Lord Myners Red Flags Lawyer Choice in Greensill Probe
Chester Standard reported that former Financial Services Secretary, referred to as City Minister, in UK's finance ministry’s HM Treasury during the Labour
Chester Standard reported that former Financial Services Secretary, referred to as City Minister, in UK's finance ministry’s HM Treasury during the Labour Government of Mr Gordon Brown during 2008-2010 Lord Myners while speaking in front of the Treasury Select Committee said that the Prime Minister chose a lawyer who is not appropriate to lead a review into lobbying around Greensill Capital, whose collapse could cost the taxpayer up to GBP 5 billion. He listed three reasons why Mr Boardman is not suitable. Firstly he has a role as a non-executive director at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. He also told MPs that a recent report Mr Boardman produced for the Government into procurement was a whitewash, and the lawyer also argued against a piece of lobbying legislation which was introduced in 2012. Lord Myners said “If the reviewer appears to be compromised, that will forever damage the acceptability of the report that is produced. I believe the review that has been commissioned by the Prime Minister should have been handled by a retired high court judge or somebody from the commercial bench.”
In further evidence to the committee, Lord Myners said that Mr Cameron’s involvement with Greensill likely won it many meetings with senior officials, including Charles Roxburgh, the second permanent secretary to the Treasury. He said “The Chancellor said he was pushing his officials, and that I think explains why there were nine meetings. That would have been a significant distraction because Roxburgh is one of the most senior and talented people in the Treasury, and it does seem tiresome at the very minimum that he was required to spend so much time on Greensill. I have no doubt that he would not have done that had it not been for the pressing by David Cameron on the Chancellor of the Exchequer and two other senior Treasury ministers.”
Lord Myners estimates that the direct cost to the taxpayer will be north of GBP 1 billion of which nearly half will come from the Department of Business’s scheme to accredit Greensill as a lender under the coronavirus loan scheme while the remainder could come from a potential help for one of the UK’s main steel producers, which has been left reeling from Greensill’s collapse.
Lord Myners, who declined a position as a non-executive director on the Greensill board in 2019, has previously expressed concern around the supply chain firm. In March, he told Financial News that the warning signs around Greensill were ignored and said the collapse was the latest failure by the Financial Conduct Authority.
UK’s Prime Minister Mr Boris Johnson has asked lawyer Mr Nigel Boardman to lead a review into the financing company’s lobbying.
The influential group of MPs, tasked with holding the Treasury and the City to account, wrote to a number of senior government officials asking a series of questions relating to the scandal, as well as the governor of the Bank of England Mr Andrew Bailey, former Prime Minister Mr David Cameron and Chancellor of the Exchequer Mr Rishi Sunak.