David Cameron’s lobbying on behalf of Lex Greensill, the billionaire Australian banker he employed while in Downing Street, illustrates how unfit for purpose Britain’s paper-thin lobbying regulations really are, says Gabriel Pogrund in Stories of Our Times.
In this two-part podcast, Pogrund, the Sunday Times journalist who broke the story, lays out the scandal from its beginnings, when Greensill “schmoozed and seduced his way into the heart” of Cameron’s government with the help of the country’s most powerful civil servant. An “upstart banker” pushing unconventional financial products, Greensill led Cameron to take decisions of “incredible naivety and political stupidity”, including a “secret camping trip on the Arabian Peninsula” with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in 2020.
Listen to part one here and part two here.
Is Boris taking his revenge?
Boris Johnson has ordered a government review into Cameron’s lobbying, says Andrew Pierce in the Daily Mail. It’s the latest twist in a decades-long rivalry between the pair. It started when they “crossed swords” at Eton, where they were two years apart. There, Johnson was “cleverer, more original and more popular than Cameron” – but at Oxford it was Cameron who got the first-class degree and Johnson the 2:1.
Cameron then “stretched his lead” by becoming Tory party leader in 2005, telling Johnson two years later that he had “no future as a senior shadow cabinet player”. But then Johnson “defied political gravity” to win two terms as mayor of London. During the 2010 general election, Johnson sent Cameron an eerily prophetic text: “Good luck Dave and don’t worry, if you bog it up I’m standing by to fill the gap.”