UK Prime Minister defends British civil service as lobbying row continues

Greensill, which collapsed in March, employed former UK prime minister David Cameron – who lobbied ministers on behalf of the firm.
UK Prime Minister defends British civil service as lobbying row continues

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has insisted there are not ‘loads of people’ working in the Civil Service while also employed by a business. Picture: John Stillwell/PA

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has sought to play down the extent of links between Whitehall and the private sector, insisting there are not “loads of people” working as civil servants while also employed by a business.

The UK Prime Minister has asked lawyer Nigel Boardman to investigate after it emerged that former government procurement chief Bill Crothers worked as an adviser for Greensill Capital while in his Whitehall job.

Greensill, which collapsed in March, also employed former UK prime minister David Cameron – who lobbied ministers on behalf of the firm.

Boris Johnson said he had not had any recent contact with David Cameron (David Parry/PA)

Mr Johnson, who said he has had no recent contact with Mr Cameron, said Mr Boardman will look at “the whole thing” after a series of organisations announced investigations into the lobbying row.

The UK Prime Minister told reporters on a campaign visit to Gloucestershire, England: “I just want to stress one thing to people who are sort of vaguely tuning in to this.

“People should not, in my view, form the impression that the upper echelons of the British Civil Service have got loads of people who are double-hatting, as it were, doing two jobs – it just isn’t true.

“We’ve got one of the best civil services in the world.

“They are fantastically hard-working people, they have been doing an amazing job throughout this Covid pandemic, apart from anything else, and I just wouldn’t want people to get that impression. It is simply not the case.”

UK Cabinet Secretary Simon Case last week ordered Whitehall department chiefs to declare any instances of senior officials performing dual roles outside the Civil Service.

A series of investigations have now been launched into the role Mr Cameron played in securing Whitehall access for Lex Greensill, whose firm was selected as an intermediary lender for some UK Government Covid-19 support loans at the start of the pandemic, and whose collapse now risks thousands of jobs, particularly in the steel sector.

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