Here Are All the Inquiries David Cameron Will Have To Answer To Over Greensill Lobbying Scandal
David Cameron may face a number of Commons inquiries into his lobbying on behalf of Greensill Capital (Alamy)
David Cameron has indicated he will be happy to face MPs to explain his actions surrounding Greensill Capital, but the former Prime Minister now faces multiple inquiries as the scandal widens.
Labour’s bid to establish a new select committee to investigate the wider lobbying issues failed yesterday, but since then it has emerged several other Parliamentary investigations may take place.
That is on top of the independent review set up by Boris Johnson, who said the lawyer Nigel Boardman will be given "carte blanche to ask anybody whatever he needs" when he looks at the role of Australian financier Lex Greensill and his now-collapsed supply chain finance firm within government.
Cameron was cleared by the lobbying watchdog last month on a technicality, and finally broke his silence on the matter with a lengthy statement on Sunday.
But his attempt to draw a line under the matter has failed, as the interest in the revolving door between high office, Whitehall and the private sector has spiralled this week.
A spokesperson for the former-PM said last night Cameron would “respond positively” to requests to give evidence to MPs about Greensill, and he is now likely to receive a number of invitations.
“While he was an adviser to the business and not a board director, he is keen to ensure that the lessons from it going into administration are learnt,” the spokesperson added.
The Commons inquires begin with the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (PACAC) this morning, which is hearing evidence from Lord Pickles, chairman of watchdog the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (Acoba).
It was Pickles who revealed earlier this week the government’s former chief commercial officer Bill Crothers worked as a part-time adviser at Greensill for three months while he was still working in the civil service.
The PACAC chairman William Wragg, who called Cameron’s lobbying efforts a “tasteless, slapdash and unbecoming episode, has suggested a wider investigation could be launched.
He told the Commons yesterday his committee intends to grill the Cabinet Secretary Simon Case within the next fortnight, adding: “I ask the House to be assured that we will pursue every possible line of inquiry with our witnesses and shall conduct ourselves without fear or favour.”
Last night the powerful Treasury select committee also agreed to launch an inquiry into “the lessons from Greensill Capital”, having previously declined to do so.
Led by former Cabinet minister Mel Stride, it will “focus on the regulatory lessons from the failure of Greensill Capital”, and the “appropriateness of HM Treasury’s response to lobbying” by the firm.
Stride said: “The Treasury Committee had previously decided to carefully consider these issues as part of its regular and upcoming evidence sessions with HM Treasury and its associated bodies, including the Financial Conduct Authority and Bank of England.
“In addition to this, we have now decided to take a closer look by launching an inquiry to investigate the issues that fall within our remit. We will publish further details when we launch the inquiry officially next week.”
The Public Accounts Committee is also due to hold evidence sessions on the matter, the first taking place next week with Sir Tom Scholar, the Permanent Secretary at Treasury, and Charles Roxburgh, the Second Permanent Secretary.
They will have to answer MPs on why Greensill was granted multiple meetings with them, the department’s two most senior civil servants, over the company’s unsuccessful bid to access a government pandemic fund for struggling businesses last year.
As well as those the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy committee is likely to also launch a probe as the schemes Greensill was applying to were administered by the British Business Bank, which the business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng confirmed came under his jurisdiction.
Chris Bryant, the Labour MP who chairs the standards committee, said earlier this week he believed there should be a “full inquiry into lobbying”, and a joint investigation in both the Lords and the Commons could look at all aspects of lobbying.
The powerful Committee on Standards in Public Life has also indicated it will consider submissions as it looks into the wider culture of lobbying and the actions of public figures – though it does not have the remit to investigate individuals.
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