David Cameron news: Ex-PM ‘should have known better’, Rushanara Ali tells Greensill hearing

·1-min read
 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

David Cameron was told he “should have known better” than to relentlessly lobby government on behalf of Greensill Capital, during an appearance before MPs.

The former prime minister’s behaviour was “fundamentally damaging to our democracy” and “imperilled” the impartiality of the civil service, Rushanara Ali, a Labour member of the Treasury Committee said during questioning.

The embattled former PM faced a grilling by MPs over his repeated efforts to secure government loans for Greensill. In his first encounter with the Treasury Committee, Mr Cameron admitted he had an open invitation to attend Greensill board meetings while not employed as a director.

He admitted he had a "big economic interest" in Greensill Capital but refused to be drawn on how much he was set to gain in share value had the now collapsed financial firm proved a success.

The fintech company paid him a "generous amount" that was "far more" than he had earned while serving in Downing Street, he said, but would not put a figure on his annual salary.

He also confirmed that he took up that offer on several occasions, before and during the coronavirus pandemic, but says that he only spoke about "geopolitical matters and such like" while board meetings took place.

Mr Cameron said he “didn't recall” taking part in discussions on how the pandemic might affect the financial firm. He later faced the Public Accounts Committee, where he was asked what he had learned from his experience with Greensill.

He defended lobbying so fervently from his position as ex-prime minister on the grounds he had done so during the “extraordinary” economic circumstances inflicted by the pandemic, but said it would be a “good idea” to make fewer attempts at contact in ordinary times.