'Lessons to be learned' over UK lobbying row: ex-PM Cameron

London (AFP) –


Britain's former prime minister David Cameron, under fire for having sought government help for a finance firm he represented, acknowledged Sunday that he should have gone through formal channels.

But he stressed that he had not broken any rules nor any code of conduct.

The affair has also led finance minister Rishi Sunak to defend himself against suggestions he broke ministerial rules by exploring state help for bankrupt finance company Greensill at Cameron's request.

"In my representations to Government, I was breaking no codes of conduct and no government rules," said Cameron in his statement Sunday.

His lobbying efforts had been unsuccessful and had not led to a change in government policy, he pointed out.

But he added: "However, I have reflected on this at length. There are important lessons to be learnt.

"As a former prime minister, I accept that communications with government need to be done through only the most formal of channels, so there can be no room for misinterpretation."

The collapse last month of British company Greensill sparked panic and threatened 50,000 jobs, in particular at the sprawling steel empire of Indian-British billionaire Sanjeev Gupta.

Greensill specialised in short-term corporate loans via a complex and opaque business model. According to the Treasury, Greensill approached officials to gain access to the government's emergency Covid Corporate Finance Facility (CCFF).

Sunak's exchanges with Cameron were revealed following an official request from lawmaker Anneliese Dodds, finance spokeswoman for the main opposition Labour party.

In March Cameron, the former Conservative Party who led Britain between 2010 and 2016, was exonerated by Britain's lobbying watchdog over his Greensill links.

The Registrar of Consultant Lobbyists ruled that Cameron was a Greensill employee and was therefore not required to declare himself on the register of consultant lobbyists.