Greensill Capital: the texts ex-prime minister David Cameron sent to government ministers and officials

“See you with Rishi’s for an elbow bump or foot tap. Love Dc,” one of the text messages read

Former prime minister David Cameron bombarded ministers and government officials with texts as he controversially lobbied for Greensill Capital.

The Conservative former prime minister and his office staff sent ministers and officials 45 emails, texts and WhatsApp messages relating to the now-collapsed firm in less than four months, it emerged on Tuesday.

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A series of investigations is under way into the role the Conservative played in securing Whitehall access for Mr Greensill.

The extent of David Cameron’s intense lobbying efforts for Greensill Capital during the coronavirus pandemic has been revealed (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

The row began over claims that Cameron had contacted government officials, including the chancellor, to get financial services company, Greensill Capital, access to a government-backed loan scheme.

Mr Cameron also sent messages to vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi during the Covid crisis as he sought to gain access for Greensill to Government-backed coronavirus loans, opposition to which he derided as “nuts” and “bonkers”.

Greensill Capital went into administration after many creditors expressed doubts over its valuation and debt piled up.

While the firm did not use the scheme Cameron pushed for access to, the scandal has raised a number of questions about lobbying in politics.

Mr Cameron also sent messages to vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi (Peter Summers/Getty Images)

Mr Cameron, who was employed as an adviser to Greensill after leaving government, will appear before the Commons committee on Thursday.

Now some of the key messages Mr Cameron sent to Gove, Sunak and Zahawi have been published by the Commons Treasury Committee on May 11.

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‘Do you have a moment?’

One text message to Mr Gove on April 3 last year acknowledged the minister is “manically busy”, adding: “But do you have a moment for a word? I am on this number and v free. All good wishes Dc.”

“Thank you! Will call!” the Cabinet Office minister replied, according to a separately-published response to a Freedom of Information request.

On the same day, Mr Cameron sent a separate message to the Chancellor asking for a “very quick word” on the Treasury refusal to grant access to the Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF).

“HMT are refusing to extend CCFF to include supply chain finance, which is nuts as it pumps billions of cheap credit into SMEs,” Mr Cameron wrote.

“Think there is a simple misunderstanding that I can explain.”

After arranging a discussion with Mr Sunak, the former prime minister messaged Mr Gove: “Am now speaking to Rishi first thing tomorrow. If I am still stuck, can I call you then?”

“Of course! Any time,” Mr Gove responded.

‘Give it a nudge’

Following the talks, Mr Cameron wrote to Treasury permanent secretary Sir Tom Scholar saying that his ultimate ask was for “one more high-level chat” with Sir Tom, adding that the Chancellor had “agreed”.

But on April 22 the former Conservative leader texted Mr Sunak again to apologise “for troubling you again” but asking if he could help on CCCF and if he could “give it another nudge over the finish line”.

Communications still continued, however, and he asked “for the last time, I promise” for Mr Sunak to instruct senior Treasury official Charles Roxburgh for another look at the matter.

‘See you for a foot tap’

Another message to Sir Tom, in March last year, read: “See you with Rishi’s for an elbow bump or foot tap. Love Dc.”

Other recipients of Mr Cameron’s texts include Boris Johnson’s senior adviser Sheridan Westlake, Treasury ministers Jesse Norman and John Glen, and deputy Bank of England governor Sir Jon Cunliffe.

He also called Health Secretary Matt Hancock, according to records of the exchanges taking place between March 5 and June 26 last year.

The timeline of his contacts submitted by the former prime minister ahead of his appearance before the committee on Thursday also included 11 telephone calls or conference calls.

Mr Cameron listed nine WhatsApp messages to Mr Sunak as well as one telephone call.

He also recorded 12 texts sent to Sir Tom and one call and six emails to Bank of England deputy governor Sir Jon.

The correspondence was released ahead of the collapsed firm’s boss, Lex Greensill, appearing before MPs on Tuesday afternoon.

Nikhil Rathi, the chief executive of the FCA, said the regulator was investigating Greensill Capital UK (GCUK).

“We are also co-operating with counterparts in other UK enforcement and regulatory agencies, as well as authorities in a number of overseas jurisdictions,” Mr Rathi said.

“As the committee will be aware, a number of allegations have been made in the press regarding the circumstances of Greensill’s failure, some of which are potentially criminal in nature.

“There are, therefore, some aspects of the FCA’s interactions with Greensill entities that I am not able to disclose so as not to prejudice these ongoing investigations.”

Greensill was placed into administration in March, threatening thousands of UK jobs at Liberty Steel which was dependent on its finance.

In a letter to the committee, Mr Cameron said the “first time I became concerned that the company might be in serious financial difficulty was in December 2020” following a call from Mr Greensill.

“Up until that point, I firmly believed that Greensill was in good financial health,” the former Conservative leader added.

Additional reporting by PA.

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