Tag Archives: Greensill

Johnson dubbed ‘Major Corruption’ as one-fifth of UK Covid contracts ‘raised red flags’

Boris Johnson: Major corruption.

People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, as the saying goes, and Boris Johnson is finding that out for himself right now.

After he referred repeatedly to Keir Starmer as “Captain Hindsight”, a commenter on Twitter responded that Johnson himself must be “Major Corruption” – to rapturous applause:

Johnson is in no position to deny the claim that is implicit in his new nickname; today (April 22) new allegations landed, suggesting that 20 per cent – an entire fifth – of Covid-19-related contracts awarded to private organisations were “red-flagged” for possible corruption.

Here’s The Guardian:

Transparency International UK said a “seriously flawed” arrangement, whereby companies bidding for contracts were prioritised if they were referred into a “VIP lane” by their political connections, had “damaged trust in the integrity of the pandemic response”.

The group said it had identified 73 Covid-related contracts with multiple factors that would ordinarily be treated as red flags for possible corruption, such as the company being politically connected. Twenty-seven PPE or testing contracts worth £2.1bn were awarded to firms with connections to the Conservative party, it claimed.

The group said it had also identified £255m of contracts awarded to companies that had only been incorporated within the previous 60 days. The figure is surprising because the short lifespan of the companies suggests they cannot have had any track record of actual business.

The group said Boris Johnson’s government must urgently disclose the identities of companies awarded public money through the VIP lane, which was set up by the Cabinet Office and the Department of Health and Social Care in the early days of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, we have also learned that David Cameron was trying to get his grubby little hands on personal data belonging to NHS staff, while he was lobbying on behalf of Greensill Capital, in which he had a financial interest.

And the Twitter commentariat has been happy to supply multiple other examples of Johnson’s alleged corruption. For example:

One last observation: while it has been great fun calling Johnson “Major Corruption”, at least one observer has suggested that we are ranking him too highly:

As alternatives go, it is appropriate on many different levels – isn’t it?

Source: Fifth of UK Covid contracts ‘raised red flags for possible corruption’ | Coronavirus | The Guardian

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Would this firm have won PPE contract if it wasn’t represented by an ex-Tory advisor?

Buddies: Boris Johnson with Samir Jassal, the “seller’s authorised representative” who is also a former Tory councillor and Parliamentary candidate, and a former advisor to 10 Downing Street.

The strands of Tory corruption are converging in this revelation.

Details have – unintentionally – come to light of a contract granted to a firm after the Tory government bypassed the competitive tendering system, showing that it happened after lobbying by a former Conservative Parliamentary candidate with strong links to 10 Downing Street.

There are several elements of note here:

Firstly, these details would not have been available if the Good Law Project had not proven in court that Health Secretary Matt Hancock had broken the law by withholding details of contracts with private firms.

The contract had been signed in July last year, but details were not published until March – after Hancock lost the court case. Even then, the names of those involved were blacked out.

Information showing that former Tory councillor, Parliamentary candidate and Downing Street advisor Samir Jassal was the supplier’s “contact” only came to light via a second document in which his name was listed, apparently after the government had failed to black it out.

Secondly, this is further evidence of members of the Conservative Party lobbying the Conservative government on behalf of private business, and (apparently) being granted exclusive access, similar to the way David Cameron lobbied the government on behalf of Greensill Capital.

Thirdly, we should be asking how this company came to bid for a £102.6 million contract to provide PPE to the NHS. Did it use the exclusive contact system that had been devised for friends and donors to the Conservative Party – the so-called “high priority lane”?

The government has refused to say whether this contract was processed as part of this system, which tends to indicate that it was (if it wasn’t, there would be no incentive to deny it).

Fourthly, the firm, Pharmaceuticals Direct Ltd, had won a £28 million contract previously. How was that arranged? Was Mr Jassal involved? Did the firm use the “friends and donors” route then, as well?

Remember: both deals were awarded to the firm without any competition.

Finally: was the contract honoured? Contracts signed by the government with Tory friends and donors, especially in the early days of the crisis, had an appalling tendency to go unfulfilled because the firms had no experience in providing the equipment.

Admittedly, a firm called Pharmaceuticals Direct Ltd, which I understand was formed in 1999 to provide wholesale distribution of medical material, seems likely to be able to provide the contracted gear. But in the light of other revelations, we need to see proof.

Taken as a whole, this seems to be further proof that the Tories have corruptly – if not illegally – used a national emergency as a pretext for diverting public funds to their friends, donors and party members. Doesn’t it?

Source: Revealed: £102.6 million to ex-No10 advisor – Good Law Project

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Red faces over ‘RedThroat’ as reporters line up to say Greensill leaks were NOT from Labour mole

David Cameron: there are genuine concerns about his conduct on behalf of Greensill – so why is a columnist for a Tory rag trying to make trouble for the whistleblowers?

The trouble with Dan Hodges’ assertion that a Labour Party mole leaked embarrassing information about the Greensill scandal is that a falsehood can go around the world before the facts have got their boots on.

In this case, the refutations have come fast – and there have been a lot of them – but the implication that this huge scandal has been fabricated by Labour will undoubtedly be taken up by the Tory-supporting trolls for use in the future.

Here’s Hodges:

In the article, he writes:

‘It’s pretty clear we’ve got a Labour mole inside Government,’ a Minister tells me. ‘There were suspicions before the Greensill affair, but this has basically confirmed it. It’s the only explanation for where all this stuff is coming from.’

Alternatively…

Tim Fenton, over on Zelo Street, has described the Tory frenzy to find Labour moles as “Amateur hour at the paranoia bar” and his article is well worth reading.

Even Gabriel Pogrund over at The Sunday Times, who seems to hate Labour so much that he published lies about This Writer (for which the paper later had to publish a humiliatingly-lengthy retraction), had to agree that Hodges is wrong here:

I wonder whether this is a thinly-veiled attempt to unmask the alleged moles, so the Tories can root them out of Whitehall.

If so, it is to be resisted.

Tory corruption is rampant and they are hardly likely to broadcast their misdeeds willingly.

We need whistleblowers in Whitehall to tell us what these people are really doing with our money.

We should not sit back and allow them to be punished for their honesty.

Of course, Hodges won’t take any punishment for publishing a falsehood.

Undoubtedly his article has boosted sales/reads of his rag, the Mail on Sunday.

As an ex-newspaper hack, This Writer can assure you that such a boost was all that its bosses wanted.

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What’s the point of a ‘review’ of the Greensill Scandal that can’t actually effect change?

George Eustice has a record of defending the indefensible: he also believes children should starve during the holidays, asylum seekers should drown and people should die of Covid-19 rather than let the economy be harmed.

After the Greensill Scandal brought to light a mountain of evidence showing corruption at the highest level of government, Boris Johnson announced a ‘review’ – that won’t have power to change anything.

Environment Secretary George Eustace admitted the review will be utterly pointless:

Mr Eustice told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge: “This review doesn’t need enforcement powers as such, it just needs to get to the bottom of what happened.”

Asked if the government would act on any recommendations from the report, Mr Eustice said there probably wouldn’t be any.

He said: “I don’t think the review’s going to make any policy recommendations.”

Asked what the point of the review was, when it has no powers and won’t make any recommendations, he said: “People are raising questions about what happened in this particular instance around [failed bank represented by David Cameron] Greensill…The purpose of the review is to answer those questions, not prescribe policy.”

In other words, it seems the aim is to make up a plausible fairy story that the Tories think we’ll accept.

That’s about as reassuring as “Ministers ‘will look at’ ideas for new lobbying rules”.

Maybe they will. They’ll look at the ideas and then they’ll file them in a litter bin.

The review will undoubtedly find that Cameron’s activities were entirely legal and conformed to the rules – intentionally avoiding the point.

The point is that the rules are intentionally corrupt. They were devised by David Cameron to allow him to do – legally – what he did.

And they also allow any other Tory to take advantage of them in the same way.

That is the reason no member of the current Tory government is going to lift a finger to change them.

Source: Minister admits Boris Johnson’s ‘review’ of lobbying scandal will have no powers – Mirror Online

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Tory corruption is here to stay, judging by the people involved in the Greensill scandal

Snout in the trough (all right – bucket): perhaps the Conservatives should rename themselves the Corruption Party?

A lobbyist is running the Tory government’s inquiry into the Greensill scandal.

A lobbyist is running Parliament’s watchdog on lobbying.

And more people in public life are being identified as employees of the collapsed finance firm Greensill Capital, meaning their loyalties were divided between working for the public good and making profits for this private company. And this is just one firm. How many other MPs, former MPs and people in charge of other public organisations are also enmired in this corruption?

Consider this:

For those who can’t read images well, it says the government review of lobbying is being headed by Nigel Boardman, a consultant with law firm Slaughter & May – which lobbied against tightening lobbying laws.

It seems clear that the ‘fix’ is in – anyone who works for a firm that wants more freedom to lobby the government won’t find any corruption in David Cameron’s activities for Greensill, right?

Now let’s look at how Parliament got into a position where a former prime minister was able to insinuate himself into the corridors of power on behalf of his new employer and influence current ministers to provide Greensill with huge amounts of public money. Why didn’t the lobbying watchdog spot it and put a stop to it?

Here‘s iNews:

A senior member of the Government’s own lobbying watchdog runs his own firm advertising his access to ministers at the highest echelons of power.

Andrew Cumpsty sits on the Government’s Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (Acoba), and boasts of his access to Cabinet ministers.

Do you think that might have something to do with how the rot has set in so far?

And then there’s this:

Hogan-Howe – now a Lord, and therefore well-placed to put in a good word for his employers – has only been discovered because of the focus on Greensill.

But how many other firms have their fingers in government pies via members of Parliament they just happen to have in their pockets?

And how much are our MPs and former MPs earning from second (or third, or fourth, or however many) jobs with these organisations?

Yes, there’s a Parliamentary inquiry happening, independently of Boris Johnson’s Slaughter & May-led whitewash, but that won’t go far enough either.

We need a full investigation into the current employment situations of all former MPs. Do they work for firms that have government contracts and, if so, how were those contracts secured?

Let’s find out how deep the rot has set in.

Because if we don’t – and if we don’t then clear it all out – then we may as well accept that Tory corruption is here to stay; it isn’t only part of the fabric of political life – it is the heart of the UK’s politics.

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Greensill: civil servants told to declare unauthorised second jobs while independent inquiry move is rejected

David Cameron: he could almost be saying, “Don’t look at me! There’s a civil servant over there who stacks shelves at a supermarket because I froze her pay in 2011!”

The latest developments in the Greensill scandal show typical Tory attitudes – one rule for them and a different rule for the ‘help’.

So – as predicted by This Site – Conservative MPs have rejected a Labour plan for a full Parliamentary inquiry into lobbying by former MPs on behalf of their current employers. Instead, the government has commissioned a review, to be run by a friend of the Tories. It will be a whitewash.

Meanwhile, civil servants are being ordered to declare second jobs they have that “might conflict” with their rules. This is after repeated assertions that former procurement chief Bill Crothers’s second job with Greensill was thoroughly vetted and above-board.

It seems to This Writer that Boris Johnson is looking for someone to blame; trying to take the heat off his school chum and former colleague, David Cameron.

Of course, civil servants shouldn’t have second jobs at all, let alone second jobs that may create a conflict of interests with their duties in the interests of the nation.

But I wonder how anyone has the time. And it also seems to me that if they have managed to get away with this, then we still have to question the behaviour of government ministers who devised the rules on outside employment.

So if any civil servants – especially those in top jobs – are found to have broken the rules… and if serious conflicts of interest are discovered… then Boris Johnson is still going to have a lot of explaining to do.

Source: Greensill row: Civil servants ordered to declare second jobs – BBC News

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Greensill: Johnson launches government-run review of lobbying. It’ll be another whitewash

David Cameron: he acted very slick in office but it seems he simply refused to do anything right.

Labour has (rightly) attacked Boris Johnson for launching only a government review of lobbying rather than a full independent inquiry in the light of the Greensill scandal.

Revelations about David Cameron’s involvement with the failed finance firm – for which he lobbied Tory ministers after quitting as their prime minister – are coming thick and fast.

The latest is that the government’s former head of procurement, Bill Crothers, was allowed to take a job with Greensill Capital two months before quitting his civil service role.

Having made this decision, the Cabinet Office (run at the time by Matt Hancock) then decided that, because he was already working for the firm before leaving, Mr Crothers would not have to apply to Whitehall’s “revolving door” regulator, the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (ACOBA).

The former civil servant says he did not promote Greensill for any public sector business for more than two years after leaving – but what did he do during those two months in 2015?

Labour’s Rachel Reeves did the morning media rounds today (April 14), saying that an internal review would not be good enough. Considering the Crothers revelations, she had a point:

Adil Ray on Good Morning Britain tried to torpedo her by pointing out that Tony Blair took a job with JP Morgan – one of the world’s biggest banks – after quitting as the UK’s prime minister in 2007.

She responded: “If anyone has any evidence that former Prime Ministers have been using their status to access special treatment for firms they are working for they should be investigated.

“But there are no accusations.”

Mr Ray might have scored a more palpable hit if he had pointed out that Labour has its own experience of whitewashing a corruption inquiry: the Forde inquiry was originally intended to examine whether party officers had worked to prevent the party from winning the 2017 election with Jeremy Corbyn as its leader – but this was subsequently removed from its remit and the inquiry’s report has been suppressed by the Labour leadership for many months.

There will be a vote on the form any inquiry will take later today (I’m writing this at around 11.30am) – but it won’t succeed because of that 80-seat Conservative majority that means Boris Johnson can impose any corruption he fancies; his backbenchers will vote it through mindlessly, herding through the lobby like the sheep they are.

And no doubt many members of the public will believe the findings of that inquiry, drinking the whitewash like the sheep they are, even though they know it is poison to their own well-being; government corruption harms the nation.

But it is good to see Labour attacking Tory corruption at long last.

Johnson has had a free pass from Keir Starmer’s right-wingers for far too long. It is many months past time the UK’s main opposition party actually did some opposing and held him to account.

But I fear that it is only happening because Starmer thinks it will look good in the run-up to the local elections – and that it will prove to be the usual half-hearted attempt from his party: too little, too late.

Source: Greensill: Labour’s call to widen lobbying probe rejected by No 10 – BBC News

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Greensill: further evidence of Cameron’s corruption comes to light

David Cameron: does he regret his involvement with Greensill? Doubtful. Who knows what other connections he lined up for himself while he was supposed to be serving the public in 10 Downing Street?

It seems that after ensuring that a financial services firm he had welcomed into Whitehall could continue lobbying the government, David Cameron did his best to profit from it.

That is the heart of the Greensill scandal, although some of the reporting of it seems vague on the subject.

Cameron ensured that his Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Act would not stop firms like Greensill from persuading government ministers to give them money.

Then, after he left Parliament, he took a job with Greensill – and lobbied his former colleagues on Greensill’s behalf.

Now it has emerged that he stood to benefit from a £21.8 million employee benefit trust, and the implication is that this is the reason he lobbied hard for the firm during the Covid-19 crisis, when it was about to go bust.

Now that the firm has been dissolved, of course, his shares are worth nothing.

“Good thing too,” you might say. “He’s had his comeuppance and there’s the end of the matter!”

Well, no.

You see, it stinks of corruption.

We have not just a former minister but a former prime minister who paved the way for his future employers to have access to government funding, then took a job at that company in order to enjoy the profits from that arrangement.

He also lobbied the government on behalf of that company – using loopholes he had made in the law while he had been prime minister – in order to safeguard his own future income.

We have no reason to believe that Greensill was a suitable firm to receive government investment. Indeed, the government’s reluctance to award contracts to the firm, and withdrawal of permission for it to access Covid-related financial aid schemes, suggests strongly that it was not.

The social media are abuzz with this – with much of the gossip focusing on a suggestion that Cameron relied on the “old boy network” to have his way – going to former Eton schoolmate Boris Johnson (the current PM) for help:

This supports the claim that the Tories are sinking in their own corruption. Everybody in the UK needs to know about this, so they can make an educated choice on whether they want continued Tory rule.

Remember: the rest of us were struggling to cope with Cameron-imposed austerity while he was (allegedly) planning to rake in the millions with this now-collapsed company.

And while Matt Hancock, Rishi Sunak and Boris Johnson are all now enmired in the Greensill allegations alongside Cameron – and Johnson in corruption allegations of his own connected to Jennifer Arcuri, we are still struggling to cope with austerity.

The sheer self-serving greed of these Tories is a blight on every citizen of the United Kingdom.

Source: Cameron ‘lobbied senior Downing St aide and Matt Hancock’ to help Greensill | David Cameron | The Guardian

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Greensill controversy proves Cameron’s lobbying law was NOT about restricting lobbyists

Cameron: we used to joke about him often having spit dribbling down his chin – maybe he was salivating at the thought of all the money he was (allegedly) lining up for himself post-premiership.

Remember the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Act that David Cameron forced on us, back in 2014?

Some of us called it the “Gagging Act” because we knew it was about preventing some organisations and individuals from having a voice in Westminster.

You see, the remit of the lobbying and non-party campaigning part of the act was extremely narrow.

Of course, this meant it also allowed others to carry on bending the ears of government ministers, and I seem to recall that concerns were raised about high-level MPs receiving payoffs from these people in return for privileged access…

…Or indeed, taking jobs for these people – as seems to be the case with former Prime Minister David Cameron.

We need to get our ducks in the right row here, though: Lex Greensill, of financial services firm Greensill Capital, is alleged to have been afforded privileged access to government departments in 2012, two years before the Lobbying Act became law. That would not have been illegal at the time – would it?

Apparently Greensill had been promoting a financial product for pharmacists – The Pharmacy Early Payment Scheme, announced in 2012, that saw banks swiftly reimburse pharmacists for providing NHS prescriptions, for a fee, before recovering the money from the government.

Greensill Capital went on to provide funds for the scheme.

It was later accredited to supply lending under the government’s Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS), before Greensill went bust.

The dodgy part is Cameron’s role. He would have been responsible for giving Greensill privileged access in 2012.

He would have been able to ensure that the 2014 law did not affect that privileged position – by narrowing criteria to make sure that Greensill didn’t have to appear on the register of lobbyists, perhaps.

He definitely joined Greensill – as a lobbyist – in 2018 and lobbied on behalf of that firm. The Registrar of Consultant Lobbyists, investigating, has ruled that Cameron’s activities did not fall within the criteria that required him to be registered as one – according to rules laid out in Cameron’s 2014 Lobbying law.

It looks very much like Cameron rigged the law to make it possible for him to feather his own nest. That would be a serious case of corruption, of course.

He certainly seems to have blocked rules that would now apply to him.

It will be interesting to see how this turns out.

Source: Lex Greensill: Labour questions ex-adviser’s No 10 business card – BBC News

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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