David Cameron did not do anything wrong when lobbying for Greensill Capital and “meticulously observed the rules”, the environment secretary has told Sky News.
George Eustice also said current rules on lobbying are “pretty good”.
Asked about the former prime minister’s conduct, Mr Eustice said: “Has he done anything wrong? Well, on the face of it, no. There’s a review that is going on, we mustn’t prejudge that.”
Mr Eustice added: “I don’t think he took advantage of any rules, no. He meticulously observed the rules there that he himself actually put in place after some concerns around lobbying a decade ago. He put in place these restrictions on what ministers can do for a period of two years.”
The environment secretary did concede, however, that Mr Cameron might have taken a different approach.
“He himself has said that with hindsight it probably would have been better if, rather than texting ministers, he had instead written letters to set out his views more formally,” Mr Eustice said.
“He himself has conceded that with hindsight, if he had his time again, he wouldn’t have texted Rishi Sunak and wouldn’t have texted others – he would instead have written through formal channels.”
Regarding rules on lobbying, Mr Eustice said: “Fundamentally, I think the systems we have in place with ministers declaring interests with the ministerial code and the focus on that and how ministers conduct themselves in office is actually a pretty good one.
“But that is not to say you couldn’t make tweaks or changes, and also there will be a time and a place for that after these reviews have concluded.”
In recent weeks it has emerged that Mr Cameron, who was employed by the finance firm’s owner Lex Greensill in 2018 after he left Downing Street, approached serving ministers about the involvement of Greensill Capital in government-backed financial support schemes during the coronavirus crisis.
This included text messages sent to Chancellor Rishi Sunak.