Politics

David Cameron bank scandal deepens as civil servant named in probe

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Bill Crothers became a part-time adviser to Greensill Capital in 2015 while working as head of government procurement. His involvement with the bank – which also had the ex-prime minister as a paid adviser – has deepened concern about high-level access. Labour called the latest revelation “shocking”. And questions were raised about why the appointment was not cleared by Whitehall watchdogs.

Mr Crothers’s involvement was exposed by the release of correspondence yesterday following the launch of an inquiry into the lobbying scandal.

Boris Johnson, who announced it this week, was said to be “very concerned” about the latest development.

The PM promised yesterday the probe will seek to establish “exactly what happened” in the former Tory premier’s contacts with Chancellor Rishi Sunak and other frontbenchers.

He said the lawyer leading the inquiry, Nigel Boardman, would have “pretty much carte blanche to ask anybody whatever he needs to find out”.

Mr Cameron sought to secure Covid support loans for Greensill, a major backer of struggling industrial giant Liberty Steel.

Correspondence between the Cabinet Office and the head of the official Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (Acoba) show Mr Crothers joined Greensill as an adviser to the board in 2015. He later became a director.

Labour called for an all-party inquiry. Rachel Reeves, shadow Cabinet Office minister, said: “This is an extraordinary and shocking revelation. They need to strengthen rules and get everything about the Greensill scandal in the open.”

Acoba chairman Lord Pickles questioned why his committee had not had an application from Mr Crothers over his role.

Mr Crothers told the Tory peer: “It was seen as a way of me transitioning back into the private sector” and was “not uncommon”.

In response, Lord Pickles criticised the “lack of transparency” and urged the Cabinet Office to publish its conflicts of interest policy.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock yesterday admitted attending a private meeting with Mr Cameron. He told the Commons: “I reported to officials in the normal way.”

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