David Cameron lobbied Lloyds Banking Group to change its mind about cutting ties with Greensill Capital, pleading with a board member to whom he handed a peerage while prime minister.
According to the Financial Times, Cameron lobbied Lloyds in January when he contacted Lord James Lutpon – a director of the bank who had previously been a Conservative party treasurer, successfully persuading him to keep doing business with Greensill.
Lupton, Tory treasurer between 2013 and 2016, has donated more than £3 million to the party and was appointed to the House of Lords in 2015 – sparking accusations of cronyism against Cameron from opposition politicians.
Cameron earned millions as a boardroom adviser to Greensill, a supply-chain finance company whose collapse earlier this year saw the former prime minister embroiled in a huge Westminster lobbying scandal.
Cameron lobbies again
Months before the firm’s collapse in March, Lloyds said it would stop doing business with the group, jeopardising a supply-chain finance scheme for NHS pharmacies operated by Greensill, which relied heavily on the bank for funding.
But after Cameron’s efforts, the bank reconsidered its decision and agreed to continue funding the pharmacies for a period, the FT reported.
Lloyds said: “The decision to continue this facility in January 2021 was made on the usual commercial basis and in recognition of the importance of maintaining this facility for the NHS during the height of the pandemic.”
The bank added: “This programme ended following the administration of Greensill, with the bank repaid in full.
“There were no losses to the NHS, the pharmacies supplying them or Lloyds Banking Group.”
A review into the scandal, ordered by Boris Johnson, has called for a strengthening of lobbying rules.
Lobbying rules strengthened
The second part of the long-awaited report by Nigel Boardman was published in September – and called for a variety of reforms in the wake of the Greensill affair.
Boardman noted that if his recommendations were in force at the time, then, the Conservative former prime minister would have been required to register as a lobbyist.
The review was launched in April after it emerged Cameron privately lobbied ministers to attempt to try to secure access to an emergency coronavirus loan scheme for Greensill.
Boardman recommended that the “transparency of lobbyists be strengthened” by requiring them to disclose the ultimate person paying for, or benefiting from, their work.
Lobbyists should also meet a statutory code of conduct setting minimums standards, he advised.
Boardman added that former ministers have “a privileged position” derived from their work in Government and called for the Register of Consultant Lobbyists to include any former minister or senior civil servant who undertakes any lobbying activity.
“I note that, were these recommendations in force at the relevant time, Mr Cameron would have been required to register as a lobbyist,” he added.