Michael Brown, a longtime general partner with Battery Ventures, was just elected to the role of chairman of the National Venture Capital Association three years after joining its board of directors. Earlier this week, we caught up with Brown to ask about his new, year-long role with the 48-year-old trade group — and what issues […]
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$15 requirement is rate regulation and preempted by federal law, ruling says.
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Kranti Prakash Jha Bollywood actor shot to fame in 2016 together with his character of Santosh Lal within the Indian biographical sports film M.S.During a quick interview, the actor talks about his short yet effective character, his aspirations, and everything that matters to him.Your hit ‘Batla House’ made people notices your performance.For newcomers, perfect presentation and proper lobbying is that the thanks to entering the large game.In Bollywood, till you don’t make it high, honest money doesn’t move in.But till now somehow i even have been managing, i don’t skills i even have managed for therefore a few years but somehow i even have done it.If you've got an idea b that’s great because you've got other things in life also, so you ought to secure yourself financially.
In December, GOP state senators targeted at least three conservative-leaning counties asking if they would agree to a voluntary audit of their ballots.
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The Justice Department is investigating Blue Star Strategies, whose clients include the Ukrainian energy company Burisma, Politico reported.
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USTelecom's "Broadband Pricing Index" doesn't measure what the average user pays.
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You’re reading The Waugh Zone, our daily politics briefing. Sign up now to get it by email in the evening.Whenever journalists hear a politician sidestep a direct question from MPs, our antennae twitch. When that politician repeatedly body swerves the same question from reporters, we smell a rat. Yet time and again, ministers seem unaware of the old newsroom motto: you can’t bullshit a bullshitter.Despite Matt Hancock breezing confidently through Commons questions on Thursday morning, largely due to strong support from Tory backbenchers, there was one answer that just didn’t feel right. Asked about the claim that he told Dominic Cummings and others that people would be tested before being transferred into care homes, Hancock didn’t deny it. “So many of the allegations yesterday were unsubstantiated,” was all he could muster.At his latest Downing Street press conference, the health secretary looked much more uncomfortable as he was asked multiple times about the issue. ”My recollection of events,” he said, “is that I committed to delivering that testing for people going from hospital into care homes when we could do it.” The word “recollection” is often a red flag, but the phrase “committed” felt rather elastic too.Now, it’s worth recalling Cummings’ exact charge here. “Hancock told us in the cabinet room that people were going to be tested before they went back to care homes. What the hell happened?” he said. It was only in April that No.10 realised that “many, many people who should have been tested were not tested, and then went to care homes and then infected people, and then it’s spread like wildfire inside the care homes”.Firstly, it’s perfectly possible that Hancock made a promise but, crucially, without a timeframe. With the lack of testing capacity at the time, it would be frankly ludicrous to make a commitment that he could test all hospital discharges within days or weeks. However, one can imagine him saying, ‘I’m going to make it my mission to get this testing sorted so people are tested before going into homes’. That’s not the same as saying he would stop all discharges which lacked testing, which was Cummings’ implication.Second, UK Health Security Agency boss Jenny Harries suggested claims of seeding the virus from hospitals into care homes was overstated. These made up a “very, very tiny proportion” of cases, she said. Fortuitously for Hancock, a new Public Health England report out today confirmed that just 1.6% of outbreaks were seeded from hospital, causing 286 deaths. That’s not the “many, many people” of Cummings’ hyperbole. Care homes did suffer cruelly, but it seems the seeding came from care staff not hospitals.Still, Hancock would do well to simply disown one other highly dubious claim he made last year: “Right from the start we’ve tried to throw a protective ring around our care homes.” PHE’s official advice as late as February 28 stated: “there is no need to do anything differently in any care setting at present”. It wasn’t until April 15 that was changed to requiring all hospital discharges to be tested.What was most curious about Cummings’ onslaught on Hancock, however, was his admission that he actively tried to stop Hancock from hitting his target of 100,000 tests a day by the end of April. The chief adviser said he was “in No.10 calling round, frantically saying, ‘Do not do what Hancock says’.” Cummings’ desire to “build things properly for the medium term” (aka doing things his way, not Hancock’s) seemed to fuel the lack of urgency he himself had criticised over care homes testing.What was also notable on Thursday was the way Hancock at least opened himself up to hours of scrutiny, in parliament and live on TV. Contrast that to Boris Johnson’s five-minute “clip”, a “hi, bye!” media strategy he uses when on a photocall (usually in a key seat) to avoid a proper interview. Schools, hospitals, laboratories, all providing visual wallpaper for the evening news, and often nothing more.When Johnson was asked about key Cummings allegations, he sounded shiftier than Hancock. Asked about the damning claim that tens of thousands of people died who need not have died because of his action or inaction, the PM replied: “No, I don’t think so.” He doesn’t think so? Asked if he’d said he was prepared to let “the bodies pile high”, he just said: “I’ve already made my position very clear on that point.”With new figures confirming the Indian variant makes upto 75% of new Covid cases and is becoming the dominant strain across the country, Johnson’s judgment is once again facing a huge test. Even though a rise in cases was expected after the May 17 relaxation or rules, and in Bolton the variant cases are flattening, the “spillover” into other areas is worrying.Given the race between the vaccine and the virus, why not just extend the unlockdown finishing line by a couple more weeks to give the jabs more of a chance? After all, June 21 was an arbitrary date plucked out of the air, why blow it all for the sake of waiting a fortnight to allow more data collection and more jabs in arms? Especially when over-18s could perhaps all get a first dose by the end of June.Well, today for the first time there was a hint from the PM he could delay, saying “we may need to wait”. In case we missed the new mood, he added: ”Our job now to deliver the roadmap - if we possibly can”. The ‘probable’ June 21 final unlock of a few days ago is now just a ‘possible’. If Dominic Cummings has done nothing else, maybe he’s forced a pause on the PM that could benefit us all.Related...Rishi Sunak Says He ‘Doesn’t Know David Cameron Well’ Despite Lobbying TextsMP Rob Roberts Suspended From Parliament For Six WeeksJohnson Urged To Introduce ‘Carbon Border Tax’ To Protect UK Firms From Polluting Rivals
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Rishi Sunak has said he did not know David Cameron “very well at all” when the former prime minister texted him to controversially lobby on behalf of Greensill Capital.Cameron’s intensive lobbying of ministers and officials was laid bare earlier this month as MPs seek to understand the role the ex-PM played in securing Whitehall access for the company.Greensill is now being investigated by the Financial Conduct Authority, which received allegations relating to the firm’s collapse that were “potentially criminal in nature”.The firm’s demise has rendered Cameron’s reported tens of millions of share options worthless, and there has been criticism of how a former prime minister was able to exploit his personal contacts with ex-colleagues and officials in the pursuit of commercial gain.Sunak and the Treasury were at the centre of Cameron’s lobbying efforts.IN DEPTH David Cameron’s Most Cringeworthy Greensill Lobbying Texts Laid BareThe PM texted Sunak last April after being rebuffed by Treasury officials as he tried to gain access for Greensill to the government’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF).After being told “no”, Cameron told Treasury permanent secretary Tom Scholar on April 3 that the refusal was “bonkers” and that he was now going to call “[the chancellor], [Michael] Gove, everyone”.Just eight minutes later, Cameron texted Sunak: “Rishi, David Cameron here. Can I have a quick word at some point?”, before going on to explain Greensill’s request.Several messages and phone calls between the pair followed.But Sunak suggested that if Cameron was trying to exploit personal contacts, the pair had not actually spoken since summer 2016 or before.“I don’t know David Cameron very well at all and I don’t think I’ve spoken to him since I was a backbench MP and he was prime minister,” Sunak told the Commons Treasury committee.“It was a surprise to receive the message.” Following a barrage of texts, calls, messages and emails across the government, Cameron’s lobbying efforts ultimately failed.Sunak insisted that he would not have done anything differently in his approach to Greensill and that Cameron’s role was not important to how much time officials in the Treasury spent on the firm’s request.“I looked at the issue on the merits of it, so the identity of the person talking about it was not relevant to the amount of attention and proper due diligence that the issue got and required,” Sunak said.“This was one of many strands of work, and in fact probably the one we spent the least time on during this period.”Earlier this month, Cameron stressed that he was unaware of any financial difficulty at Greensill until December 2020, when he was told that an attempt to raise funds had not gone as well as hoped.According to founder Lex Greensill, the rug was finally pulled out from underneath the company when its biggest insurer, Tokio Marine, refused to renew its policies with Greensill.Treasury official Charles Roxburgh said on Thursday that the firm’s collapse would directly cost around £8m to the taxpayer, including taxes that Greensill owed.But he did not accept the cost of up to £5bn that former City minister Lord Myners estimated the taxpayer could indirectly be on the hook for.Greensill provided so-called supply chain finance to businesses, which meant the firm would pay a company’s invoice immediately after it was sent, therefore cutting out the usual delay which can restrict companies’ cash flows.Top lawyer Nigel Boardman has been tasked by prime minister Boris Johnson to look into the Greensill scandal.Related...David Cameron Proves He’s His Own Worst Lobbyist'Is Nothing Sacred?' David Cameron Grilled By MPs Over Greensill LobbyingDavid Cameron Refuses To Tell MPs How Much Money He Expected To Make From Greensill
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The interests of senior civil servants and special advisers should be published to introduce further transparency in government, a top civil servant has been told.
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The interests of senior civil servants and special advisers should be published to introduce further transparency in government, a top civil servant has been told.
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Lobbying in Germany, Japan and other countries is part of a drug-industry effort to counter requests from developing countries
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Coinbase hired former Goldman Sachs executive Faryar Shirzad as its chief policy officer in an effort to garner regulatory clarity around cryptos.
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Coinbase hired former Goldman Sachs executive Faryar Shirzad as its chief policy officer in an effort to garner regulatory clarity around cryptos.
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Biden still plans "bold action" to lower Internet prices despite heavy lobbying.
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You’re reading The Waugh Zone, our daily politics briefing. Sign up now to get it by email in the evening.“Make no mistake, this is a painful day, coming back to a place that I love and respect so much, albeit virtually, but in these circumstances.” David Cameron’s very first words to the Treasury select committee neatly previewed everything else that was to come: self-preservation masquerading as atonement, special pleading with a hint of humblebrag, all wrapped up in smoothly worded obfuscation.The former PM wasn’t “back” anywhere, other than his own back room, but in his mind’s eye he was back in parliament. Somehow the phrase “remote working” seemed very apt, given how distant he seemed from the details of the collapsed finance firm Greensill, and from the lives of the many who suffered in the first wave of the Covid pandemic.For it was during the height of the pandemic that Cameron devoted his energies not to helping the government tackle the virus, but to relentlessly lobbying ministers and Treasury officials on behalf of his company. As the deaths soared into their thousands last April, he made 19 calls, texts and emails in a single day: to the Chancellor, Economic Secretary, a No 10 spad, the Deputy Governor of Bank of England, Michael Gove and Treasury perm sec Tom Scholar.Overall there were 56 different contacts. That’s a lot of words about him and his company. And there were lots more words about both during his two sessions before MPs on Thursday.  First we had a flannel-packed 144 minutes with the Treasury committee, then a further 77 minutes of verbal blancmange before the Public Accounts Committee.Cameron started his working life as the director of corporate affairs for a long-dead TV company. So the wheel had come full circle and here he was appearing as a PR man for a long-defunct premier called David Cameron. The problem was that he proceeded to further tarnish his own reputation almost as much as Greensill had itself. Lacking any brutally honest self-assessment of his own, he left it to MPs to describe him as “a con artist” and “stalker” who “demeaned” his former office.In line with plenty of corporate media experts who prep witnesses for parliament, he knew that he had to have a form of early apology. “I am extremely sorry and sad that it has come to this end,” he said. But he felt the need to still defend Brand Cameron. When he said that because Greensill had collapsed “doesn’t mean the whole thing was necessarily a giant fraud”, it felt like a plea for his own political tenure.Pressed repeatedly on exactly how much he was paid by Greensill, Cameron was coy. He refused to say if his salary was higher or lower than £1m a year (a refusal that suggests it was higher), saying only it was a “generous, big salary that you might earn as someone in my position at a bank or what have you.” Yet he was at pains to suggest how little this was, saying if he’d worked at “a large bank, as some of my predecessors have done, perhaps it would have been even more”. There was even a hint of a complaint that he was not well paid in No.10, saying his Greensill income was “far more than what I earned as prime minister” (itself a pitiful £142,000 a year).Of course the reason MPs wanted to know how much he got paid was precisely to discover just how motivated he was by a cash incentive when he lobbied government. In an attempt at apparent candour that hid more than it revealed, he admitted he had “a serious economic interest” but then said his actual salary and shares weren’t “particularly germane” because his real motivation was public service.And that was perhaps the spin too far. “I have spent most of my adult life in public service. I believe in it deeply. I would never put forward something that I didn’t believe was absolutely in the interests of the public good,” he said. It was this attempt to argue that his desperate lobbying was all some kind of pro-bono charity work for the taxpayer that most seemed to rile MPs as an insult to their intelligence.When he excused his embarrassing texts as being done “in the heat of responding to a crisis”, the crisis felt like Greensill’s desire for business rather than the need to get urgent help to struggling small firms. The now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t obfuscation was endless.One minute he said the Greensill plan “would have been good for those businesses, but also good for us and I wouldn’t hide that for a second”. The next he said: “The motivation was about trying to help the government and get those schemes right.” Famously dubbed a “chameleon” politician, was karma catching up with him?The attempts to portray himself as a saviour of small business, rather than his own business, kept on coming. At one point he even painted Greensill as NHS angels, saying a plan to enable staff to draw down their salary as they earned it (rather than having to wait to the end of the month) was an alternative to “the evils of payday lending”. The fact that some NHS staff are paid so little they would need cash advances seemed lost on him.There were other awkward moments too, with his memory suddenly going hazy when asked about the German impact of Greensill, or the use of a private jet to get him to his third family home in Cornwall. He claimed he ended all texts with “love DC” yet strangely only his text to the top Treasury official had that sign-off. Most suspicious of all was he claim that his message about “rate cuts” was him being “a victim of spellcheck”. It was not about interest rate cuts (a very serious issue if he’d been told in advance) but VAT cuts. Honest.On and on it went, the cake-and-eat-it exceptionalism. He said “prime ministers should only ever use letter or email” in future, but this particular ex-prime minister was allowed to text and phone because of the “exceptional” circumstances of last year. He didn’t want to merely “be on the board of some big bank and make the odd speech around the world”, he wanted “to get stuck in and help a business grow and expand”. That sounded like an admission that, yes, his own commercial interest really was what drove him.What may irk Cameron’s critics most of all was just how similar his defence was on Greensill to his defence of his fateful decision to call a Brexit referendum. He has said a referendum was somehow “inevitable”, though most people believe it was an attempt at Tory party management that backfired spectacularly due to his sheer complacency (he even bragged to EU leaders privately in a summit he would walk it). A similar disingenuousness seemed to run through all his claims that he really was lobbying ministers on Greensill out of some kind of altruism, rather than a personal profit motive. Maybe, like many former PMs, he suffers from self-delusion. When asked how schoolchildren would remember his premiership, he said it was as someone who “has made our country a better place”.Still, having trashed his own reputation so royally, which company will now dare risk him trashing theirs in future? It may well be that Cameron has to stick to charitable and other good works (he has done impressive work in dementia) from now on. Being seen as a gifter not a grifter is always a better look for a former premier. At least, that’s what a really good PR man would advise.Related...'Is Nothing Sacred?' David Cameron Grilled By MPs Over Greensill LobbyingDavid Cameron Refuses To Tell MPs How Much Money He Expected To Make From Greensill
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Labour’s Siobhain McDonagh David Cameron over his lobbying for Greensill Capital – and the MP took no prisoners. The former minister was before the Commons Treasury committee to answer questions about his extensive lobbying on behalf of the failed finance firm he himself had a “significant” stake in.The four-month campaign asking for government support of the firm, conducted at the height of the Covid pandemic, included no less than 56 texts to serving Tory ministers. Labour MP Angela Eagle remarked the ex-PM’s WhatsApp efforts were “more like stalking than lobbying” but it was McDonagh who turned up the heat. The Mitcham and Morden MP reminded Cameron of his own promised crackdown on lobbying, when he said the industry smacked of “cronyism” and had “tainted our politics for far too long”. She said to him: “Do you understand the irony of having used them given many of us believe that the quote depicts your own behaviour with Greensill?” Cameron, who signed off a number of his texts to former colleagues with the words “love DC”, said his government had brought in “two important changes” via the lobbying act, which forced multi-client lobbyists to register clients and ministers to report all meetings. But McDonagh was quick to cut him off, saying: “I’m ever so sorry but this is a meeting to ask you questions, rather than allow you to talk for the next two hours. “You had the enormous privilege of being the prime minister of our great country. You’re one of only five people post-war to have been re-elected to lead our government. “Do you not feel you have demeaned yourself and your position by ‘WhatsApping’ your way around Whitehall on the back of a fraudulent enterprise based on selling bonds of high-risk debt to unsuspecting investors?” Cameron attempted to defend his actions in taking a paid post with Greensill, a company in which he also had shares, saying “made a choice to work for abusiness which I hoped would be a UK fintech success story” to “help them grow and expand”.  He added: “What I did at the time of economic crisis was put to the govt what I genuinely believed to be a good idea for how to get money into the hands of small businesses and get their bills paid early. “I have said that looking back and now looking forward that ex prime ministers are in a very important and different position so a single letter or email would have been more appropriate.” McDonagh challenged Cameron over his defence of Lex Greensill, who she said the former PM was “painting as a reincarnation of the late Mother Theresa”. She criticised Earnd, the wage advance app used by NHS nurses, which has since gone into administration. She said: “Turning now to Greensill’s proposals for our NHS, an app called Earnd to pay docs and nurses daily or weekly in advance, do you accept that your lobbying of the NHS wasn’t for its health but for the health of Greensill’s balance sheet.” Cameron said he didn’t “accept that or a second” and claimed Earnd could combat “the evils of payday lending”. “The idea that staff could draw down their salary as they earned it rather than wait until the end of the month. I think that could go some way toward ending payday lending,” he said.  But McDonagh pointed out that Greensill was promoting the app in some parts of the NHS in order to create a “critical mass” and further “cross-selling opportunities”  “Is nothing sacred?,” McDonagh asked, shaking her head.She added: “And of course it left Greensill free to sell to corporate entities to generate revenues and to provide cross-selling opportunities to the wider group. Not my words, Greensill’s words,” she put to the PM, before cutting him off and asking the committee chairman Mel Stride to move on. Cameron attempted to defend the “cosy” use of “love DC” in the texts, saying: “Anyone I know even at all well, I tend to sign off text messages with ‘love DC’ – I don’t know why, I just do.“My children tell me that you don’t need to sign off text messages at all and it’s very old fashioned and odd to do so.”Eagle, meanwhile, said: “I read your 56 messages and they’re more like stalking than lobbying – looking back are you at least a little bit embarrassed about the way you behaved?”Cameron replied: “The government was introducing plans to try and help businesses, we thought we had a good idea.“I was keen to get it in front of government, but as I’ve said, there are lessons to learn, and lessons for me to learn, and in future the single formal email or formal letter would be appropriate.”He added: “I think it’s easy to forget now just what sort of time of economic shock it was.”To which Eagle curtly responded: “Many of us don’t forget there were thousands of people dying at the time and the country was in a serious situation.”Cameron was also due to appear before the Commons’ public accounts committee to answer questions about his links to Greensill. Boris Johnson has asked lawyer Nigel Boardman to conduct a review of government procurement activity during the response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Related...David Cameron Refuses To Tell MPs How Much Money He Expected To Make From GreensillDavid Cameron’s Most Cringeworthy Greensill Lobbying Texts Laid BareNo Evidence Of Tory 'Favouritism' In £17bn Covid Contract Awards, City Lawyer Concludes
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David Cameron has refused to say how much money he would have made from Greensill Capital had it not collapsed. The former prime minister admitted on Thursday he was being paid a “significant” amount, but said the precise number was “private”.Cameron is reported to have told friends he stood to make £60 million from the company, a figure he dismissed as “absurd”.He was appearing before the Commons Treasury committee, which is conducting an inquiry into the ex-PM’s ultimately unsuccessful lobbying on behalf of Greensill.On Tuesday, the committee released dozens of texts and emails Cameron sent to ministers and senior officials appealing for their help in gaining access for the firm to government Covid loan support programmesThey included messages to Rishi Sunak and Michael Gove, senior officials at the Treasury and the Bank of England, as well as a call to Matt Hancock.The government has said Greensill’s applications were dealt with properly and were ultimately rejected. The company filed for insolvency in March.But there has been criticism of how a former prime minister was able to exploit his personal contacts with former colleagues and officials in the pursuit of commercial gain.Mel Stride, the Tory chair of the Treasury committee, asked how much money Cameron expected to earn from Greensill.He told Cameron it was important for MPs to know if it was “multiple millions of pounds” rather than “tens of thousands” of pounds.Stride told Cameron “many people” would conclude he was lobbying government because hiis “opportunity to make a large amount of money was under threat”.Cameron said: “I was paid an annual amount, a generous annual amount, far more than what I earned as prime minister. And I had shares.“I was absolutely had a big economic investment in the future of Greensill. I haven’t put a number on those things.“I don’t think the amount is particularly germane,” he added. “As far as I’m concerned it’s a private matter.”Cameron earned £150,402 while he served as prime minister.The City watchdog is also launching a formal investigation into the collapse of Greensill. The Financial Conduct Authority said some of the allegations made about the firm were “potentially criminal in nature”.Greensill was the biggest backer of GFG – the owner the UK’s third largest steelmaker, Liberty Steel – and its failure has put thousands of jobs at risk as GFG seeks to refinance.Appearing before the Treasury committee on Tuesday, the firm’s founder, Australian financier Lex Greensill, said he was “truly sorry” and took full responsibility for what happened.Related...David Cameron’s Most Cringeworthy Greensill Lobbying Texts Laid BareIs Boris Johnson’s Thin Queen's Speech A Hint Of An Early Election?
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David Cameron’s intense lobbying for collapsed finance firm Greensill Capital has been laid bare in 45 emails, texts and WhatsApp messages to ministers and officials.The Commons Treasury Committee published the former PM’s communications ahead of an evidence session with the firm’s founder Lex Greensill.Its inquiry is one of a series of probes, including one launched by Downing Street, as Westminster looks to understand the role Cameron played in securing Whitehall access for the company.Greensill is now being investigated by the Financial Conduct Authority, having received allegations relating to the firm’s collapse that were “potentially criminal in nature”.Both Cameron and Greensill, who reportedly claimed to be a Downing Street adviser under the former PM, will give evidence to the Commons Treasury committee on the firm’s collapse this week.Before they gave evidence, the committee published Cameron’s messages to ministers and officials.And wow, they are toe curling.Here are the most cringeworthy moments as Cameron tried and failed to secure access for Greensill to the government’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF):‘Love DC’Cameron’s lobbying began on March 5 2020 with a message to the Treasury’s top civil servant Tom Scholar.He was Cameron’s Europe adviser, during the ex-PM’s ill fated renegotiation of the UK’s relationship with the EU that preceded the Brexit vote in 2016.But that bruising experience doesn’t appear to have soured their relationship.Cameron had one ask: for a phone number for Sir Jon Cunliffe, deputy governor of the Bank of England.But signing off, he asked Scholar: “Can I give you lunch once the budget is done? Love Dc.”It appears to pay off, as two hours later a call was set up between Cameron and Cunliffe, according to the messages.The following day, Cameron texted Scholar again suggesting they could meet chancellor Rishi Sunak for “an elbow bump or foot tap”.Once again, he signed off: “Love Dc”.CAPS LOCK ONA couple of weeks later and all is not well for Cameron.On the night of April 1 he tells Scholar a decision on Greensill’s involvement in the CCFF is “getting urgent”.The next morning, he seeks to underline this point with that most desperate of texting techniques - CAPS.“Greensill do early payment in the NHS. All your Pharmacies are paid immediately {by us) rather than waiting months for the NHS to cough up. That is CASH (effectively very cheap credit)into businesses NOW, rather than waiting ages for action by banks.”Covid PlatitudesBy this point, the UK was heading towards its first coronavirus lockdown.But it did not stop the intense lobbying efforts by Cameron, who regularly addressed arguably the biggest crisis since the Second World War early in his messages before turning to the business at hand.In one text to Scholar, Cameron wrote: “Thinking of you in these impossibly difficult times. Glad you are at the helm.”In another, he said: “Hope you are staying calm”.Later, while texting a senior minister (more on this below), Cameron acknowledged they would be “maniacally busy” but nevertheless asked for help with Greensill.A Hatchet Buried?The following day and things have gone from bad to worse for Cameron.“Again Greensill have got a ‘no’,” he tells Scholar. “Am genuinely baffled.”His love also appears to be fading as he asks Scholar for “5 minutes for a call”, adding that the Treasury’s refusal “seems bonkers”.In his sign-off, Cameron makes clear it is time to round-up his old Tory colleagues for support.“Am now calling CX [the chancellor], Gove, everyone. Best wishes. Dc.”Yes, Michael Gove, who Cameron once described as a “foam-flecked Faragist” who “twisted” the truth while backing Leave during the Brexit referendum, in a betrayal of the former PM that led to these two old friends falling out spectacularly.No matter, Cameron was happy to enlist Gove in his lobbying efforts, asking if the Cabinet Office minister had “a moment for a word” and adding: “I am on this number and v free. All good wishes Dc.”Cameron also texted chancellor Rishi Sunak and junior Treasury ministers Jesse Norman and John Glen as his lobbying efforts widened.‘Key Points’Cameron was famously a PR man before entering the Commons and rising to become prime minister.And all his best press office skills were on display as he sent around a one page summary of how great Greensill is and why the Treasury should be keen to work with the firm.On April 3 he sent the summary to Norman and senior Downing Street adviser Sheridan Westlake.A day later, he manages to get the document in front of Sunak.He followed up with a text message: “Just sent a one pager that I hope clarifies things. Really appreciate your time. Best wishes. Dc.”‘One Last WhatsApp’Weeks later and we are in mid-May. Lengthy discussions, including several text messages with Sunak and officials, have still not led to Greensill being granted access to the CCFF.The discussions appear to be hung up on the fact that the firm’s work could help foreign firms with UK government cash.On May 18, Cameron is keen to address the concerns, using a lengthy message to forward correspondence from Lex Greensill to Sunak and saying the firm “can (now) guarantee that BoE [Bank of England] funds will only be used by UK businesses”.One minute later he explains to Sunak that he has sent “one last whatsapp with a solution”.But it was not one last WhatsApp.The next month, Cameron makes a last ditch bid to call on his old colleagues, texting Glen and business minister Nadhim Zahawi, who became an MP when Cameron became PM in 2010.Cameron attempts to charm Zahawi, praising him for being “v solid in the media” before obtaining a number for a Richard Sharp.In June, several messages are sent to Sharp, Westlake and Glen.But by June 26, it appears Cameron’s extensive efforts have failed.He finishes his correspondence with a text to Glen: “Thanks for your help with this. Sorry the answer is a ‘no’ but we appreciate the engagement. All good wishes. Dc.”Related...David Cameron's Repeated Lobbying Of Treasury And Bank Of England RevealedNo Evidence Of Tory 'Favouritism' In £17bn Covid Contract Awards, City Lawyer ConcludesThe Key Points From The Queen’s Speech 2021
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The man appointed by Boris Johnson to probe David Cameron’s lobbying has cleared the government of “favouritism” in the award of £17bn in Covid contracts.City lawyer Nigel Boardman admitted that some government practices, such as a fast-track “VIP” priority system for firms known to MPs and ministers, gave rise to the “suspicion” of bias.But he found no evidence of favouritism in the award of the contracts.The review of Whitehall procurement during the pandemic, published the day after the local elections, recommends an overhaul of processes from contingency planning to stockpiling.The review covered five key areas of the government’s response to the Covid crisis, taking in spending on PPE (personal protective equipment), ventilators, vaccines, test and trace and food parcels for the clinically vulnerable.Most of the contracts were awarded without usual competitive tenders, a process that ministers defended on grounds of the urgent need to get new equipment.Boardman, who is overseeing a separate review the Greensill Capital lobbying affair, has already been accused by Labour of being “a close friend of the Conservative government”.In his latest report, Boardman concluded there was no evidence of favouritism but there were big holes in processes that increased risk.“I have not seen evidence that any contract within the scope of the review was awarded on grounds of favouritism. In my view there are, however, factors which may have encouraged such a suspicion,” he said.These “factors” included the so-called “VIP lane” for PPE, a fast track email address system available to MPs and others, as well as “certain counterparties being associated with the governing party”.Other factors included delays in publishing contracts, the time taken to publish contracts awarded during the crisis and high prices paid.Boardman made 28 separate recommendations for change.“Given the amounts of money spent on these programmes, and the importance of the programmes to the national recovery, it is imperative that there is proper scrutiny of the procurement actions taken by the Government,” he said.Shadow minister Rachel Reeves, who has already predicted that Boardman’s lobbying probe will end in a “whitewash”, was scathing about the new review.She told HuffPost UK: “This barely scratches the surface of the conflicts of interest in government procurement, and the deep and troubling pattern of taxpayers’ money being sunk into crony contracts.“We need a complete overhaul to tackle cronyism, and an urgent end to emergency procurement measures.”Boris Johnson and health secretary Matt Hancock have come under intense pressure over the award of billions of pounds of public money, not least over the government’s “VIP lane” for PPE.A court case brought by the campaign group the Good Law Project heard last month that civil servants were “drowning” in bids that lacked credibility. The group has also exposed a lack of transparency in the registering of many contracts.In a previous review of the award of communications contracts by the Cabinet office, he called for better “management of actual or perceived conflicts of interest in a procurement context”.The NAO watchdog issued a withering report last year, concluding that a lack adequate documentation “means we cannot give assurance that government has adequately mitigated the increased risks” from its emergency procurement.The Commons Public Account Committee was even more scathing about Test and Trace, saying its “unimaginable” £25bn cost had failed to deliver its central promise of averting another lockdown.In response to the Boardman report, the Cabinet Office said it was accepting all 28 recommendations in full and its permanent secretary would write to the PAC setting out how he would implement them.Related...Matt Hancock Refuses To Apologise For Unlawfully Failing To Publish Covid ContractsJohnson And Gove 'Ripped Up Rules' On Covid PPE Contracts For Private FirmsCabinet Office To Probe Contract With Deloitte To Draft Ministers' Answers On Test And Trace
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