Behind the scenes

‘Love Dc’: lobbying texts from David Cameron revealed

Parliamentary committee publishes ‘treasure trove of private messages’

The scale of David Cameron’s lobbying on behalf of Greensill Capital has been laid bare by the publication of his messages to government ministers.

The cross-party Treasury Committee has released 28 pages of emails, texts and Whatsapp messages as part of the investigation into the former prime minister’s role in trying to access government funding for the now collapsed financial firm.

Cameron worked for Greensill as a senior adviser and owned a 1% stake in the firm, which was “at one point hoping to float at a $7bn (£5bn) valuation”, reports The Guardian - a goal that would have turned the Tory party’s ex-leader into a multimillionaire.

The newly published “treasure trove of private messages” exposes Cameron’s “relentless lobbying” to high-profile figures including Chancellor Rishi Sunak between 5 March and 26 June 2020 as he fought to secure financial support for the then floundering bank, says the Financial Times.

In a message sent to Sir Tom Scholar, the permanent secretary of the Treasury, as the Covid pandemic triggered rapid declines on financial markets, Cameron wrote: “I am riding to the rescue with supply chain finance with my new friend Lex Greensill.”

In another to Scholar, he signed off: “Can I give you lunch once the budget is done? Love Dc.”

Cameron later promised the top civil servant that he would “stop annoying” him, but said he was “genuinely baffled” that Greensill had been refused access to money by the Treasury and that it “seems bonkers”.

“The flurry of messages over three months saw the former prime minister lay on the flattery as he sought - unsuccessfully - to change the rules around Covid debt schemes to the benefit of his client Greensill Capital,” says the FT.

Cameron told Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi that he had been “v solid on the media”. And in a message to Cabinet Minister Michael Gove, the former Conservative leader wrote: “I know you are manically busy - and doing a great job, by the way (this is bloody hard and I think the team is coping extremely well). But do you have a moment for a word? I am on this number and v free.”

The Daily Mail notes that the publication yesterday of the “toe-curling barrage of messages” came two days before Cameron is due to face a public grilling from the Treasury Committee.

The former PM has denied breaking any lobbying rules but admits that he should have used more formal avenues to approach ministers. And Cameron is expected to face “hugely uncomfortable questions” about those communications as he is “put under the spotlight” tomorrow, says Jim Dunton at Civil Service World.

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