‘Tory Sleaze Bigger Than Ever!’

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NHS staff are demanding a 15 per cent pay rise. The Tories wanted to hand them over to Greensill

‘TORY SLEAZE is bigger than ever,’ Labour’s Shadow Chancellor for the Duchy of Lancaster Rachel Reeves said yesterday after senior Tory MP Bernard Jenkin warned that it could bring the Johnson government down.

In a lengthy article in yesterday’s Observer newspaper, Jenkin, Chairman of the House of Commons Liaison Committee, described the current situation as ‘shameful’ and ‘utterly corrosive of public trust’.

He warned that Boris Johnson’s ‘Red Wall’ voters, ‘who gave him his majority, will dismiss him unless he can show he is more open and very different from the out-of-touch elite he defeated in the 2016 referendum and ousted from government.’

But Tory Environment Secretary George Eustice told both Sky News and the BBC that ex-Tory PM Cameron did nothing wrong when lobbying for Greensill Capital.

Eustice claimed Cameron had ‘meticulously observed the rules’, adding that he believes the current rules on lobbying are ‘pretty good’.

However, Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Office minister Rachel Reeves told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: ‘What we’ve seen this week is that Tory sleaze is back and it’s bigger than ever …’

Dealing with Cameron’s attempt to put Greensill in charge of paying NHS workers, she said: ‘We need a proper inquiry, not chaired by one of Boris Johnson’s friends, a very close friend of the Conservative Party, Nigel Boardman, who is doing the review.’

She went on: ‘This isn’t just about Greensill. Greensill is the tip of the iceberg. There are £2 billion worth of contracts that have gone to friends and donors of the Conservative Party …

‘We’re here today because of sleaze at the heart of the government, because of David Cameron’s lobbying for private interests, because he stood to gain tens of millions of pounds if he had succeeded.

‘What we’ve seen is that David Cameron was directly lobbying the Chancellor of the Exchequer. In fact there were ten meetings for David Cameron and Greensill with government officials – and the private drink that he had with Matt Hancock to get the contract to pay NHS workers …

‘Let’s be clear about what Rishi Sunak did and I look forward to Rishi Sunak responding in public. Rishi Sunak set up ten meetings for Greensill with Treasury officials.’

Steve Reed, Labour’s Shadow Communities Secretary, said on Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday: ‘What we’ve seen so far is a couple of texts exchanged between Rishi Sunak and David Cameron.

‘In one of those the Chancellor says he will push officials hard to do favours for Greensill – that in itself may be a breach of the Ministerial Code and that in itself needs to be investigated …

‘We haven’t seen all the texts or all the secret phone calls that went on between Cameron and Sunak and we really need to …

‘They are trying to mark their own homework. The man they have put in charge of the Greensill investigation, Nigel Boardman, is on the board of a bank with very close links to the Conservatives …

‘We need an open and transparent procurement process, which is the polar opposite of what has been going on with Greensill, or the company that Matt Hancock has shares in that he failed to declare, that’s been winning millions of pounds of contracts with the NHS.’