On 14 April, as the UK was gripped by news of David Cameron’s lobbying scandal, Boris Johnson was being grilled in the House of Commons. Johnson said he couldn’t remember the last time he spoke to “Dave”.
On the same day, we sent a straightforward Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the Cabinet Office, asking them to confirm if Mr Johnson had received any correspondence from David Cameron or Lex Greensill throughout the pandemic, and to provide us with a copy.
Seven months later, we are still waiting for an adequate and clear response regarding the PM’s contact with Mr Cameron.
The Cabinet Office sent us an email this week informing us that our internal review request was “still under consideration” – a position that appears to conflict with the Information Commissioner’s Office guidelines on handling such requests.
Number 10 did confirm that a search of their records found no correspondence “to the Prime Minister from David Cameron about Lex Greensill or Greensill capital”. But the wording in this response doesn’t answer our question. We asked for all correspondence between Boris Johnson and David Cameron, not just correspondence relating to Greensill.
Throughout the pandemic, it has been reported that David Cameron lobbied ministers on behalf of numerous firms, including some that went on to win lucrative Government Covid contracts. In August, The Times reported that Illumina won a £123m contract after David Cameron wrote to Matt Hancock on their behalf. It has also been reported that Cameron lobbied the Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi on behalf of the same firm.
David Cameron also introduced a fellow Old Etonian trying to sell Covid tests to Lord Feldman who, at the time, was working as an unpaid advisor in the Department of Health and Social Care.
Has David Cameron lobbied Boris Johnson too? What does Number 10 have to hide? We do not know, but we intend to find out.
We have written to the Information Commissioner’s Office and asked them to intervene as a matter of urgency.
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