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Entertainment Labour accuses Rishi Sunak of 'running scared' over Greensill row

20:16  13 april  2021
20:16  13 april  2021 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

ALEX BRUMMER: David Cameron Greensill lobbying unbecoming

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Anneliese Dodds standing in front of a fence: MailOnline logo © Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo

Labour today accused Chancellor Rishi Sunak of 'running scared' of scrutiny over the David Cameron Greensill lobbying row.

Shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds was granted an urgent question on the issue in the House of Commons and wanted to grill Mr Sunak.

But the Chancellor did not attend and Small Business Minister Paul Scully answered for the Government instead.

Mr Sunak's failure to show up prompted Ms Dodds to claim that he was 'frit' to face MPs.

Downing Street yesterday announced the Cabinet Office had commissioned an independent inquiry into 'the development and use of supply chain finance and associated activities in Government, and the role Greensill played in those'.

Civil Servant 'took Greensill job without telling ethics watchdog'

  Civil Servant 'took Greensill job without telling ethics watchdog' Bill Crother was chief commercial officer under David Cameron's premiership and took up a post with finance firm Greensill Capital a year after leaving Whitehall. The company and its founder Lex Greensill are at the heart of a lobbying row involving Mr Cameron, who was prime minister from 2010 to 2015 and worked for the firm before it collapsed earlier this year.Last night it emerged that Australian financier Mr Greensill once had his own Downing Street business card, describing him as a 'senior adviser' in the 'Prime Minister's Office'.

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 Mr Sunak.

In response to one message, the Chancellor said he had 'pushed' officials to consider proposals which could have helped Greensill.

Ms Dodds today demanded a statement from the Chancellor 'on the process by which Greensill Capital was approved as a lender for the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme'.

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  Storm grows over David Cameron's crony Leaked emails revealed how Australian tycoon Lex Greensill was able to push through a government loan scheme from which he benefited by citing the authority of then prime minister Mr Cameron. The cache of messages showed how the businessman told officials in 2012 that 'the PM' had requested that he implement his ideas 'across government'.

Responding to Mr Sunak's absence, the Labour frontbencher said: 'I welcome the minister's presence, but it was the Chancellor who needed to come to the House today.

'The Chancellor who told David Cameron he would push his team to amend emergency loan schemes to suit Cameron's new employer.

'The Chancellor whose officials met with Greensill ten times. The Chancellor who took the credit for Government business loans schemes when they were in the headlines, indeed who personally announced those scheme.

'Yet the Chancellor is frit of putting his name to those loan schemes today.'

She added: 'The Chancellor said he would level with the public. Why is he running scared of levelling with them on the Greensill scandal?'

Mr Scully hit back and said Mr Sunak had written to Ms Dodds last week with a 'comprehensive response' on the questions she had raised.

He also said it was not for Mr Sunak to answer questions on the scheme because it is ultimately the responsibility of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

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Mr Scully said: 'The reason that the Chancellor isn't here is because the question that we have been asked, we have talked about CBILS.

'I would suggest to the right honourable lady that she may ask in a different form or ask a different question because the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan scheme to which the question pertains is administered by the British Business Bank.

'The Secretary of State for BEIS is the sole shareholder of the bank and as such responsibility for the delivery of the scheme sits with BEIS.'

Boris Johnson today said there are questions that need to be 'satisfied' over the lobbying row as he insisted the independent probe will be given 'carte blanche' to ask anybody anything.

The Prime Minister said he wants the review led by Nigel Boardman to be 'done quickly', with the legal expert to be given 'maximum possible access so we can all understand exactly what has happened'.

However, Downing Street admitted at lunchtime that the probe will not be underpinned with legal powers and it will only be able to make recommendations.

Bonnie Langford fury after Rishi Sunak's 'retrain' scheme: 'Don't underestimate the Arts!'

  Bonnie Langford fury after Rishi Sunak's 'retrain' scheme: 'Don't underestimate the Arts!' BONNIE LANGFORD unleashed fury over Rishi Sunak's call for "people in all walks of life" to retrain during the coronavirus pandemic. She claimed it had been "extremely difficult" for those working in the Arts due to theatres being closed and productions either stalled or halted.In what seemed to be a veiled attack on Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak's call for people to "retrain", Langford launched into a rant. She claimed the thing that was "hardest of all" for people in the industry was individuals who put pressure on performers to change career paths.

Mr Cameron has welcomed the review and said he is prepared to give evidence to it.

A spokesman for Mr Cameron said: 'David Cameron welcomes the inquiry and will be glad to take part.'

The review will examine how Greensill Capital – 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.

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'.

Read more

Boris Johnson: Greensill lobbying probe to be given 'carte blanche' .
The Prime Minister said he wants a review led by Nigel Boardman to be 'done quickly', with the legal expert to be given 'maximum possible access'.The Prime Minister said he wants a review led by Nigel Boardman to be 'done quickly', with the legal expert to be given 'maximum possible access so we can all understand exactly what has happened'.

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