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David Cameron 2021 apologises as he breaks silence on Greensill collapse

David Cameron David Cameron silence Greensill on breaks collapse as apologises he

Mon, 12 Apr 2021 09:00:00 +0100

Former Prime Minister David Cameron has said he feels “desperately sorry” for those affected by the collapse of supply chain finance firm Greensill Capital, where 

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Former Prime Minister David Cameron has said he feels “desperately sorry” for those affected by the collapse of supply chain finance firm Greensill Capital, where his role as adviser and his lobbying of government officials has been heavily scrutinised.

“Since the collapse of Greensill Capital, many questions have been raised about my dealings with Lex Greensill in government, and my subsequent involvement with the company,” Cameron said in a statement released on 11 April.

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David Cameron David Cameron

Mon, 12 Apr 2021 09:00:00 +0100

Boris Johnson will not prevent a second Scottish independence referendum if the SNP wins a majority at next month's Holyrood election, SNP leader Nicola 

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Labour has said David Cameron’s statement on his lobbying of government leaves “many serious questions” unanswered, and demanded he addresses them before parliament, after the former prime minister accepted he should have communicated with ministers “through only the most formal of channels”.

Pressure has been mounting over Mr Cameron’s efforts to secure access for the finance company Greensill Capital, for whom he had privately lobbied officials including with texts to the chancellor, Rishi Sunak.

Elsewhere, Boris Johnson’s Brexit trade deal with the EU has put the future of many exporting businesses at risk, with 41 per cent reporting decreased overseas sales in the first three months of the new arrangements, according to a new survey by one of the UK’s leading business organisations.

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UK and EU officials are reportedly working on a new joint document which it is hoped would resolve some of issues surrounding the Northern Ireland Protocol.

According to the Irish national broadcaster, RTE, “technical and political talks” are being held with a view to address concerns around the post-Brexit settlement, with violence having played out on the streets of Northern Ireland since late last month.

RTE’s Tony Connelly said the process could take “several weeks”.

Loyalists are angry at Northern Ireland’s new trading arrangements, which were implemented because of Brexit under a mechanism known as the protocol.

Because Northern Ireland stayed in the EU’s single market after Brexit, customs checks are required on goods entering Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK – effectively created a border down the Irish Sea.

Tory MP Sir Bernard Jenkin, who is chair of the Commons Liaison Committee, has said that the David Cameron lobbying row reflects a culture of “a very casual way of running governments”.

Asked about the former prime minister’s statement, he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Well, he is clearly feeling acutely embarrassed.

“And in some respects, he is reflecting a culture of a very casual way of running governments and running the country that didn’t start with David Cameron; ‘sofa government’ long pre-dated David Cameron.

“This very informal way of conducting relationships about very important matters and the distribution of public money, well I don’t think the public thinks that’s acceptable.

“But I am not going to pass judgment on David Cameron, I think in some respects it’s a distraction.”

He added: “What is more important is not who is lobbying, and even if you have a five-year ban as suggested by Gordon Brown, is it OK for an ex-prime minister to start lobbying after six years?

“You can’t make laws stretch far into the future to bind people to previous employment, it just doesn’t work.” 

A new cross-party group comprising of MPs, business leaders and economic experts is being established to scrutinise of the UK’s trade deals with Europe and the rest of the world.

The Trade and Business Commission will be co-convened by Labour MP Hilary Benn and the chairman of Virgin Group, Peter Norris.

It will bring together 11 MPs from nine parties in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and will initially assess the economic impact of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement and other UK trade deals.

The group will also take written and oral evidence from expert witnesses, businesses and the public to assess how the changes have affected the UK economy, from financial services to manufacturing.

Roger Gale, a Tory MP on the panel, said the group would study how small businesses are “bearing the brunt of new red tape at our borders”.

Boris Johnson will not prevent a second Scottish independence referendum if the SNP wins a majority at next month’s Holyrood election, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has said.

The prime minister has so far opposed calls for another referendum, arguing that the 2014 vote was a once-in-a-generation event, and the Scottish Conservatives are campaigning on opposing a second vote.

However, Ms Sturgeon told The Guardian that she believed the UK government’s discussions on the matter had moved from opposing a referendum to discussing when and how it should take place.

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Tributes will be paid to Prince Philip, who died on Friday aged 99, in the Scottish and Welsh parliaments from 11.00am, in the Northern Ireland Assembly after noon and by MPs at the House of Commons from 2.30pm today.

The prime minister will lead the session as the Commons reconvenes a day early after its Easter break.

Mr Johnson and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer have agreed to suspend campaigning for the 6 May elections for a period of mourning, and ministers will also cancel planned interviews, visits and non-urgent announcements.

Boris Johnson has urged the public to “behave responsibly” when pub gardens reopen and restaurants resume outdoor dining in a major easing of England’s coronavirus lockdown.

Shops deemed non-essential will also reopen on Monday, as will hairdressers, indoor gyms, swimming pools, nail salons and zoos in another stride back towards normality.

However, social mixing indoors will remain heavily restricted, with around two in five adults yet to receive their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine and the vast majority yet to get both.

Here is the story.

And here is more on what else is opening and when.

Boris Johnson’s Brexit trade deal with the EU has put the future of many exporting businesses at risk, writes our political editor, Andrew Woodcock, with 41 per cent reporting decreased overseas sales in the first three months of the new arrangements, according to a new survey by one of the UK’s leading business organisations.

The British Chambers of Commerce called on the UK government to get back round the table with the EU for fresh negotiations to lower some of the barriers to trade created by Mr Johnson’s Christmas Eve Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA).

While some of the collapse in trade with continental Europe was due to the Covid pandemic, the BCC said many firms were blaming Brexit for shipping delays, increased cost of transporting goods and extensive new paperwork requirements.

Here is the story.

Gordon Brown said that tougher rules could be needed to prevent former prime ministers and ministers lobbying in the wake of the David Cameron-Greensill row.

“I can’t comment on the individual detail of this, but for me there are principles about public service – it cannot ever become a platform for private gain,” Mr Brown told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“Ministers must never be lobbying, former ministers, prime ministers, must never be lobbying for commercial purposes.

Current ministers should not be entertaining such lobbying.

“And if we can’t succeed in achieving this stopping by the sort of flexibility of the rules, we are going to have to pass laws to make sure that at least for say five years, no serving or former prime minister or minister, is ever lobbying for any commercial purpose within government.

“It simply brings public service into disrepute.”

The lobbying row involving the former PM gained momemtum over the weekend when it emerged David Cameron had pushed Greensill’s case with Downing Street and the health secretary, Matt Hancock.

The supply-chain finance company was rejected for the Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility despite Mr Cameron repeatedly sending private texts to the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, pleading for the scheme to be amended so Greensill could qualify.

Records released by the Treasury this week showed that on one occasion Mr Sunak responded to say he had “pushed” officials to explore possible options.

On Sunday, it emerged that the former premier emailed a senior special adviser to Boris Johnson within hours of the rejection to argue that it was “nuts” for Greensill to be excluded and urging the government to reconsider.

Here is that story.

First off, more on the escalating lobbying row that has forced David Cameron to comment publicly after weeks of silence.

In a lengthy statement, he insisted he broke no rules over his work for the failed finance firm Greensill, but admitted he should have communicated with the government “through only the most formal of channels”.

The former prime minister, making his first public statement since the controversy broke last month, said he understood public concern about his contact, including by text message and email, with cabinet ministers including Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, and Matt Hancock, the health secretary.

However, while acknowledging that he should have acted differently “so there can be no room for misinterpretation”, he claimed that “many of the allegations that have been made about these issues are not correct”.

Here is the full story.

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– April 12, 2021
David Cameron 2021 apologises as he breaks silence on Greensill collapse