In Depth

What is David Cameron doing now?

The former prime minister could be set to receive a multi-million-pound windfall

Former prime minister David Cameron is set to receive a huge payout as a billion-pound company he advises considers a stock market listing.

This won’t be the first massive windfall Cameron has received since leaving office five years ago - earlier this month, BBC Panorama reported the one-time prime minister made about £7m from Greensill Capital before the company collapsed. 

Now Cameron could make millions if US tech company Afiniti goes public on the US stock exchange. He is said to hold “a small stake in the firm, although the exact amount has not been publicly disclosed”, according to the Daily Mail

The paper notes that the company has previously been valued at £1.1billion, meaning that “even a 1 per cent stake would be worth £11million”. 

Cameron was appointed to the board of Afiniti two yeards ago, making him responsible for “curating and overseeing the strategic guidance” from advisers to its top executives, according to The Times. It is  “unclear how much time” he spends on the role, said the paper. 

The company, which is based in Bermuda, has an impressive staff list, with Princess Beatrice the company’s vice president of partnerships and strategy and former England rugby player Will Greenwood is its chief customer officer in the UK.

Since stepping away from politics in 2016, Cameron’s business career has been a lucrative one, but he has “shied away from the limelight” after becoming embroiled in a lobbying row involving now collapsed finance company Greensill Capital, said The Guardian

He worked as a part-time senior adviser for the company before its collapse. In March, it emerged that he lobbied several government ministers, including the chancellor Rishi Sunak, using personal text messages and emails in a bid to secure Greensill access to a loan scheme called the Covid Corporate Financing Facility. 

The firm was rejected for the scheme but was allowed to issue loans under a different programme called the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

In May, the Treasury Select Committee of MPs cleared Cameron of breaking any lobbying laws but said he showed a “significant lack of judgement”, in lobbying the government on behalf of the company.

In August, documents obtained by BBC Panorama suggested Cameron could have made as much as £7m from Greensill Captial before it went into administration in March - although his spokesperson denied he received anything near the reported figure.

Here are some of the other key things that have happened to Cameron since he resigned as PM in 2016:

Cameron’s bodyguard suspended

In February 2020, the former prime minister’s bodyguard was been suspended after leaving a loaded gun in a toilet on a flight from New York to London. A “terrified passenger” found the 9mm Glock 17 pistol - along with passports belonging to Cameron and the Metropolitan Police close-protection officer - in the loo of the BA plane, according to the Daily Mail.

The memoirs

The former PM’s memoirs, For the Record, was published by William Collins in September, despite previous reports that he wanted to hold off until after Brexit so as not to “rock the boat” during negotiations.

Cameron - who reportedly bought a £25,000 shepherd’s hut to use as a writing room - promised before the book’s release that he would be “very honest” about his Leave-supporting former colleagues Michael Gove and Boris Johnson, as The Sunday Times reported.

But he refuses “to own up to his cowardice in calling the EU referendum in this long and defensive memoir”, according to Andrew Rawnsley in a review in The Guardian“There are lengthy tracts of self-justification as he relitigates every controversy of his career before almost invariably coming to the conclusion: ‘I was right.’”

Other ventures

Cameron has also been involved in overseeing the expansion of the National Citizen Service (NCS), the skills programme for teenagers that he set up while in power.

The scheme is open to young people aged between 15 and 17 and involves outdoor activity trips, during which participants learn life skills and help organise social action projects.

Cameron has also been attached to the same public speaking agency that secured former chancellor George Osborne earnings of more than £500,000 in just two months.

Cameron’s profile on the Washington Speakers Bureau website introduces him as “one of the most prominent global influencers of the early 21st century” and says he offers lessons in leadership at an “extraordinary and turbulent time” in global affairs.

Accounts released last week suggest Cameron made more than £800,000 last year from speaking and media appearances, the Daily Mail reports.

The former Tory party leader is also on the board of several organisations, including the UK-China Fund, which he has vice-chaired since December 2017.

The investment firm seeks to exploit opportunities for Chinese-British cooperation in technology, healthcare, energy and manufacturing, but the parliamentary watchdog has prohibited Cameron from lobbying ministers without the direct consent of the UK government.

The Guardian reported last year that Cameron’s efforts to raise $1bn for the fund had not been successful, and that he was “struggling to attract investors”.

A return to politics?

Reports last November suggested Cameron was mooting the idea of taking up a senior cabinet post in the future.

He told friends that he was “bored shitless” at home, and quite fancied being foreign secretary in the next government, according to The Sun’s Tom Newton Dunn.

There are precedents for former PMs going on to serve in other cabinet roles, “most notably Alec Douglas-Home who was Foreign Secretary under Edward Heath following his brief spell in No. 10”, says the Daily Mirror.

Yet he turned down an offer from Boris Johnson to lead an international climate change conference in Glasgow this November, according to reports.

According to Cameron’s former climate change minister Greg Barker, who was speaking on Newsnight: “My understanding is that he felt it was just a little too soon for him personally to come back into a front-line political role.”

Samantha Cameron

In January 2017, Samantha Cameron unveiled a new clothing line in Vogue magazine. Cefinn – named after the initials of the couple’s four children – went on sale later that year.

But the label came under fire last November after seeking unpaid interns in a move that risked breaching minimum wage rules.

“There are some people who don’t shop with us because of who my husband is,” the former first lady told the Women Mean Business Live conference in the same month, as The Telegraph reported.

Cefinn lost £913,055 in the year to October 2018, according to Companies House accounts.

Before moving into No. 10, Samantha Cameron worked at the luxury goods label Smythson and was named Glamour’s Accessories Designer of the Year in 2009.

Since then, she has served as an ambassador for the British Fashion Council and reportedly did a dressmaker’s course while living in Downing Street, before deciding to develop her own line when her husband left office.

In 2018, she told The Times that she “really didn’t enjoy” her time in No. 10 beyond the opportunity to meet “some amazing people”.

How will David Cameron be remembered?

Cameron took leave of Parliament “just as it starts to matter again”, said Philip Johnston in The Telegraph at the time. “The political obituary writers called the referendum Cameron’s disastrous legacy; yet it may well turn out to mark the renaissance of the very institution on which he has disdainfully now turned his back.”

Former Labour PM Gordon Brown is among those who blame Cameron for Brexit, saying his government was “lazy” and thought they would win the 2016 referendum “without a fight”, reports The Scotsman.

Even close ally Osborne has blamed Cameron for stoking Eurosceptic fears ahead of the EU referendum, claiming the country “paid the price” of saying “Brussels was to blame”.

Osborne said that he felt “responsible” for Brexit as former chancellor, and that the referendum “should never have [been] held”, according to The Independent.

“I totally understand that there will be some people I will never convince, who will say you should never have had [the Brexit vote],” Cameron told The Guardian in September. “But I think there are a lot of people who can also see that there was a growing inevitability... Britain’s position [in the EU] was becoming more tenuous, and we had to fix it.”

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