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Greensill lobbying scandal: the full list of inquiries

Jessica Elgot Deputy political editor and Peter Walker
·3-min read
Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA
Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA

The collapse of Greensill Capital and the extent of its lobbying operation are now the subject of a number of inquiries, including independent and parliamentary investigations. It is likely that powerful figures involved in the scandal such as David Cameron, as well as ministers such as Rishi Sunak and Matt Hancock, could be called to give evidence – including publicly.

Cameron has said he is prepared to cooperate with official inquiries, once their terms of reference are published. Here are the inquiries that will take place:

Independent inquiry ordered by No 10

The review, chaired by the corporate lawyer Nigel Boardman, was ordered by Boris Johnson on Thursday. It is tasked with looking at three areas: the role of the founder of Greensill Capital, Lex Greensill, as a government adviser under the Cameron administration; the development and use of supply chain finance related to Greensill Capital in government; and the lobbying efforts of Greensill over the past year, including by Cameron to cabinet ministers and senior officials.

Johnson said Boardman would have “carte blanche” to recommend changes to lobbying rules and could examine official documents, although he does not have legal power to compel people to give evidence.

Watch: The seven inquiries looking into government lobbying

Treasury select committee

Despite a move last month from Tory MPs to block an inquiry into Greensill, the Treasury committee reversed its decision and launched an inquiry into any lessons to be learned from the collapse. The committee is likely to invite Sunak to take part. It will focus on the regulatory lessons from the failure of Greensill Capital and the appropriateness of Sunak and the Treasury’s response to lobbying in relation to the firm.

Public administration and constitutional affairs committee

The committee’s chair, the Tory MP William Wragg, formally announced on Thursday morning it would conduct a full inquiry into “the topical matters around Greensill”, likely to include the strength of current lobbying rules. Wragg had told the Commons during the Greensill inquiry debate on Wednesday that his committee would start investigating, calling the committee “the AC-12 of Whitehall” – a reference to the fictional police anti-corruption unit in the BBC series Line of Duty.

Public accounts committee

The committee, which looks at value for money, launched an inquiry on Thursday into supply chain financing and Covid corporate financing facilities, which provided £30bn of direct support to some of the economy’s largest firms. Cameron had lobbied Sunak to have Greensill considered for support under that scheme, but was ultimately unsuccessful.

Cabinet Office review into civil servants and conflict of interest

The UK cabinet secretary has ordered civil servants urgently to disclose any conflicts of interest amid what he called “acute concern” after the revelation that a senior official worked for Greensill while in government. Simon Case, the head of the civil service, ordered his permanent secretaries (the head civil servants in each department) to uncover all outside interests from senior officials by Friday and ensure they were declared and examined.

The committee on standards in public life

The committee, chaired by the former MI5 director general Jonathan Evans, has said it could not directly investigate individuals, such as Cameron. However, it would review the institutions, procedures and policies in place to uphold high standards of conduct, including gaps and weaknesses. It has invited people with concerns about the scandal to contribute to its review.

National Audit Office

The independent parliamentary spending watchdog has announced it is holding an inquiry into one particular part of the affair – how Greensill Capital was authorised to issue financial support through the coronavirus large business interruption loan scheme, or CLBILS. This was the scheme the company was allowed access to, after Cameron failed to persuade ministers to allow it full access to loans under the Covid corporate financing facility, or CCFF. 

Watch: Boris Johnson ‘agrees thoroughly’ with Lord Pickles