“Absolute power corrupts absolutely” must be one of the best-known quotations in the English Language. It is attributed to the 19th century British politician Lord Acton (1834-1902). What would the noble Lord say today of David Cameron or of Boris Johnson as both are subject to multiple corruption allegations in 2021?
We are lucky to live in a democracy with a free press, though some may disagree with the term ‘democracy’ as we currently face the elimination of multiple rights with the Police and Crime bill going through parliament at the moment. Our wonderful free press has again exposed a former Tory Prime Minister as being involved in activities that demean the office of Prime Minister and undermine our faith in the democratic systems of this country
The Times reported on Monday 30 March that David Cameron had allegedly told friends that he stood to make $60 million from the listing of a company at the heart of a lobbying scandal. The paper quotes a friend of the former prime minister saying that Cameron was ‘candid’ about the potential windfall from his shareholdings in Greensill after it was valued at $7 billion.
“Cameron subsequently sent a series of texts to Rishi Sunak the chancellor’s private mobile number, lobbying him to grant hundreds of millions of pounds in taxpayer-funded loans to the company to his employer Greensill.”
At this point, the article goes on to explain that Sunak referred him to the Treasury, who rejected the applications for loans to the company. The company has now gone bust.
As taxpayers we may be grateful for the diligence of the treasury officials who rejected the efforts of Cameron’s lobbying but we must continue to be vigilant on the actions of all government ministers. There is considerable evidence to suggest there is clear bias in the awarding of grants and contracts to friends and donors of the Conservative party.
The Sunday Times part of the Murdoch empire did a front-page expose of Cameron on 28 March which reports that the financier enjoyed privileged access to Number 10 and profited from a controversial NHS Deal. It’s reported he even had a dedicated desk and a Number 10 email address.
These reports are so damaging to trust in our government and have provoked many calls for an enquiry. Rachel Reeves, the shadow Cabinet Office minister, said: “These reports raise very serious questions about the conduct of former Conservative prime minister David Cameron but Oliver Dowden, the culture secretary and a long-standing ally, defended Cameron as a “man of utmost integrity”.
The office of Cameron, who was prime minister between 2010 and 2016, has not responded to the many press reports on his lobbying. Cameron, however, as an employee of Greensill Capital was not required to declare himself on the register of consultant lobbyists.
But when blatant greed may be well be at root of the lobbying attempts by Mr Cameron his visit to the desert to go camping in the desert with Lex Greensill and Mohammed bin Salmai brings new meaning to the word ineptitude .This is the Saudi crown prince who was found by the US authorities to have approved the 2018 murder of the Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Turkey. Mr Cameron would have bene clearly aware of these concerns prior to this camping trip
While the Cameron story got much coverage in recent days it was however overshadowed by an even bigger scandal about the current Prime Minister. The Sunday Mirror on 28 March carried an exclusive on the four year affair he had with Jennifer Arcuri and we now understand that his weekly meetings with Arcuri were not for ‘technology lessons’. Arcuri secured his appearance at speaking events and she also secured £126, 000 in grants for one her companies. The Daily Mail on 30 March reports that documents are likely to be studied by Greater London Assembly’s oversight committee to investigate if the then-mayor gave preferential treatment.