Labour says if figure is wrong as ex-PM’s spokesperson has suggested, then he should set record straight
Last modified on Tue 10 Aug 2021 12.21 EDT
David Cameron is under growing pressure to answer further questions about his involvement in Greensill Capital, given he reportedly made up to $10m (£7m).
After BBC Panorama reported on the sum he made for a part-time job over two and a half years, the former prime minister was urged to divulge what he knew about the company’s financial troubles before it collapsed this year.
Cameron has shied away from the limelight since it first emerged he texted Whitehall officials and politicians including the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, pushing for Greensill to get the largest possible allocation of government-backed loans under the Covid corporate financing facility.
But after his spokesperson denied he received anything like the remuneration reported, Labour’s deputy leader, Angela Rayner, urged him to “come clean”. She said if the reported $1m (£720,000) salary, $4.5m (£3m) in shares and $700,000 (£504,000) bonus were wrong, Cameron should correct the record “so that the British public knows how much he has gained from influencing government policy”.
The Labour MP Darren Jones, chair of the Commons business select committee, said questions remained about whether Cameron knew Greensill was in financial trouble when he was lobbying on its behalf, in the run-up to the collapse of the bank run by his former adviser, the Australian financier Lex Greensill.
Jones said Cameron should clarify if he was aware Greensill was having to “move money around to cover up businesses that were in essence bankrupt while he cashed out his shares and at the same time was lobbying his friends in Whitehall and officials to get public-backed funds to shore up a failing business – and therefore a huge commercial interest for him”.
He added: “It seems to me that David Cameron didn’t have any position with any accountability attached to it, but he seemed to be in the boardroom, he seems to have been on Lex Greensill’s private jet, and if he was in the room, and on the private jet, and in the boardroom, the question is how much did he know about how much the business was in trouble while asking for public funds to shore it up?”
Prof Paul Heywood of the University of Nottingham, who studies political corruption, said that given Cameron raised concerns about lobbying while in Downing Street, the former prime minister should also explain why he did not do a better job of addressing the issue when he had the chance.
Heywood told the Guardian: “The claim that Cameron took no part in executive decision-making at Greensill may be technically correct, but it calls into question his acumen and judgment if he was lobbying so assiduously on behalf of a company he now claims to have little knowledge of in terms of its real financial position. He should have known – so he is damned either by commission or omission …
“What the whole episode shows is that there is definitely privileged access to those who have friends in high places, and the rewards available to them are not only wholly disproportionate, but reinforce the very status quo that the ‘levelling-up’ agenda is supposed to be all about bringing to an end.”
In a statement, Cameron’s spokesperson said what he was paid was a “private matter” and that he “acted in good faith at all times”, adding there was “no wrongdoing in any of the actions he took”.
They said Cameron had “no idea” until December 2020 that Greensill was in danger of failing and that he lobbied the government “not just because he thought it would benefit the company, but because he sincerely believed there would be a material benefit for UK businesses at a challenging time”.
Lex Greensill defended his handling of the ordeal, telling the BBC that Greensill Capital had “complied with relevant rules”.
Source: Read Full Article