Greensill: ‘All decisions taken by the bank were made independently’, minister says

Rishi Sunak‘s failure to appear before parliament to answer questions about the Cameron-Greensill lobbying scandal shows he is “running scared”, Labour has claimed.

Shadow chancellor Annaliese Dodds requested that her opposite number reply to her urgent question in the House of Commons on Tuesday.

But Mr Sunak said his Treasury department was not responsible for running the coronavirus business loan scheme accessed by Mr Greensill’s firm. Business minister Paul Scully was sent to parliament in Mr Sunak’s place.

Ms Dodds said: “The Chancellor said he would level with the public, why is he running scared of levelling with them on the Greensill scandal?”

Earlier on Monday, Boris Johnson said he had given Nigel Boardman “pretty much carte blanche” to speak to anybody he needs to as part of his inquiry into Mr Cameron’s lobbying activities on behalf of the now-collapsed finance firm Greensill Capital, although it will have no legal powers.

Elsewhere, the government’s LGBT+ panel of independent advisers has been disbanded by ministers. It came after three members quit in protest earlier this year over the government’s delay in introducing a ban on conversion therapy in Britain.


Northern Ireland violence ‘final warning’ to improve relations with EU, says William Hague

The former Conservative party leader William Hague has said the recent violence in Northern Ireland should be the “final warning” to the UK government to improve relations with the EU.

Lord Hague urged both No 10 and Brussels to “create a better atmosphere” and come to an agreement over the implementation of the Northern Ireland protocol.

My colleague Adam Forrest reports:

Matt Mathers13 April 2021 15:49


Ian Paisley fears ‘continuing downward spiral’ of violence in NI

DUP MP Ian Paisley has said he fears a “continuing downward spiral” of violence if the Northern Ireland protocol is not scrapped.

Addressing recent unrest across the region, Mr Paisley said he condemned the rioting, but “all the condemnation in the world will not make that violence go away”.

He added: “The causes are not Covid-19; the causes are not the Bobby Storey funeral… that’s the straw that broke the camel’s back.

“The secretary of state knows that the protocol lies at the heart of this, because the identity of Ulster is at stake, as a result of the protocol. “

“I fear a continuing downward spiral [of violence’ unless the secretary of state takes action.”


Matt Mathers13 April 2021 15:39


Good Friday Agreement central to Northern Ireland peace, Brandon Lewis says

Brandon Lewis said it is important for all who are engaged in political discourse to support Northern Ireland in “leaving its divisive past behind”.

Making a statement in the House of Commons, the Northern Ireland secretary said: “The Belfast Good Friday Agreement 23 years ago now highlighted the importance of progress in areas of social development such as integrated education.

“These will be a vital part of Northern Ireland’s future, enabling even more young people to grow up in the reality of a shared society and able to affect positive change in their communities.

“The answer to all of these issues and any others lie in dialogue, engagement and the democratic process, not through violence or disorder.

“It is incumbent on all of us engaged in political discourse to support Northern Ireland in leaving its divisive past behind and continuing instead to look ahead to all of the opportunities of the future.”

Matt Mathers13 April 2021 15:18


88 police officers injured in ‘unacceptable’ Northern Ireland violence, says Brandon

88 police officers have been injured in violence in Northern Ireland in recent weeks, NI cecretary Brandon Lewis has said.

He described attacks on officers as “unacceptable” and said it was wrong that young people had been encouraged to riot.

Our Whitehall editor Kate Devlin has more on this story:

Matt Mathers13 April 2021 15:05


Government: Investigation will do its work

Responding to Ms Thewliss Paul Scully, a business minister, said Downing Street’s review of the scandal will “do its work”.

Mr Scully added that Nigel Boardman, who is in charge of the probe, has the “assurance of all parties” that they will cooperate and offer “any information required”.

He will report back at the end of June, Mr Scully added.

Mr Cameron is said to have lobbied health secretary Matt Hancock and as well as chancellor Rishi Sunak on behalf of Greensill Capital.

MPs are demanding both ministers – and former MP Cameron – appear before the House of Commons to answer questions on the scandal.

Matt Mathers13 April 2021 14:11


Cameron-Greensill scandal exposes cronyism at heart of Tory government, SNP claims

The Cameron-Greensill lobbying scandal exposes cronyism at the heart of the Tory government, the SNP has claimed

Alison Thewliss MP said the scandal was “not new”, pointing to a “VIP suppliers list” for companies securing PPE equipment amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

She said there remains “serious questions” about Greensill’s access to the government while Mr Cameron was prime minister.

Matt Mathers13 April 2021 13:57


Labour to force vote on Greensill-Cameron lobbying scandal

Labour has announced it will attempt to force a vote on the Greensill lobbying scandal on Wednesday, calling for a “full, transparent” parliamentary inquiry into the controversy. 

After Boris Johnson unveiled an investigation into the issue, the party said the government cannot be allowed to simply “mark its own homework”, as it demanded a cross-party committee to investigate existing lobbying laws.

Given the prime minister’s considerable Commons majority, however, the motion is unlikely to pass if the government whips Conservative MPs against.

“The Boardman investigation has all the hallmarks of a Conservative cover up – the British public, especially those with their jobs on the line as a result of Greensill’s collapse, deserve answers,” said the shadow Cabinet Office minister Rachel Reeves. 

“Any Conservative who wants to stop the cronyism rampant in their party and in government must vote with Labour this week to uncover once and for all the truth behind this scandal.

“The Greensill scandal is just the tip of the iceberg in Conservative cronyism, which has been endemic during the pandemic and long before – laced through billions of pounds of contracts paid for by taxpayers and a slew of troubling senior appointments.

“The Conservatives cannot be trusted to mark their own homework on this.”

Matt Mathers13 April 2021 13:46


Labour: Workers and taxypayers deserve answers on Cameron-Greensill lobbying scandal

Workers whose jobs have been put at risk and taxpayers right across the country deserve answers on the David Cameron lobbying scandal, Labour has said.

Shadow chancellor Annaliese Dodds said Rishi Sunak was “running scared” of levelling with the public.

Delivering her urgent question in the House of Commons, Ms Dodds said of her opposite number: “Hundreds of millions of pounds of public money were put at risk by giving Greensill access to this scheme.

“With Greensill’s collapse, thousands of jobs in Rotherham, Hartlepool – right across the country have been put at risk.

“Those workers and taxpayers across the country deserve answers.

“The chancellor said he would level with the public. Why is he running scared of levelling with them on the Greensill scandal?”

Mr Sunak, who sent a minister to parliament today in his place, insists the Treasury was not responsible for running the scheme Greensill’s company accessed.

Matt Mathers13 April 2021 13:36


Cameron inquiry has no legal powers, No 10 confirms

No 10 has reiterated Boris Johnson’s remarks on the Cameron-lobbying investigation – promising Nigel Boardman would have “carte blanche” in his review of the activities of the former PM and his work with Greensill Capital.

But the review will not have legal powers or be able to rule on potential breaches of the ministerial code, Downing Street has confirmed.

The PM’s official spokesman said Boris Johnson had been “very clear about the review having pretty much carte blanche in this area”.

The spokesman added: “It won’t have legal powers but the reviewer will have access to all the necessary information required and engage with those involved at the time.”

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Former Tory MP David Cameron

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Former Tory MP David Cameron

(AFP via Getty Images)

Adam Forrest13 April 2021 12:52


Salmond denied TV opportunity to boost support

The second live TV debate of Scotland’s Holyrood election takes place at 7.30pm Tuesday, as campaigning resumes after a brief pause to mark the death of Prince Philip.

However, Alex Salmond, who has muscled his way into headlines ever since he launched his own, pro-independence Alba party last month – has been denied a platform on tonight’s STV clash.

Salmond has argued he would provide necessary balance, joining Nicola Sturgeon and the Greens’ Patrick Harvie on the pro-independence side against the Tory, Labour and Lib Dem leaders.

However, the broadcaster has made clear it is satisfied its debate will be balanced – featuring the five parties which have had seats in the Holyrood parliament.

Adam Forrest13 April 2021 12:28

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