LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he had no knowledge that former Prime Minister David Cameron lobbied Downing Street officials to help collapsed supply chain financier Greensill Capital secure state-backed loans.
The Financial Times reported that Cameron lobbied the government to increase the company’s access to COVID-19 loan schemes, months before the finance company collapsed.
“That is news to me. But, any such contacts or whatever will, of course, be registered in the proper way,” Johnson told a parliamentary committee when asked about the report.
The Bank of England’s chief economist, Andy Haldane, said later on Wednesday that the central bank had rejected requests to include Greensill in its programme of COVID financing.
“We had very clear criteria about accessing in this case one of our financing facilities, and the firm in question, Greensill, did not meet the criteria and therefore wasn’t granted access,” Haldane told ITV television when asked about reports that Cameron approached the BoE on the firm’s behalf.
“So asking is fine. And the purpose of clear criteria, is it gives you the means of saying no, and we did.”
(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge, Kate Holton, Andrew MacAskill and William Schomberg)