Wednesday briefing: Greensill lobbying deepens |


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Top story: Crothers role has been approved by officials

Good morning all. Here is Martin Farrer with all of today’s best stories.

The scandal over Greensill Capital’s ties to the government deepened after it emerged that a senior official began working for the finance company as an advisor while still in Whitehall – and that his role had been approved by the Cabinet Office. Following revelations about former Prime Minister David Cameron’s lobbying on behalf of the bankrupt company, Downing Street sources were reportedly “deeply concerned” by the revelation that official approval had been given to Bill Crothers to start advising Greensill in September 2015 while still employed as the government’s commercial director. He left the Whitehall post two months later and became a director of Greensill, earning a stake worth a potential $ 8million (£ 5.8million). Crothers denied any wrongdoing and said such outside roles were “not uncommon”. Cameron, who was prime minister between 2010 and 2016, also denied breaking the rules.

Labor is pushing for a broad parliamentary inquiry into Cameron’s role on Greensill’s board and his efforts to secure Covid crisis funding for Australian company, which collapsed with huge debts on last month. The opposition says the independent inquiry put in place by the government under Nigel Boardman does not have a broad enough mandate and constitutes a cover-up.

Attention Covid – Boris Johnson appears to be on a collision course with many of his own backbench MPs after acknowledging that easing the lockdown would result in more deaths as the population begins to mix more freely, and attributing restrictions rather than to the vaccination program the reason for Britain’s current low Covid rate. 19 death rate. The Covid Recovery Group of Tory MPs has been pushing for faster easing due to the large number of vaccine doses already given, and will be alarmed by the Prime Minister’s warning that the vaccine alone will not bring normalcy . Scientists have also dampened enthusiasm over the reopening of pubs and restaurants in England by warning that surge testing will not be enough to prevent the spread of Covid variants. There is also an uplifting tale from India where, despite 108 million people vaccinated, the loosening of the borders led to yet another murderous wave. With the Johnson & Johnson vaccine behind schedule and countries like Australia grappling with their deployments, our health editor takes a look at how Britain’s decision to procure several different vaccines appears to have paid off.

Afghan withdrawal – Joe Biden is expected to announce later today that all remaining US troops in Afghainstan will be withdrawn before the 20th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks later this year. There are approximately 2,500 US military personnel in the country, as well as 7,000 other foreign troops in a NATO coalition. British troops are included in NATO forces and are also expected to be withdrawn before September.

Neighbors star Sharon Johal.
Neighbors star Sharon Johal. Photography: Sam Tabone / Getty Images for NGV

Neighbor conflict – A longtime Neighbors cast member claimed to have suffered “direct, indirect and occasional racism” on set in the latest such allegation to hit the long-running Australian soap opera. Sharon Johal, who plays Dipi Rebecchi, says she has suffered racial slurs and mockery, but says no action has been taken. Indigenous actor Shareena Clanton claimed last week that a cast member had to be taken off set after repeatedly using racist slurs. The show’s producer, Fremantle Asia Pacific, said it would conduct an independent review of the allegations.

Full time – Newly-forced footballer Marcus Rashford to force government to turn around on school meals is teaming up with Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge to launch a series of how-to films to inspire families to cook cheap, healthy and eat meals copious. Each recipe will cost between 25p and £ 1 and will include a chicken stir-fry, broccoli and cauliflower, and fish finger sandwiches.

Royal duty – The Queen resumed royal duties four days after the death of her husband, Prince Philip, as she presided over a ceremony in Windsor to mark the retirement of her family’s top civil servant. William Peel, the Lord Chamberlain, oversaw the arrangements for the prince’s funeral on Saturday, but is stepping down from the role after 14 years. On the peaceful island of Tanna, villagers who worshiped Philip as one of their own believe his spirit will live on, perhaps through Prince Charles.

Rabbit Premium – Thieves who have stolen a giant rabbit from its enclosure in Worcestershire will most likely try to smuggle it out of the country in order to realize any value for the ‘collector’s item’. Robert Kenny, a professional pet sleuth, said Darius, who is 48 inches long, was “still hot” and borders should be closed to prevent the animal from being removed.

Podcast Today in brief

Boris Johnson has announced plans for a national certificate of Covid status. We turn to Israel, where a similar system has been put in place, and discuss how it might work here.

Today in brief

Will I need a Covid pass to go to the pub?

At lunchtime, read: Parminder Nagra: “The landscape changes”

Parminder Nagra
Photography: Magnus Hastings

Bend It Like Beckham launched Parminder Nagra on a trip from Leicester to Los Angeles – and she’s now bound for space following her emergency room success. As Intergalactic hits our small screens this month, she tells Coco Khan how the film industry has changed for South Asians since Bend It, and why she misses the British jokes.


After a seven-year hiatus, Chelsea are back in the Champions League semi-finals where Real Madrid or Liverpool await. A 2-0 win over Porto last week was ultimately enough for Thomas Tuchel’s side despite a 1-0 loss in the second leg last night. Paris Saint-Germain showed immense strength and wonderful flashes of skill to remove Bayern Munich and advance to a semi-final with Manchester City or Borussia Dortmund. A terribly toothless England suffered a ninth loss in 14 games after conceding two disastrous goals against Canada. Gareth Southgate underlined the importance of discipline off the pitch after Leicester’s James Maddison dashed his weak hopes of making the England squad for Euro 2020 by attending a party that violated Covid protocols -19.

Team GB athletes at the Olympics this summer will be supplied with 45,000 teabags, more than 7,000 bags of crisps and nearly 8,000 pots of porridge, the Guardian can reveal. Warren Gatland has warned that England-based British and Irish Lions hopefuls stand to miss the South Africa tour unless Premiership Rugby softens their stance in a growing disagreement over the release of the players.


W Galen Weston, the Anglo-Canadian retailer who built an empire including Primark, Selfridges and Twinings tea, has died at the age of 80. Weston inherited the family business from his father but expanded it on both sides of the Atlantic into a group that also includes Fortnum & Mason and the Canadian grocery chain Loblaws. The Ever Given megaship, which got stuck in the Suez Canal last month, is stuck again. The paperwork is to blame this time after Egyptian authorities seized the ship and demanded $ 900 million from its owners in compensation for delays caused by the blockage of the canal. The pound will net you $ 1.375 and € 1.150, while the FTSE 100 should also open flat.

The papers

Front page of the Guardian, Wednesday April 14, 2021
Photographie: The Guardian

Many of the front pages pressure David Cameron over the Greensill scandal. the Guardian the lead role is “Revealed: The role of the senior official in Greensill struck the scandal”, while Time a “Top Mandarin Cameron took the work of Greensill” and the Poster says “Mandarin Cameron trapped in lobbying scandal”. the Mirror has a photo of Cameron and the company founder drinking tea together on a visit to Saudi Arabia.

the Telegraph also has this photograph, but leads to “A quarter of deaths from the virus not caused by Covid”. the FT also leads Covid, reporting that “J&J stops vaccine rollout in Europe as US agencies examine blood clots” and the is a “Vaccines for people under 40 in six weeks”. the Soleil reports on the rush for ad bookings – “Thirst in the queue” – but the Express sticks to the great royal story: “The queen wants to live near Philippe”.

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