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Boris Johnson has ordered an independent investigation into David Cameron’s controversial lobbying of ministers for the collapsed financier Lex Greensill.

No 10 acted after a storm of criticism of the former prime minister for contacting Rishi Sunak, including by text, to give the firm a role in the government’s Covid-19 loan scheme – one of at least four ministers he lobbied.

Boris Johnson has ordered an independent investigation into David Cameron’s controversial lobbying of ministers for the collapsed financier Lex Greensill.

A leading lawyer will probe “how business representatives engaged with government” in discussions over supply chain finance and how contracts were awarded, No 10 said.

The move comes amid a storm of criticism of the former prime minister after he directly lobbied Rishi Sunak, including by text, to give Greensill a role in the government’s Covid-19 loan scheme.

At the weekend it emerged he had also organised a “private drink” with the health secretary Matt Hancock, with at least four ministers contacted.

Downing Street said Mr Johnson had launched the independent review because he recognised the “significant interest” in the controversy.

“The prime minister has called for the review to ensure government is completely transparent about such activities and that the public can see for themselves if good value was secured for taxpayers’ money,” his spokesman said.

“This independent review will also look at how contracts were secured and how business representatives engaged with government.”

The inquiry will be lead by Nigel Boardman, an award-winning lawyer who is also a non-executive board member at the business department – a post he is expected to leave.

No 10 promised he would have “access to the documents that he needs’, but was unable to say if he would have legal powers to secure evidence or be able to recommend changes to lobbying rules.

Earlier today another former prime minister Gordon Brown said those in his position “must never” lobby government for commercial purposes,  and suggested those leaving No 10 should be subject to at least a five-year ban.

Labour have warned that many “serious questions” remain unanswered and called on Mr Cameron to appear before MPs “so that all the information is brought to light”.

Official records released by the Treasury last week show that Mr Sunak responded to Mr Cameron on one occasion to say he had “pushed” civil servants to explore possible options.

Mr Cameron was lobbying for the supply-chain finance company to be allowed to access the Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility.

The Sunday Times revealed at the weekend that Mr Cameron had emailed a senior special adviser to Boris Johnson to complain that it was “nuts” Greensill had been excluded and urging the government to reconsider.

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