David Cameron’s lobbying texts to Sunak and Gove released

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Records of David Cameron’s intense lobbying efforts for Greensill Capital have been released to reveal text messages he sent chancellor Rishi Sunak and senior Cabinet minister Michael Gove.


The Conservative former prime minister also sent messages to vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi during the pandemic as he sought to gain access for Greensill to government-backed coronavirus loans, it emerged on 11 May.

MPs on the Commons Treasury Committee released correspondence they have received by the subjects of their inquiry following Greensill Capital’s collapse, which jeopardised 5,000 steelmaking jobs in the UK. Cameron provided the inquiry with messages he sent government officials and ministers during his work as an adviser to the firm.

One text message to Gove on 3 April last year read:

I know you are manically busy – and doing a great job, by the way (this is bloody hard and I think the team is coping extremely well. But do you have a moment for a word? I am on this number and v free. All good wishes Dc.

Michael Gove
David Cameron texted Michael Gove (PA)

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On the same day, Cameron sent a separate message to the chancellor asking for a “very quick word” on the Treasury refusal to grant access to the Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF). Cameron wrote:

HMT are refusing to extend CCFF to include supply chain finance, which is nuts as it pumps billions of cheap credit into SMEs.

Think there is a simple misunderstanding that I can explain.

Bumping elbows

After arranging a discussion with Sunak, the former prime minister messaged Gove:

Am now speaking to Rishi first thing tomorrow. If I am still stuck, can I call you then?

Following the talks, Cameron wrote to Treasury permanent secretary Tom Scholar saying that his ultimate ask was for “one more high level chat” with Scholar, adding that the chancellor had “agreed”.

But on 22 April, the former Conservative leader texted Sunak to apologise “for troubling you again” but asking if he could help on CCCF and if he could “give it another nudge over the finish line”.

Communications continued and he asked “for the last time, I promise” for Sunak to instruct senior Treasury official Charles Roxburgh for another look at the matter.

Another message to Scholar, in March 2020, read:

See you with Rishi’s for an elbow bump or foot tap. Love Dc.

Other recipients of Cameron’s texts include Boris Johnson’s senior adviser Sheridan Westlake, Treasury ministers Jesse Norman and John Glen, and deputy Bank of England governor Jon Cunliffe.

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