David Cameron’s lobbying of senior ministers and officials, who he knew as prime minister, on behalf of Greensill Capital was “acceptable”, a cabinet minister has claimed.Environment secretary George Eustice, Cameron’s former press secretary, said the ex-PM cannot be “begrudged” for taking on a role lobbying for the now-collapsed finance firm Greensill after leaving office.Eustice also claimed the current system for regulating how ministers declare private sector interests was “actually a pretty good one”.Labour said the minister’s comments showed “the government’s latest approach appears to be to shrug their shoulders and say ‘scandal? What scandal?’” The Tory minister’s defence of Cameron and the rules came after Tory MP Sir Bernard Jenkin, who chairs the Commons liaison committee which questions the prime minister, has also warned that a failure to be “more transparent” than previous governments could see the so-called “red wall” seats turn away from the Tories.A series of probes have been commissioned, including by Downing Street, as Westminster looks to understand the role Cameron played in securing Whitehall access for Greensill.The firm was selected as an intermediary lender for some government Covid-19 support loans at the start of the pandemic.The controversy follows disclosures that Cameron personally lobbied chancellor Rishi Sunak on Greensill’s behalf via text messages and was able to arrange for its founder and his former Downing Street adviser, Lex Greensill, to have a “private drink” with health secretary Matt Hancock.The saga deepened last week after it emerged the former head of government procurement, Bill Crothers, took a part-time position with the failed firm while still in his Whitehall post.The Sunday Times has now reported that Cameron contacted a former Cabinet Office contact who has since moved onto a senior NHS position to help secure a lucrative health deal, allowing Greensill to roll out its advance payment app, Earnd, to doctors and nurses.Greensill’s collapse now risks thousands of jobs, particularly in the steel sector.Shadow communities secretary Steve Reed said the revelations surrounding Greensill were “shocking” and evidence that the “era of Tory sleaze is well and truly back”."The era of Tory sleaze is well and truly back."Labour's shadow communities secretary @SteveReedMP says there should be an 'open parliamentary investigation into what's been going on' following the Greensill lobbying row.#Ridge: https://t.co/jC2xzcMCbvpic.twitter.com/t3MA9DuGeQ— Sophy Ridge on Sunday (@RidgeOnSunday) April 18, 2021The Labour frontbencher told Ridge on Sunday on Sky News: “You’ve got a former prime minister (David Cameron) employed by a wealthy organisation who is then using his personal relationships with existing ministers, including the chancellor of the exchequer, persuading them to do favours, favours that would not have been open to other businesses or organisations.”But Cameron was defended by his former aide Eustice, who suggested that the former PM should have written more formal letters to the likes of Sunak rather than informal messaging.#Marr: On Greensill Capital, was David Cameron’s behaviour acceptable?Environment Secretary George Eustice: "The key thing is that he’s not broken any of the rules... it is acceptable"https://t.co/3NZvUMb0u4pic.twitter.com/Xi2iWEP4Ib— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) April 18, 2021The environment secretary told Ridge: “I think the real point is. ‘has he done anything wrong?’ Well, on the face of it, no. There’s a review that is going on, we mustn’t prejudge that.”He then told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “I think the key thing is that he has not broken any of the rules.“It is acceptable, because it was within the rules.“The point I would make is that ministers, when they leave office, including prime ministers, aren’t allowed to take any such paid roles for two years – these are rules that David Cameron himself brought in.“He left office some five years ago and you can’t begrudge people moving on to another career.”Eustice conceded “tweaks” to the rules may be needed following No.10’s review, which is being led by City lawyer Nigel Boardman, and various parliamentary probes.“But fundamentally, I think the systems we have in place with ministers declaring interests with the ministerial code and the focus on that and how ministers conduct themselves in office is actually a pretty good one,” Eustice told Ridge.Responding to Eustice’s interviews, Labour’s shadow Cabinet Office minister Rachel Reeves said: “Less than a week since the government announced the Boardman review, ministers are openly admitting it has no powers whatsoever.Having failed to deflect the blame, the Government’s latest approach appears to be to shrug their shoulders and say ‘scandal? What scandal?’.“The public know that the cosy relationship between the Conservative government, commercial lobbyists and taxpayer money stinks of sleaze. It’s one rule for them, another for everybody else.“We don’t need the ‘tweaks’ Eustice said they might consider today, we need to tackle Tory sleaze with a full, independent, transparent inquiry – and we need stronger measures to put integrity and honour back into heart of government.” Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey dismissed Eustice’s claims, insisting that relying on the ministerial code leaves the prime minister as “judge and jury” in deciding if a minister has breached ethics standards.“I’m very worried that the ministerial code isn’t properly enforced,” Davey said.“We’ve seen (Sir) Alex Allan, the independent adviser for ministerial standards, resign and [a replacement has not been appointed].“I’d like to see an independent body enforcing the ministerial code, not the prime minister – that’s wrong.“It’s wrong that a politician should be the judge and jury of who decides who has broken the ministerial code, and what I would like to see is an independent body, just like we have IPSA over MPs pay and expenses, that could say: ‘this minister has broken the code’ and whether they can’t have their ministerial pay.“That would be the sort of penalty that I think the public would like and would rebuild trust in British politics.”Related...Voters Must Know Ministers’ Financial Affairs Before May Elections, Labour SaysRishi Sunak's Role In Greensill Lobbying Scandal To Be Probed By MPsDavid Cameron Lobbying Review Being Led By 'Good Friend' Of Tory Government, Says LabourGreensill Scandal: Whitehall Chief Under David Cameron Took Job With Finance FirmTexts Confirm David Cameron Lobbied Rishi Sunak To Help Save Greensill CapitalBoris Johnson Must Cancel India Trip Amid Covid Variant Concerns, Labour Says
Meghan Markle honoured Prince Philip in her own way on Saturday, as the Duchess of Sussex was not cleared to attend the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral at Windsor Castle.The duchess, who is far along in her pregnancy, was unable to travel to the UK on the advice of her doctor.Though she couldn’t be there in person, a spokesperson for Meghan and Harry confirmed to HuffPost that Meghan was watching the funeral from home. She also sent along a handwritten note to accompany a wreath that she and Harry commissioned for the funeral.Harry and Meghan chose florist and stylist Willow Crossley, whom they’ve worked with before for son Archie’s christening and their wedding reception, to design and make the wreath.The flowers used for the wreath all signified important times, moments and virtues that Prince Philip held dear.Included among the flowers, which were locally sourced, were the national flower of Greece, called bear’s breeches; sea holly to represent Philip’s beloved Royal Marines; and roses to mark the Duke of Edinburgh’s birth month of June. It was pictured in St. George’s Chapel during the funeral service, alongside other family wreaths:At the funeral, both Harry and Prince William publicly reunited for the first time in over a year.The two remained at a distance after Harry and Meghan’s royal step back and move to California, and the restrictions brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.Harry, William and Kate were all seen speaking with each other at the conclusion of the funeral: Prince William and his brother, Prince Harry, were seen walking together through the grounds of Windsor Castle following the funeral of their grandfather, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, on Saturday. pic.twitter.com/HDoWJhNUdi— The Royal Family Channel (@RoyalFamilyITNP) April 17, 2021Last week, both the brothers released heartfelt statements to remember their grandfather. The Duke of Cambridge called Philip “an extraordinary man” and said that he felt “lucky to have not just had his example to guide me, but his enduring presence well into my own adult life – both through good times and the hardest days.”Harry referred to the Duke of Edinburgh as “a man of service, honour and great humour” who “was authentically himself.”“He has been a rock for Her Majesty The Queen with unparalleled devotion, by her side for 73 years of marriage,” Harry said. “And while I could go on, I know that right now he would say to all of us, beer in hand, ‘Oh do get on with it!’”Related...Prince Philip's Funeral: Queen Elizabeth And Royal Family Mourn Duke of EdinburghWhat Brits Need To Know About The Derek Chauvin Murder Trial
Here's and and where you can buy Xbox Series X even though it's sold out everywhere imaginable. Get it fast.
The Sony PS5 is still the hottest ticket in gaming. These vendors are your best bets for finding one in stock.
Several Twitter users around the world are taking to the platform to report multiple issues ranging from search terms and tweets failing to load, retrieving tweets and more, especially at the time of refreshing their homepage
Twitter Support says it's fixing a server problem and hopes to get things running smoothly "soon." Reports of issues have come from users in regions including Africa, Asia, Europe and North America.
The was a big week for PS5 restock, and Best Buy may be the next US retailer with inventory of the Sony console.
Twitter users on the East Coast of the US also reported issues with the site on Friday night.
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge
It looks like problems on Twitter that began Friday night are persisting Saturday morning. People on the east coast of the US were reporting that while the page would load, they were unable to send tweets and DMs. As of 11 AM ET Saturday, the site was still experiencing issues for many users.
There’s no official word on how widespread the outage is, but Twitter said Saturday it was “fixing an issue” with its servers.
Twitter Support posted a brief message Friday night that it was looking into the matter, and updated it Saturday morning.
We know that parts of Twitter still aren’t working for some of you. We’re fixing an issue with our servers to get things back to normal soon. Thanks for sticking with us.— Twitter Support...
New investors Tiger Global and DST Global have joined a funding round for the audio platform Clubhouse.
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Squarespace is going public, Apple shares some music payment details and Twitter bans the founder of the right-wing media organization Project Veritas. This is your Daily Crunch for April 16, 2021. The big story: Squarespace files to go public Squarespace has filed to go public via direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange, under […]
The Sony PS5 is still the hottest ticket in gaming. Here are all the links you need to see if it's in stock.
Sarah Stacke / NYPL
Today, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden’s NFT sold for about $5.4 million, or 2,224 ETH. The NFT is of an artwork that shows an image of Snowden’s face made from pages of a US appeals court decision that ruled the mass surveillance program Snowden exposed had violated US law.
The image is called “Stay Free.”
The profits won’t go to America’s most famous exiled whistleblower, however. Instead, the sale is meant to benefit the Freedom of the Press Foundation, where Snowden is the president. Its board includes actor John Cusack, whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, and the writer Glenn Greenwald.
We have a winner, internet friends. I want to extend a very special thanks to everyone who followed this over the last 24 hours, and the deepest...
Photo credit should read Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty Images
SpaceX’s new Starlink satellite internet service is in a very limited beta testing period right now, but the company is already thinking ahead: as first noted by CNBC, SpaceX has filed an application with the FCC for Starlink components that would allow the service to work on moving vehicles. Big moving vehicles, that is — Elon Musk tweeted that the existing Starlink terminals are too big for Tesla’s vehicles, and the idea is targeted at planes, RVs, trucks, and ships.
Not connecting Tesla cars to Starlink, as our terminal is much too big. This is for aircraft, ships, large trucks & RVs.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 8, 2021
This would be a big change for Starlink, which right now does not even allow customers to move the existing...
Here's and and where you can buy Xbox Series X even though it's sold out everywhere imaginable. Get it fast.
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge
The Facebook Oversight Board, the quasi-judicial organization that Facebook set up to review tough moderation choices, announced today that its decision on former President Trump’s ban from Facebook and Instagram will arrive “in the coming weeks.” The decision, which was initially supposed to take 90 days, has been pushed back so the board can review the more than 9,000 comments it’s received about the case.
(2/2): The Board’s commitment to carefully reviewing all comments has extended the case timeline, in line with the Board’s bylaws. We will share more information soon.— Oversight Board (@OversightBoard) April 16, 2021
Facebook banned Trump from its platforms after the January 6th insurrection at the Capitol, with CEO Mark...
Lego's electronic Mario figure apparently started calling out for his brother after a firmware update.
The concept of “selling out” might be over, but Gen Z teens will still roast you for posting cringe — as the pop-punk band Tramp Stamp is finding out. According to people on TikTok, Twitter, and Reddit, Tramp Stamp are “industry plants.” The giveaway? Their social media is too good.
An “industry plant,” Rolling Stone helpfully explains, “is an artist who has label backing but presents themself as self-made.” In 2019, the band’s guitarist, Caroline Baker, appeared in MusicRow: she signed to Prescription songs, owned by Dr. Luke, aka Lukasz Gottwald. Reddit resurfaced that report this week. The Redditors also found that the lead singer, Marisa Marino, also has a Prescription deal. Oh yeah, and per the credits on their YouTube video, the...