© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Former British Prime Minister David Cameron arrives at The Cenotaph in Westminster, London, UK on Memorial Sunday for the National Memorial Service
LONDON (Reuters) – Former UK Prime Minister David Cameron said he accepted that communications with the government would have to be done through formal channels after the dispute over his lobbying for financier Lex Greensill deepened on Sunday.
Cameron, who was Prime Minister from 2010 to 2016, made the Australian banker an adviser when he was on Downing Street. After leaving office, Cameron again became an advisor to Greensill's now bankrupt finance firm.
The Financial Times and Sunday Times newspapers have reported that Cameron has contacted ministers directly to lobby on behalf of Greensill Capital, including delivering texts to Treasury Secretary Rishi Sunak and arranging a private drink between Greensill and Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
The UK Treasury Department said the former Prime Minister had contacted Sunak and two other ministers at the department to ask if Greensill could get access to the government's COVID-19 loan programs.
In his initial comments on the dispute, Cameron said that he had not violated any codes of conduct or government rules in his representations to the government.
Ultimately, the outcome of the discussions on Greensill's proposals on the loan had not been taken up and therefore his interventions had not changed the approach of the government.
"I have thought about it extensively, however," he said in a statement to the Press Association news agency.
"There are important lessons to be learned. As a former prime minister, I accept that communication with the government only needs to be through the most formal channels, so there is no room for misinterpretation."
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