David Cameron has said he is prepared to give evidence to an independent review into the Greensill lobbying row as he faces new questions over a contract awarded to another firm he advises.
Downing Street yesterday announced the Cabinet Office has commissioned an inquiry into ‘the development and use of supply chain finance and associated activities in Government, and the role Greensill played in those’.
The review will look at how contracts were secured and ‘how business representatives engaged with Government’ amid a furore over text messages sent between Mr Cameron and Chancellor Rishi Sunak.
A spokesman for Mr Cameron said: ‘David Cameron welcomes the inquiry and will be glad to take part.’
It came as Mr Cameron faced fresh scrutiny over his work for American healthcare firm Illumina after it emerged the company secured a £123million Department of Health contract in 2019.
Downing Street yesterday announced the senior lawyer, Nigel Boardman, had been commissioned to carry out a review into how Greensill Capital – founded by Australian financier Lex Greensill (pictured right) – was able to secure Government contracts
The former Prime Minister, 54, said he ‘will be glad’ to answer questions about his work for the now collapsed finance firm Greensill Capital after Mr Johnson ordered a probe (pictured: Mr Cameron and Mr Johnson together in 2011)
Mr Cameron is now facing scrutiny over his work for American healthcare firm Illumina after it emerged the company secured a £123million Department of Health contract in 2019. Health Secretary Matt Hancock is pictured in March this year
Mr Cameron is a paid adviser for Illumina and in his statement released on Sunday in response to the Greensill row he listed the firm as one of his ‘commercial interests’.
The Times said the contract was awarded to Illumina a week after Mr Cameron appeared with Health Secretary Matt Hancock at a genomics conference in September 2019.
A spokesman for Mr Cameron denied he had lobbied on any Illumina contracts ever, telling the newspaper: ‘He was not engaged as a lobbyist [for Illumina] and has not lobbied the UK government about any contracts between Illumina and the UK government.’
Mr Cameron has said his role with the firm was purely to promote the benefits of genomic sequencing technology.
The 2019 contract was awarded to Illumina by Genomics England which is a Department of Health body set up during the years of the Coalition Government when Mr Cameron was prime minister.
An initial contract was awarded by Genomics England to Illumina back in 2014. Mr Cameron reportedly joined Illumina as a consultant in 2017.
Illumina said: ‘Illumina always follows the correct and necessary process in its negotiations with customers.’
The Department of Health said the 2019 contract followed up on the original contract agreed in 2014 and it had been ‘directly awarded because Illumina was the only company with the technical capability to deliver the work’.
The Department of Health and Social Care said: ‘The Health Secretary is a strong supporter of the UK’s world leading genomic sequencing capability.
‘This contract was awarded in the correct way following extensive due diligence and through the proper transparency notice process.’
It came as Labour launched a fresh attempt to press ministers over Mr Cameron’s lobbying activities on behalf of the collapsed financial firm Greensill Capital.
Shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds has been granted an urgent Commons question calling on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to explain how Greensill was granted access to a Covid loan scheme for businesses, putting hundreds of millions of pounds taxpayers’ money at risk.
Mr Sunak, however, is not expected to respond in person with officials arguing the scheme in question is the responsibility of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy rather than the Treasury.
The Treasury released Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s texts to Mr Cameron after a freedom of information request
The move comes after Downing Street announced the senior lawyer, Nigel Boardman, will lead a review into how the firm – founded by Australian financier Lex Greensill – was able to secure Government contracts.
It follows a series of reports on Mr Cameron’s lobbying on behalf of the firm – including sending text messages to Mr Sunak’s personal phone number.
In response to one, the Chancellor said he had ‘pushed’ officials to consider proposals which could have helped Greensill.
It was also reported that Mr Cameron arranged a ‘private drink’ between Mr Hancock and Mr Greensill to discuss a payment scheme which was later rolled out in the NHS.
Mr Cameron finally broke his silence on the row at the weekend with a statement in which he insisted he had not broken any rules, but accepted there were ‘lessons to be learned’.
As a former prime minister, he said that any contacts with government should be through ‘only the most formal of channels, so there can be no room for misinterpretation’.