UK opens investigation into lobbying under former PM David Cameron

Britain’s government announced Monday that it has opened an independent investigation into lobbying, following former Prime Minister David Cameron’s lobbying activities on behalf of UK- and Australia-based financial services company Greensill Capital. The investigation into the development and use of supply chain finance addresses the concern about the ability of former prime ministers to access government decision makers.

Cameron was Britain’s prime minister from 2010 to 2016. During this time, the founder of Greensill Capital, Lex Greensill, was brought in as a government advisor. Following Cameron’s leave of office in 2016, Cameron became an advisor to Greensill Capital.

Cameron reportedly contacted ministers at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic to ask for access to the government’s COVID-19 loan schemes. Cameron lobbied several government officials, including the Treasury chief and the Health Security, on behalf of Greensill. Greensill reportedly wanted to have a loan scheme changed or expanded so that the company could access cheap loans.

Greensill issued a statement Sunday denying any wrongdoing, writing:

While I understand the concern about the ability of former ministers—and especially prime ministers—to access government decision makers and the sense, and reality, of ease of access and familiarity, I thought it was right for me to make representations on behalf of a company involved in financing a large number of UK firms. This was at a time of crisis for the UK economy, where everyone was looking for efficient ways to get money to businesses.

Current Prime Minister Boris Johnson commissioned an independent investigation “to establish the development and use of supply chain finance and associated activities in government,” as well as to review the role of Greensill in those activities. Former mergers and acquisitions advisor Nigel Boardman will lead the investigation. Boardman will be given access to all needed government information and will report his findings by the end of June 2021.