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Lex Greensill given ‘extraordinarily privileged’ No 10 access, inquiry finds

The Guardian - Thu Jul 22 10:00

The businessman Lex Greensill was given “extraordinarily privileged” access to Downing Street while the government’s process for managing lobbying is insufficiently transparent and allows access to a “privileged few”, a report into the Greensill lobbying scandal commissioned by the prime minister has concluded.

The former prime minister David Cameron and the late cabinet secretary Jeremy Heywood have been criticised in the 141-page review drawn up by the City solicitor Nigel Boardman.

Cameron “understated” the nature of his relationship with Greensill when lobbying officials, the report said.

A covering memo to the prime minister in 2012 points to Lord Heywood as the person primarily responsible for Greensill being given a role in government, the report claims.

Boardman, 70, was appointed in April to run an independent investigation into government contracts and lobbying involving a number of senior Conservative politicians including Cameron, the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, the MP and former health secretary Matt Hancock and the peer Francis Maude.

It appeared the supply chain financier Greensill had been given privileged access to Downing Street when Cameron was prime minister and Heywood was cabinet secretary. After leaving government, Cameron became an adviser to Greensill Capital and lobbied ministers including Sunak for access to government-backed loans.

Critics will question why Lord Maude and current ministers appear to have escaped criticism while Heywood, who died in 2018, has been criticised. His wife, Suzanne Heywood has claimed Boardman should not have been in charge of the inquiry because of his close relationship with the government and the Conservative party - he has been a non-executive director at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and is a former Tory party candidate.