Cameron Slammed for ‘Lack of Judgment’ Over Greensill Lobbying
(Bloomberg) -- Former U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron showed a “significant lack of judgment” in repeatedly lobbying the government on behalf of the now-collapsed finance firm Greensill Capital, a parliamentary inquiry has found.
The Treasury Select Committee called for lobbying rules to be strengthened in the aftermath of the episode, during which Cameron tried to persuade his former colleagues to help the firm gain access to Covid support.
While the committee has no formal power to change laws or force the government to follow its recommendations, the findings will be uncomfortable reading for Cameron and for some in the Treasury.
He has acknowledged already that “important lessons” should be learned from his behavior and former premiers should only contact government through “the most formal of channels.”
In all, Cameron sent more than 70 emails and texts to different officials, and made multiple phone calls, though his efforts ultimately failed.
Cameron’s use of “less formal means to lobby government showed a significant lack of judgment on his part, especially as his ability to use an informal approach was aided by his previous position of prime minister,” according to the committee’s report.
There were “obvious personal links” between Cameron and the officials he was making his case to, it said. The Treasury “should have encouraged” Cameron to use “more formal methods of communication at the initial stage of his lobbying.”
There should also have been “a discussion” as to whether the former leader’s ongoing contact posed any “reputational risks” to the Treasury, the committee said.
While the Treasury behaved with integrity and made the right decision in rejecting Greensill’s advances, officials should now set up a new formal process for handling lobbying attempts by former ministers and prime ministers in future, the MPs said.
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