David Cameron lobbied Lloyds director to save Greensill pharmacy deal

Bank continued funding supply-chain finance scheme for NHS pharmacies after appeal to Tory peer

Last modified on Wed 24 Nov 2021 06.45 EST

David Cameron lobbied a director of Lloyds Banking Group, whom the former prime minister had given a peerage, to reverse the bank’s decision to withdraw support from Greensill Capital, which it later did.

Cameron appealed to James Lupton, a Conservative peer who had served as party treasurer and donated more than £3m to the Tories, to urge the bank not to withdraw funding from Greensill’s supply-chain financing of NHS pharmacies.

After his lobbying of Lord Lupton in January, the bank reconsidered its decision and agreed to continue providing financial support to Greensill, according to the Financial Times, which first reported the story.

Greensill, which paid Cameron millions of pounds as an adviser, collapsed into administration two months later.

A spokesperson for Lloyds said: “The decision to continue this facility in January 2021 was made on the usual commercial basis and in recognition of the importance of maintaining this facility for the NHS during the height of the pandemic.

“This programme ended following the administration of Greensill, with the bank repaid in full. There were no losses to the NHS, the pharmacies supplying them or Lloyds Banking Group.”

Cameron’s evidence before MPs investigating the collapse suggested he was aware Greensill may have been in financial trouble at the time of his appeal to Lloyds. He told MPs on the Treasury select committee that he first “became concerned that the company might be in serious financial difficulty” in December 2020.

Cameron and Greensill did not respond to requests for comment. Lupton could not be reached for comment, and Lloyds declined to comment on his behalf.

Lupton was party treasurer from 2013 to 2016, and donated more than £3m to the Tories. He was appointed to the House of Lords in 2015.

The FT said Lupton was transparent with Lloyd’s board about his relationship with Cameron in making the case for continuing the relationship with Greensill. However, the newspaper quoted bank insiders describing the intervention as “surprising and unwelcome”.

Cameron’s intense lobbying of members of the cabinet and government officials on behalf of the bank, in which he held a large financial interest, has tarnished his career since leaving Downing Street in 2016. Earlier this year MPs on the Treasury select committee said his text message and WhatsApp lobbying campaign had “demeaned” the position of the prime minister and left his “reputation in tatters”.

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