Why the David Cameron lobbying scandal matters

The review into Greensill Capital and supply chain finance needs to probe the former PM’s involvement or it will be a waste of time

Former Prime Minister David Cameron (Photo by Henry Nicholls - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

The Greensill Capital story has steadily made its way from Westminster political gossip to the front pages, even if it has been overtaken by other news events this week.

But questions must be answered by those involved, including former prime minister David Cameron and current members of the cabinet.

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The independent inquiry ordered today by Boris Johnson is a welcome development, so long as it is afforded the scope to investigate not just “the role of Lex Greensill and Greensill Capital”, as the review states, but also the involvement of Mr Cameron, chancellor Rishi Sunak, health secretary Matt Hancock and others at the top of government.

On the face of it, the whole sorry saga would appear to be yet another case of a Tory government giving inappropriate levels of access to friends and former colleagues.

It’s the type of cronyism we’ve seen repeatedly throughout the Covid pandemic, where those well acquainted with the corridors of Whitehall power insinuate themselves back into contact with ministers and mandarins, in the hope of advancing their own commercial interests.

But the collapse of Greensill Capital into administration last month matters.

It has led to a perilous situation for Liberty Steel, because Greensill was the biggest lender to GFG Alliance, of which Liberty is a part.

As a result, more than 3,000 jobs at Liberty and about 5,500 in the wider alliance are under threat, with the government now having decided to reject a request from GFG Alliance for £170 million to prop it up.

Unless questions are answered over Greensill Capital and the role of Mr Cameron in full, this scandal won’t go away, no matter how much the Tories would rather it quietly slipped off the news agenda.

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