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PRESSURE is mounting on the Tories to launch an inquiry into David Cameron’s working relationship with Lex Greensill, after allegations that he gave the scandal-hit banker privileged access to Whitehall while he was PM.
An investigation by the Sunday Times alleged that the founder of failed financial firm Greensill Capital enriched himself through a multibillion-pound government-backed loan scheme that he himself had designed.
Under the Pharmacy Earlier Payment Scheme, announced in 2012, banks quickly reimbursed chemists for providing NHS prescriptions before recovering fees from the government.
Greensill Capital funded the scheme. Mr Greensill reportedly denies making large returns from the pharmacy deal.
Before the scheme was implemented, the Sunday Times alleges that then PM Mr Cameron had given Mr Greensill access to 11 Whitehall departments and agencies.
Greensill Capital hired Mr Cameron as an adviser after he left Downing Street in 2016.
The firm collapsed earlier this month, causing uncertainty for thousands of steelworkers as it was a major financer of Liberty Steel.
The allegations surrounding Mr Greensill surfaced after Mr Cameron reportedly tried to persuade ministers to grant rescue loans to Greensill Capital.
Labour MPs and Sir Alistair Graham, former chairman of Whitehall’s committee on standards in public life, called for a full inquiry.
Calling for an urgent inquiry, shadow chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Rachel Reeves said: “Barely a week goes by without a story about Conservative cronyism and allegations of the misuse of taxpayers’ money.”
Sir Alistair said: “There clearly should be a full inquiry because it sounds like a genuine scandal in which the public purse was put at risk without proper political authority.”
Labour MP and former shadow Cabinet Office minister Jon Trickett told the Morning Star: “The more we hear about these allegations, the murkier it gets.
“The suggestion that bankers or their employees had a desk at the heart of the government, while hard-working men and women are locked out on a pay freeze, is outrageous.”
But when asked on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show whether there would be an inquiry, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “As far as I can tell, no decision in government policy was changed as a result of any meetings that took place. They’d be properly declared.”
A government spokesman said Mr Greensill’s appointment as a “supply chain finance adviser” had been “approved in the normal manner and he was not paid for either role.”
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