (PMQs) on Wednesday, the Labour leader told Johnson there was “an open door between his Conservative government and paid lobbyists”.

Johnson has rejected Labour’s demand that a parliamentary inquiry into links between Greensill and the government be set up.

MPs will vote later on Wednesday on the proposal, but without government support it is unlikely to pass.

Cameron has been revealed to have lobbied ministers on behalf of Greensill Capital, after he left office, in a failed attempt to secure the firm access to a government loan scheme.

The former PM is reported to have been in line to make millions of pounds as a result of owning shares in the company had his efforts been successful.

But Greensill filed for insolvency after being unable to secure support through the government’s Covid corporate financing facility. Its collapse threatens thousands of jobs in Liberty Steel.

The row deepened on Tuesday after it emerged that a former head of Whitehall procurement had become an adviser to Greensill while still working as a civil servant.

Bill Crothers began working for the firm as a part-time adviser to the board in September 2015 and did not leave his role as government chief commercial officer until November that year.

Starmer said: “The Greensill scandal is just the tip of the iceberg.

“Dodgy contracts, privileged access, jobs for their mates – this is the return of Tory sleaze.

“We know the prime minister will not act against sleaze, but this House can.”

During PMQs, Johnson admitted it was “not clear” from the accounts he had read of the Crothers case whether the “boundaries” between Whitehall and business had been “properly understood”.

He added he could not “remember” when he last spoke to “Dave” – as he called Cameron – but denied having had “any contact” with the former PM about Greensill. 

Johnson has launched an independent review of Cameron’s lobbying, but Labour has said it will be nothing more than a “Conservative Party appointee marking their own homework”.

City lawyer Nigel Boardman will lead the probe into links between the company and ministers, including personal approaches made by the former PM.

Ben Gallagher 2016-06-24
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View photosMoreWhile many curious nationals were eager to learn what Brexit meant for the country s future, others had more simple questions to ask.

Google has revealed the top UK questions typed into its search bar since the EU referendum results were officially announced on Friday morning.

was the second most popular answer sought in light of the Leave victory, proving many across the country weren t as clued up about the European Union as we may like to assume.

Inquisitive searchers also showed interest in learning more about the countries the UK is leaving behind in the EU, as well as the ramifications of the decision.

Meanwhile the top question posed by the UK to Google regarding David Cameron was Who will replace David Cameron?

People across the nation also demanded answers as to why Cameron called an EU referendum in the first place, as well as the reason behind his resignation and, weirdly, his age.

Richard Lucarelli 2017-07-25
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On Ilicco Elia’s first day as Deloitte Digital’s new head of mobile in May at Deloitte’s New Street Square office in London, a sea of corporate suits greeted him.

Agencies have long defended the encroachment of management consultancies like Deloitte on their turf by reasserting that such corporate beasts can’t buy culture.

But for Elia, Deloitte’s $1.5 billion digital agency can combine the best of both worlds: buttoned-up corporate and casual creative.

After earning his degree in civil engineering from the University of Manchester in 1990, he headed straight to news giant Thomson Reuters, where he stayed for 22 years, most recently serving as global head of mobile of Reuters Media.

In 2010, his team at Reuters streamed interviews via Nokia N95 mobile handsets with the leaders of the coalition government, former Prime Minister David Cameron and former Liberal Democrats leader Nick Clegg, as well as former Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

“I remember David Cameron saying how amazing it was that all the interesting questions were coming from Twitter, not from the journalists in the room,” he said.

Jeremy Green 2019-01-16
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David Cameron said he does not regret calling the EU referendum, the morning after a disastrous night for the prime minister which saw MPs monumentally reject her Brexit deal.

Filmed in his running gear on Wednesday, the former prime minister also said he wanted to “support” Theresa May following her crushing defeat in the Commons.

“I do not regret calling the referendum,” he told the BBC.

“It was a promise I made two years before the 2015 general election, it was included in a manifesto, it was legislated for in parliament.”

Cameron said he “deeply” regretted that the public chose to vote for Brexit.

“I was leading the campaign to stay in the European Union and obviously I regret the difficulties and problems we have been having in trying to implement the result of that referendum,” he said.

Thomas Crain 2016-06-24
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In very loud voice she said, I wanna stay here sniff all ya gear cheer went up from waiting voters

— harryfre @HarryFremantle June 23, 2016

Just took 93yr old Mum to vote.

— Andy @ItsProbablyAndy June 23, 2016

Just took 93yr Mum to vote, she s registered blind.

KEITH IS A LIAR.

EUref pic.twitter.com/p0R1Ku2Y6P

— Baz @bazlyons June 23, 2016

Democracy s Best Friend

What Happened: Look, forget about the result of the Brexit vote for a second and remember happier times, when the most important part of it all was the dogs.

The real NRA apparently plans to get its legal team involved, probably for revealing just how untrustworthy most people find the NRA these days.

The Takeaway: In a week where civil rights hero and Georgia congressman John Lewis led a sit-in to push the conversation over gun control back up the agenda following the failure of no less than four gun control measures in the Senate, this hoax was well-timed.

George Mitchell 2016-09-03
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Lionel Barber, the editor of the Financial Times, has criticised

the UK government's "incredibly inept" campaign to remain in the

Speaking at the FT Weekend Live Festival in London on

Saturday, Barber was succinct in his views on former Prime

Minister David Cameron and his colleagues' contribution to the

Project Fear, the Daily Mail was absolutely right," said

rayhan jamil 2018-10-13
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Mirza Fakhrul to decorum, keeping up to speak, urged the road transport and stunt and Awami League General Secretary David Cameron, who else.

On Saturday (October 13) at noon in the center of the bridge construction work, inspection period, he at urged.

Visited, the reporters, David Cameron who said, ‘the 21 August grenade attack, the defendants, like the Feb 25 plan murderers to escape, helped the BNP is a part.’

Plan in the event of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia's involvement has claimed the stunt, said, ‘Khaleda Zia on February 25 morning at 7 am, almost 24 hours, was missing.’

Dak. Zafrullah Chowdhury, BNP is people referring to Awami League general secretary said, ‘so the army chief about the controversial comments officially withdraw, if not the BNP, the difficult situation will be face to face.’

Road private said, ‘BNP terrorist team. Them any policy ethics there is. They now, Hulk has become.’

Dr. Plans and marriage. LEGO The objective that, who else said, ‘and who, Bangladesh politics, policies, ideals, said they are now joined murderer with terrorists.’

While visiting with her, attended - district administration and district police, senior officials.