Receive free updates on the lobby of British politics
We will send you a myFT Daily Digest e-mail that rounds out the latest news about lobbying in British politics every morning.
Former British Prime Minister David Cameron is being investigated by the regulator for the second time this year over whether he should register as a consultant lobbyist.
The Office of the Registrar of Consultant Lobbyists, a body aimed at improving transparency in the state support sector, confirmed on Friday that it was investigating Cameron “in connection with possible unregistered lobbying of consultants”.
The documents from the Financial Times indicate that a formal investigation was launched on about August 2nd. The registrar’s office declined to provide any details and told the FT that a summary of his findings would be published once the investigation was completed.
The revelations follow reports earlier this year that the former prime minister was campaigning for then-vaccine minister Nadhim Zahawi and then-health secretary Matt Hancock on behalf of US biotechnology company Illumina – for which he has worked as a paid adviser since 2019.
Open democracy reported in July that Cameron had met Zahawi less than two months before Illumina was awarded £ 870,000 in genomic order contracts by Public Health England at the end of April.
The Times newspaper reported in August that Cameron had appealed to Hancock in April 2019 over a multi-million pound contract with a company owned by the Department of Health and Social Care.
Under 2014 legislation, people and organizations interested in registering on behalf of clients with ministers or permanent secretaries must register with the regulator.
Cameron, who stepped down as prime minister in July 2016, has been intensely scrutinized over the past few months after the Financial Times revealed that he was attempting on behalf of the now collapsed finance company. Greensill Capital, during the start of the pandemic in March 2020.
This year, the Registrar investigated Cameron about concerns that he acted as an unregistered lobbyist of consultants with reference to his actions while employed by Greensill. The body concluded that the former prime minister’s activities did not “fall within the criteria required on the register of consultant lobbyists”.
A Summary of the investigation noted that Cameron said that any contact he had with government officials was as an employee of Greensill. “Mr Cameron has given a comprehensive assurance that lobbying is not included in any of the contractual agreements he has entered into with respect to his other business interests,” the report said.
Following the Greensill scandal, about 13 separate inquiries were launched to investigate lobbying practices in Whitehall, including the former prime minister’s behavior.
Earlier this month, one of the queries published 19 recommendations aimed at improving transparency. The Boardman review, an independent review led by attorney Nigel Boardman, asked former British government ministers and senior civil servants to register as consultant lobbyists and argued that the guidance regarding virtual and physical official communication should be clearer.
Cameron did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
DHSC said the 2019 contract was a follow-up transaction to a 2014 sequential contract with Illumina. “[It] was awarded in the right way, through the right process and any suggestion of improper ministerial involvement in the decision-making is completely wrong, ”the department said.
Illumina said: ‘Illumina always follows the correct and necessary process in its negotiations with clients. We have been working with Genomics England since 2013 when we won a competitive tender for the £ 78 million contract for the 100,000 Genomes project.
‘With the £ 123 million grant, Genomics England has once again done its due diligence and issued a voluntary notice of prior transparency (VEAT) setting out their reasoning for choosing a supplier and responding to competitors. The 2020 agreement included the sequencing of Covid samples as ‘research samples’ within the framework of the 2019 agreement.