Now Michael’s Gove allies are accused of stoking storm over David Cameron lobbying Ministers for a private finance firm
- David Cameron’s allies claim lobbying storm stoked by aides of Michael Gove
- Has suffered scrutiny over efforts to get Greensill Capital access to Covid loans
- This included lobbying Chancellor Rishi Sunak and two other Treasury Ministers
David Cameron’s embarrassment over lobbying Ministers for a private finance firm has been stoked by aides of Michael Gove, the former Prime Minister’s allies claimed yesterday.
They also suspect former top civil servants Bob Kerslake and Nick Macpherson of having played a part in revelations over Mr Cameron’s intervention on behalf of Greensill Capital.
Mr Cameron has suffered mounting scrutiny over his efforts to get the company access to Covid loans – efforts which involved lobbying Chancellor Rishi Sunak and two other Treasury Ministers.
As Prime Minister, Mr Cameron brought Lex Greensill, the Australian who ran the company, into No10 as an unpaid adviser on supply chain finance and went to work for his firm after leaving office.
David Cameron’s allies claim embarrassment over lobbying for a private finance firm has been stoked by the aides of Michael Gove (pictured)
Greensill Capital has now filed for insolvency although Mr Sunak faced claims yesterday his officials tried to redesign one of the main pandemic support schemes to accommodate the firm.
It also emerged that Mr Cameron lobbied a fourth Minister, taking Mr Greensill to a ‘private drink’ with Health Secretary Matt Hancock in October 2019 to discuss an NHS payment system.
The Sunday Times also claimed the ex-PM emailed Boris Johnson’s senior special adviser last year to say the Treasury was ‘nuts’ to exclude Mr Greensill’s company from a Covid loan scheme.
Allies of the former PM – cleared of breaking lobbying rules – claim he has been caught in a ‘pincer movement’ between No10 aides loyal to Mr Gove and former mandarins Lord Macpherson and Lord Kerslake, now crossbench peers.
They are suspicious about the roles played by Simone Finn, Downing Street’s Deputy Chief of Staff, and Henry Newman, senior adviser, who both worked for Francis Maude when Paymaster General in the Cameron government, before joining Mr Gove’s leadership campaign.
Baroness Finn was also romantically involved with Mr Gove after they left Oxford University.
It had been reported that a proposal from Mr Greensill, while he worked in No10, for NHS-affiliated pharmacies to be paid using private finance was ‘handed directly to Mr Cameron, who signed it off… bypassing Francis Maude entirely’.
One of the Cameron friends said: ‘It has been noted how Maude has come out of all this smelling of roses. It has also helped to put Rishi back in his box a bit, and distracted from stories about the cost of renovations to Downing Street.’
The former Prime Minister (pictured) has suffered mounting scrutiny over his efforts to intervene on behalf of Greensill Capital to get the company access to Covid loans
Both ex-civil servants dismissed the allegations, while a No10 source also categorically denied Ms Finn and Mr Newman were involved.
Lord Kerslake was head of the Civil Service during Mr Cameron’s premiership, and at the time Mr Greensill joined the Number 10 team in 2012.
After stepping down in 2014, Lord Kerslake was commissioned by Jeremy Corbyn to help prepare Labour for power. Cameron allies suspect he fed information over the affair to the media through Labour contacts.
Senior sources also suggest Lord Macpherson, Treasury permanent secretary under Mr Cameron, could have briefed against him and the late Lord Heywood – now post-humously embroiled in the row – after losing out to Heywood for the plum Cabinet Secretary job.
Lord Macpherson has denied the claims saying: ‘I have never met Greensill and never saw anything relating to him while at HM Treasury.’ He also insisted he had ‘never had access to inside information or documents relating to Greensill’.
Lord Kerslake dismissed any suggestion he had briefed against Mr Cameron as ‘complete nonsense’.
Allies of Mr Hancock insisted he had behaved entirely correctly and informed officials of the meeting. Sources close to the ex-PM said last night Mr Cameron himself was not casting blame on anyone.