Video report by ITV News Political Correspondent Dan Hewitt
David Cameron's lobbying activities have landed him in hot water, and the former prime minister is in the unprecedented situation of facing numerous inquiries into his conduct.
Labour may have lost a vote in the Commons on whether to set up a dedicated parliamentary select committee to investigate Mr Cameron's lobbying of ministers on behalf of failed finance firm Greensill Capital, but that doesn't mean he's off the hook.
An array of inquiries are planning to probe the matter amid concerns an inquiry ordered by Prime Minister Boris Johnson may not find answers sufficient to satisfy MPs.
Libby Wiener on the scale of the scandal
With Mr Cameron's promise that he'll "respond positively” to any requests to give evidence, the tsunami that's threatening to engulf the Tory Party looks likely to rage on.
On Friday Lord Kerslake, former head of the civil service, told ITV News he was "surprised and concerned" by the relationships happening between those in government, and potential commercial interests.
"There are some issues that need to be properly explored in my view," Lord Kerslake said, but added it was important to look at the detail and not over-generalise.
Lord Kerslake says it's not just about what's "formally in the rules," but also about how actions appear to the public.
Here's who and what will be investigating David Cameron's controversial lobbying:
- The Boris Johnson-ordered, Cabinet Office-commissioned inquiry
On the prime minister's orders, senior lawyer Nigel Boardman has been commissioned to carry out a probe into how government contracts are secured.
The inquiry will look at how Greensill Capital - founded by Australian financier Lex Greensill - was granted access to a Covid loan scheme for businesses, putting hundreds of millions of pounds taxpayers' money at risk.
Listen as our politics team delves into the David Cameron controversy and explore the murky world of lobbying:
Downing Street says Boris Johnson wants the review to "establish the development and use of supply chain finance and associated activities in government, and the role Greensill played in those".
The prime minister told broadcasters: "I've asked Nigel Boardman to have a look at this whole issue of supply chain finance and given him pretty much carte blanche to ask anybody whatever he needs to find out.
"I would like it to be done quickly", he said, "but I want him to have the maximum possible access so we can all understand exactly what has happened, and that will of course be presented to Parliament in due course".
Mr Cameron has denied breaking any rules, but admitted he should have communicated with the government "through only the most formal of channels".
In a 1,700 word statement he said, having “reflected on this at length”, he accepts there are “important lessons to be learnt”, but insisted he complied with the rules when lobbying the government on behalf of Greensill Capital.
- The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee
This is a Commons select committee relevant to this situation because, among other things, it examines constitutional issues plus the quality and standards of administration provided by Civil Service departments.
Tory MP William Wragg, who chairs the committee, said on Thursday morning: “It is the intention of this Committee to commence a full inquiry into the topical matters around Greensill and the terms of reference for that inquiry will be published next week.”
He stuck the knife into David Cameron while speaking in the Commons on Wednesday, labelling his lobbying for the collapsed lender as "tasteless, slapdash and unbecoming".
Before Labour inevitably lost its vote to set up an dedicated select committee, Mr Wragg told MPs "rest assured the committee is and will be giving these matters proper consideration".
Amid claims against Mr Cameron, it has also emerged that a top civil servant was allowed to join Greensill Capital as an adviser in 2015 while still employed by the government.
"I have full confidence in the members of the committee to discharge their duties and do not require a re-organisation," Mr Wragg said.
He added: "I would ask the House to be assured that we will pursue every possible line of inquiry with our witnesses and shall conduct ourselves without fear or favour."
He too made a Line of Duty reference during his remarks, saying he'd be "more than happy to take up as the AC-12 of Whitehall".
- The Treasury Select Committee
The Commons committee which scrutinises the Treasury is particularly relevant to this situation because of David Cameron's personal lobbying of Chancellor Rishi Sunak.
It was the chancellor who confirmed Mr Cameron had been lobbying ministers on behalf of Greensill Capital, when he published two of his text message responses to Mr Cameron's requests for the government to provide the collapsed bank with coronavirus support.
Mr Sunak “pushed” officials to explore an alternative plan that could have helped Greensill Capital - the firm Mr Cameron was lobbying for - according to the two messages.
The help from government was not forthcoming, and Greensill eventually collapsed, putting thousands of jobs at risk around the UK.
On Wednesday, the committee announced it was launching an inquiry into the lessons from Greensill Capital.
Mel Stride MP, chair of the Treasury Committee, said: “The Treasury Committee had previously decided to carefully consider these issues as part of its regular and upcoming evidence sessions with HM Treasury and its associated bodies, including the Financial Conduct Authority and Bank of England.
“In addition to this, we have now decided to take a closer look by launching an inquiry to investigate the issues that fall within our remit. We will publish further details when we launch the inquiry officially next week.”
- National Audit Office
The UK’s independent public spending watchdog is a body which supports Parliament "in holding government to account".
It wants to investigate why Greensill Capital was accredited by the British Business Bank to provide struggling firms with cash through the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme, given the finance firm collapsed shortly after.
The National Audit Office says its investigation will "cover Greensill Capital’s involvement in the government’s Covid-19 support schemes, including the accreditation process, and any post-accreditation monitoring of Greensill Capital’s activities".
Mr Cameron is not specifically mentioned in the body's statement.
- The Public Accounts Committee
This committee scrutinises value for money of government projects, programmes and service delivery.
Greensill had been chosen as a bank providing funds to the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS), and its subsequent collapse put thousands of jobs in the steel industry on the line.
The failed bank also provided funds for the Pharmacy Early Payment Scheme, announced in 2012, which saw banks swiftly reimburse pharmacists for providing NHS prescriptions, for a fee, before recovering the money from the government.
An inquiry by the Public Accounts Committee has not yet been confirmed, but its chair Meg Hillier expressed concern in the House of Commons that "there’s been too little transparency from the government about how it spends our money".
Two senior civil servants, Tom Scholar and Charles Roxburgh, who met with Greensill founder Lex Greensill, are set to give evidence to the committee next week.
- Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee
This committee, which scrutinises the policy, spending and administration of the business department, is also likely to investigate the matter.
This is because the coronavirus support Greensill was aiming to secure, and the CLBILS it was providing are administered by the British Business Bank (BBB).
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has confirmed the BBB is under the remit of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.