David Cameron was told his “reputation is in tatters” yesterday as he faced a grilling by MPs over his relentless lobbying efforts for the now collapsed financial firm, Greensill Capital.
Appearing before two parliamentary committees, the former prime minister claimed that it was never his intention to lobby the government and denied knowing about the firm’s perilous financial position before doing so.
Mr Cameron said he had a “big economic investment” in Greensill, but refused to be drawn on how much he could have gained in share value if the company had proved a success. He also batted away questions about his salary.
He insisted that his motive for seeking access for Greensill to the government’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility was “to help UK firms at this moment of difficulty” by providing an effective means of getting them credit.
But Labour MP Rushanara Ali told him: “Your reputation is now in tatters, Mr Cameron … it feels like you’re not taking responsibility for what’s happened.”
Elsewhere, Boris Johnson’s new independent ethics adviser has said he is ready to follow his predecessor in taking the “nuclear option” of resigning if the prime minister ignores his recommendations over the PM’s lavish flat refurb.
Cameron was ‘open and transparent’ during MPs’ grilling, minister claims
David Cameron was “open and transparent” while answering questions from MPs yesterday about his conduct while lobbying for Greensill Capital, a minister has claimed.
Facing questions in parliamentary committees, Mr Cameron refused to reveal his salary while at the firm and would not be drawn on how much he stood to gain in share value had the business proved successful.
He insisted his lobbying was done in the spirit of public service, and denied knowing about Greensill’s perilous financial position before asking ministers and officials to grant it government loans.
Mr Cameron also said he only attended board meetings at the company to discuss “geopolitical matters and such like”.
Speaking to Sky News this morning, vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said it was a “difficult time” for Mr Cameron.
“I think David Cameron did the right thing to come before two select committees yesterday and to be open and transparent about his dealings with government, with ministers,” he said.
Asked if the former Conservative leader’s reputation has been damaged by the controversy, Mr Zahawi said: “Clearly this was a painful period for him and, as he said yesterday, it cannot be easy for a prime minister to go through this.
“It’s a difficult time for him and I think we should respect that a little bit as well.”
Angela Rayner: ‘Magnolia politics’ putting off voters, Johnson’s personality cutting through
Angela Rayner has said “magnolia politics” is putting voters off the Labour Party.
The party’s deputy leader told Politico’s Westminster Insider podcast people want “authenticity” in their politicians.
“For a long time, people have felt that politicians are just saying what they think they want to hear. Or they try to ‘triangulate,’ is the word that they use. I call it ‘magnolia politics’,” she said.
“Let’s not offend anyone, and have no opinion on anything … I think all parties were a bit (guilty) of that. And Boris just sort of cut through that.”
ICYMI: Boris Johnson’s ethics adviser ready to quit if advice ignored
Boris Johnson’s new independent ethics adviser has said he is ready to follow his predecessor in taking the “nuclear option” of resigning if the prime minister ignores his recommendations.
Our politics editor Andrew Woodcock reports:
Howard Beckett: Unite official suspended by Labour for tweeting Priti Patel ‘should be deported’
A senior Unite official has been suspended by Labour after tweeting that Priti Patel was “disgusting” and should be deported in response to the immigration stand-off in Glasgow.
Howard Beckett, the assistant general secretary who is standing for leadership of the union, posted the message after Border Force officials detained two men.
My colleague Alastair Jamieson reports:
Boris Johnson and Taoiseach to discuss Brexit and Northern Ireland troubles
Brexit tensions and Northern Ireland’s troubles past and present are set to dominate discussions between Boris Johnson and Taoiseach Micheal Martin on Friday.
Our policy correspondent Jon Stone reports:
Cameron shown no mercy
David Cameron was shown no mercy yesterday as he appeared before MPs in two virtual parliamentary committees, in what he admitted was a “painful day”.
For those of you who missed it, here are some of the main takeaways from what was a gruelling afternoon for the former prime minister, who was told his “reputation is in tatters”.
Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s rolling UK politics coverage. We’ll be bringing you live updates from Westminster and beyond as the day progresses.