How do we stop the next David Cameron?

One of the enduring charms of British politics is how slight the pecuniary rewards are for taking up the job of prime minister. American presidents can look forward to stonking great advances on their memoirs. (Barack and Michelle Obama received a joint up-front payment of £47 million from Crown publishing group.) They claim rock-star appearance fees in exchange for a few platitudes to sandalled Silicon Valley execs. (Bill and Hillary Clinton raked in £110 million in speaking fees between 2001 and 2015.) A stint in the White House boosted George H W Bush’s net worth by 475 per cent and Richard Nixon’s by 650 per cent, pocket change compared to

The shamelessness of David Cameron

I’m almost starting to admire David Cameron. Almost. There is something that borders on the impressive about the former prime minister’s dedication to the destruction of his own reputation. He may have been a casually idle premier, but he’s really rolled up his sleeves and got stuck into the job of trashing his own name. How many times did he use the private jets of his collapsed finance firm to travel between his houses? Can’t remember. How much did said collapsed financial contraption pay him for services including pestering senior civil servants with texts signed ‘Love, DC’? Not saying, but it was much more than the mere £150k he got

Who regulates the regulators?

This isn’t about David Cameron and Greensillgate; it isn’t about Boris Johnson and wallpapergate or Jennifer-Arcurigate. It isn’t about Westferrygate and the illegal planning approval (later reversed) given to a big Tory donor by the responsible minister (Robert Jenrick) for that grotesque development. Nor about Mr Jenrick’s department’s awards under the Towns Fund, which the public accounts select committee found had ‘every appearance of being politically motivated’. Nor is it about (Lord) Edward Lister and the late Sir Jeremy Heywood and twohatsgate, nor about Len McCluskey, Joe Anderson, Paul Flanagan and Flanagangate in Liverpool. Some of these men (the last two) have been the subject of police inquiries and one

Will the No. 10 flat criticism bounce off Boris?

Will the Downing Street flat criticism bounce off Boris Johnson? The Prime Minister is under fire this week over the refurbishment of the No. 11 apartment. After the Electoral Commission launched a formal investigation, today’s front pages make particularly miserable reading for No. 10. However, the Prime Minister has earned a reputation as a politician who is ‘scandal-proof’ in a way that many of his colleagues are not. Will this be the same?  Polling since the story took off is fairly limited but a BMG Research poll published today — taken Thursday to Monday — on the question of ‘preferred prime minister’ puts Boris Johnson on 40 per cent and Keir

Did David Cameron know Greensill was about to collapse?

On the day that senior Treasury officials and the Bank of England revealed quite how much David Cameron lobbied them last spring on behalf of Greensill for access to emergency loan schemes, I want to share important disclosures made in recent weeks that suggest Greensill was heading for collapse over many months. These represent the financial – as opposed to the political – side of this debacle, which has largely been ignored because of widespread outrage at the way David Cameron exploited his connections in government and the civil service to lobby for Greensill’s cause. What I want to focus on is what I see as the big unanswered question,

Labour’s union trouble

It’s arguably been a good week for Labour, as the Tory party becomes more and more implicated in the Greensill lobbying scandal, which saw the former PM David Cameron ringing around ministers last year to secure emergency cash for the flailing financial firm. Labour leader Keir Starmer certainly seemed to enjoy the ongoing revelations about Greensill at PMQs this week, when he said Boris Johnson was overseeing the ‘return of Tory sleaze’. Wiser heads wondered though if the Labour Party should be championing a crackdown on outside organisations influencing politics, considering its own close links to the unions… Lo and behold, that appeared to play out last night when Labour’s

David Cameron has done nothing wrong

To paraphrase the old adage, truth can still be pulling on its boots when a misconception is already half way around the world. This is what has happened over the David Cameron/ Greensill affair. There is only one antidote to that: the facts. David Cameron’s statement sets these out clearly. There is to be an inquiry, which is likely to recommend procedural changes. It should also become clear that Cameron has nothing to fear from what has happened. To see why, it’s first worth delving back to 2010, when the Tories had just returned to office. In the early days of the coalition government, there was much discussion about the future of the civil service. Francis Maude, the