Former prime minister David Cameron has been cleared of breaking lobbying rules following claims he tried to persuade Government figures to grant loans to a financial firm he worked for.
The investigation by the lobbying watchdog concluded that Mr Cameron was an employee of Greensill Capital and so was not required to declare himself on the register of consultant lobbyists.
Mr Cameron reportedly sent a number of texts to the Chancellor’s private phone asking for support for the company through the Government’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF).
He is also alleged to have approached the Bank of England about the firm, which collapsed into administration earlier this month.
His activities were investigated by Harry Rich, the Registrar of Consultant Lobbyists – a post set up in legislation passed by Mr Cameron’s Government in 2014.
“Based on detailed information and assurances provided, Mr Cameron’s activities do not fall within the criteria that require registration on the Register of Consultant Lobbyists,” the watchdog’s decision said.
The Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Act 2014 makes it an offence for someone who is not a registered lobbyist to directly lobby ministers or senior civil servants.
But people lobbying on behalf of their own organisation are not required to register.
The watchdog said it had received “comprehensive assurances” from Mr Cameron that any contact he had with any Government minister or Permanent Secretary was made as an employee of Greensill.
The Sunday Times reported that the former prime minister sent a number of texts to Rishi Sunak asking for help for Greensill, while The Times subsequently reported that he had directly lobbied the Bank of England.
Greensill was the main financial backer for Liberty Steel, which owns 12 plants in the UK and employs 5,000 people but now faces an uncertain future.