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Latest 17 April 2021

Lobbying scandal

The Greensill scandal has once again exposed cronyism right at the heart of Government. The more we learn, the more shocking the revelations become. 

The former Prime Minister David Cameron used cosy back channels to lobby Rishi Sunak for taxpayer-funded grants for Greensill, a company in which he held lucrative shares. A top civil servant, responsible for all Government procurement, took a job as an advisor for Greensill whilst unbelievably continuing to work in Government. The Chair of the Government lobbying watchdog, responsible for regulating this mess, failed to declare that he himself is the president of lobby group The Enterprise Forum, which boasts of connections to Government. 

Whilst this particular scandal has laid bare the special access and perks enjoyed by those who have friends in high places, it doesn’t come as a surprise. For many in Government, the Greensill scandal is just business as usual. 

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In the face of such blatant disregard of basic fairness and respect for our democracy, it would be easy to become despondent. Instead, with the support of thousands of you, we are pushing back:

  • We are suing Government over the award of lucrative PPE contracts, including to companies with political connections. The case will be heard in the High Court next month.
  • We are challenging the Cabinet Office for handing out market research contracts to not one but two companies with close ties to Dominic Cummings. We await the final judgment from the Court in relation to a contract handed to Public First. 
  • With Runnymede Trust, we are challenging the culture of cronyism that means top public sector jobs are handed out based on who you know, not what you can do. The litigation challenges the appointment of Dido Harding, amongst others. We have now been granted permission for this case to be heard.
  • We are challenging the award of a whopping £22.6 million contract, awarded without competition to Bunzl Healthcare. Lord Feldman, former Conservative Party Chair, worked as an unpaid adviser to Health Minister Lord Bethell last year – whilst also running a lobbying firm. One of the clients of that lobbying firm was – you guessed it – Bunzl Healthcare. And next week will see the launch of further litigation – involving the award of a vast contract to a company represented by a man with links to No.10.

Going up against the significant resources of the state is not easy. But the alternative, of allowing those in power to continue to benefit from rampant cronyism, is simply not an option. 

It is only with your support that we can continue to hold Government to account. If you would like to make a donation, you can do so here.