Westminster’s Treasury Select Committee has today launched an inquiry the Greensill Capital lobbying scandal.
Committee chair Mel Stride said MPs would “take a closer look” at the circumstances surrounding efforts by David Cameron and former senior civil servant Bill Crothers in lobbying on behalf of the failed finance firm.
The move comes just three weeks after Tory MPs on the committee blocked efforts to investigate the Tory former Prime Minister David Cameron and his efforts to lobby government officials on behalf of Greensill.
We've just announced that we will launch an inquiry into the lessons from #Greensill Capital.— Treasury Committee (@CommonsTreasury) April 14, 2021
The Treasury Committee has agreed in principle to launch the inquiry and will officially launch the inquiry next week, at which point it will publish its full terms of reference. pic.twitter.com/6aJChgTg2a
The announcement comes after MPs voted on a Labour motion which sought to establish a wider MP-led inquiry into Greensill and its relationship with senior ministers and officials, with the plans being rejected 357 votes to 262 after the government opposed the measures.
Boris Johnson announced earlier this week that an independent review will be conducted by Slaughter and May lawyer Nigel Boardman, however Labour says this does not go far enough.
Shadow Cabinet Office minister Rachel Reeves said “they don’t want public hearings, they don’t want the disinfectant of sunlight as David Cameron once urged”.
“It is a fact that Nigel Boardman is a very good friend of the Conservative government,” she said.
“Mr Boardman has been paid over £20,000 per year as a non- exexutive director for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) – a department with a real interest in the British Business Bank that lent to Greensill and the British Steel industry where so many jobs are now at risk.
“Mr Boardoman has already whitewashed the government’s handling of public procurement during the pandemic and I fear he will do the same again with this inquiry.”
Chloe Smith, minister of state for the Cabinet Office, said that the government’s inquiry will already achieve much of what Labour was proposing.
“The motion seeks to establish…a select committee that is so wide ranging that it would cut across parliament’s existing committees and independent bodies that have responsibility in this area,” she said.
Earlier today, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer today accused Boris Johnson of overseeing a “return of Tory sleaze” over the Greensill Capital lobbying scandal.
Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs), Starmer said: “Dodgy contracts, privileged access, jobs for their mates, this is the return of Tory sleaze.
“It’s so ingrained in this Conservative government – we don’t need a another Conservative appointee marking their own homework.”
In response, Johnson said: “The Prime Minister added: “This is a government and a party that has been consistently tough on lobbying and we introduced legislation that ensures there should be no taxpayer funded lobbying, that quangos should not be allowed to get involved with lobbying, we put in a register for lobbyists, there’s one party that voted to repeal the 2014 Lobbying Act and it was the Labour party in their 2019 manifesto.”