David Cameron lobbied a director of the Lloyds Banking Group, whom the former prime minister had given a peerage, to reverse the bank’s decision to withdraw support from Greensill Capital, which it later did.
Cameron appealed to James Lupton, a Conservative peer who had served as party treasurer and donated more than £ 3 million to the Tories, to urge the bank not to withdraw funding from Greensill’s supply chain financing of NHS pharmacies.
After his lobbying with Lord Lupton in January, the bank reconsidered its decision and agreed to continue providing financial support to Greensill, according to the Financial Times, which first reported the story.
Greensill, who paid Cameron millions of pounds as an adviser, collapsed in the administration two months later.
A spokesman for Lloyds said: “The decision to continue this facility in January 2021 was made on the usual commercial basis and in recognition of the importance of maintaining this facility for the NHS during the height of the pandemic.
“This program ended after the administration of Greensill and the bank was repaid in full. There was no loss to the NHS, the pharmacies supplying them or Lloyds Banking Group.”
Cameron’s evidence before MPs investigating the collapse suggested he was aware Greensill could have been in financial trouble at the time of his appeal to Lloyds. He told MPs in the Finance Ministry committee that he only “became concerned that the company could be in serious financial difficulties” in December 2020.
Cameron and Greensill did not respond to requests for comment. Lupton could not be reached for comment, and Lloyds declined to comment on his behalf.
Lupton was party treasurer from 2013 to 2016 and donated more than £ 3 million to the Tories. He was named House of Lords in 2015.
The FT said Lupton was transparent with Lloyd’s board about his relationship with Cameron when he argued for continuing the relationship with Greensill. But the newspaper quoted bank insiders describing the intervention as “surprising and unwelcome”.
Cameron’s lobbying with cabinet members and bank officials he has a strong financial interest in has tarnished his career since he left Downing Street in 2016. Earlier this year, Finance Ministry MPs said his text message and WhatsApp the lobbying campaign had “degraded” the prime minister’s position, leaving his “reputation in tatters”.