Steerpike

David Cameron’s cringeworthy texts revealed

David Cameron’s cringeworthy texts revealed
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Oh dear. Amid a smorgasbord of investigations into the collapse of Greensill capital and its lobbying operation, onetime adviser David Cameron has been forced to release all his messages to politicians and civil servants. Cameron and his personal employees bombarded senior ministers and officials with at least 50 emails, texts and WhatsApp messages about Greensill between 5 March and 26 June last year. 

They manage the dual feat of being both damning and deeply cringeworthy, with Cameron regularly signing off messages to Tom Scholar, the 52-year-old Permanent Secretary of the Treasury as ‘Love, Dc.’ One text reads like an opening line on a dating app: ‘Is Sir John C still at the bank? Do you have a number? Can I give you lunch once the budget is done?’ Another breezily claims ‘I am riding to the rescue with Supply Chain Finance with my friend Lex Greensill’ and ends ‘See you with Rishi’s for an elbow bump or foot tap.’ Still, at least it appears he has learned from the Rebekah Brooks messages which concluded with the word ‘LOL.’ 

Steerpike thought it might be fun to compare what Cameron texted in private compared to his very public memoirs which were released just a few months before his energetic lobbying campaign began. One Treasury minister, Jesse Norman, received a flattering message which claimed 'There is a problem for SMEs that you can help solve'. Norman of course was the MP who led the Tory revolt against the Coalition's House of Lord reform plans back in 2012 – an event which prompted a 'red-faced' and 'very, very angry' Cameron to confront his fellow Old Etonian outside the Commons. 

Cameron's own book For The Record recalls the episode and sniffs that Norman was getting on his 'constitutional high horse and firing off all sorts of specious arguments' with Norman's claims that a Tory rebellion would only serve to help the Prime Minister being described as not 'acceptable behaviour or the action of an honourable Member.' The aforementioned Tom Scholar is notable for receiving little more than a passing mention and a single photograph despite having served for three years as Cameron's adviser on European and global issues for three years. Not that you would know it judging from Cameron's over-enthusiastic texts...

But the real venom is reserved for Michael Gove. Whereas Cameron's texts have him praising the 'manically busy' minister for 'doing a great job' with a team 'coping extremely well' his memoirs were far less flattering about his 'mendacious' former friend. As education secretary he is described as a 'Connie the commentator' who 'frequently and unhelpfully ranged well beyond his brief' and who 'became so unpopular that there wasn't just a danger to the policy but to the politics.' In the Brexit referendum 'again and again it was Michael Gove who was getting his hands dirty' who over the course of the campaign became 'a foam-flecked Faragist' and whose 'experts' comment was labelled as 'appalling.'

Having described his former colleagues like this, it can hardly be a surprise to Cameron that his campaign for Greensill to get access to government-backed COVID loans never managed to get off the ground.

Written bySteerpike

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to steerpike@spectator.co.uk.

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