United Kingdom officially launches probe into ex-PM Cameron's lobbying

Cameron brought in Australian banker Lex Greensill as a government adviser when he was PM

Cameron brought in Australian banker Lex Greensill as a government adviser when he was PM

David Cameron took scandal-hit financier Lex Greensill for a "private drink" with Health Secretary Matt Hancock to discuss a payment scheme later rolled out in the NHS.

The British government has opened an official independently-run investigation into former prime minister David Cameron's lobbying activities for financier Lex Greensill, The Sun newspaper reported.

Mr Cameron's friends downplayed the relationship between the pair, with one saying the former prime minister thinks he met Mr Greensill once in October 2012.

"It's been a culture in Whitehall that's been building up for a long time", Jenkin told the BBC, using a British term for central government.

David Cameron has been criticised for contacting ministers via text on behalf of finance firm Greensill Capital.

"This independent review will also look at how contracts were secured and business representatives engaged with government".

Sunak's exchanges with Cameron were revealed following an official request from lawmaker Anneliese Dodds, finance spokeswoman for the main opposition Labour party.

"This has all the hallmarks of another cover-up by the Conservatives", Reeves said.

Mr Cameron was said to have described the decision to exclude his employer's firm, Greensill Capital, from the multibillion-pound scheme as "nuts" and pressed for the Chancellor to reconsider.

It revealed that Mr Cameron had texted Chancellor Rishi Sunak and other Treasury ministers over access to government-backed emergency loans during the pandemic.

Greensill was understood to have written to Hancock's office about his proposed payment scheme in August 2019.

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"And if we can't succeed in achieving this. we are going to have to pass laws to make sure that at least for say five years, no serving or former prime minister or minister, is ever lobbying for any commercial objective within government".

"However, I have reflected on this at length", he said.

"There are important lessons to be learnt".

However, the former prime minister, who sent text messages to Chancellor Rishi Sunak, acknowledged that he should have contacted ministers through "formal" channels.

Cameron was prime minister from May 2010 to July 2016, resigning after he led the failed campaign for Britain to remain in the European Union.

He added that Mr Greensill had been brought in as a government adviser by then-Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood, in 2011.

"Their value was nowhere near the amount speculated in the press", he said.

Mr Cameron is yet to comment publicly about the "growing scandal", as Labour has called it. At that time, several members of Parliament were found to have improperly inflated their expenses, leading to new rules governing their conduct.

If it could not be stopped, he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme, new laws should be passed to stop former ministers lobbying for five years after leaving office. "It can not ever become a platform for private gain".

The developments are the latest in a lobbying controversy that has dogged the Conservative former prime minister in recent weeks.

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