Brexit news – live: No 10 launch probe into Cameron’s lobbying, as talks held over NI protocol after riots

Gordon Brown calls for tougher lobbying rules in wake of David Cameron-Greensill row

Downing Street has announced an investigation into David Cameron‘s lobbying of ministers while working for the collapsed financial firm Greensill capital.

The former prime minister had contact with chancellor Rishi Sunak and health secretary Matt Hancock but has accepted he should have communicated with the government “through only the most formal of channels”.

There is no suggestion Mr Cameron broke any rules while lobbying for the firm, although he has faced heavy criticism for allegedly giving Lex Greensill, the firm’s boss, far-reaching access to his government.

Elsewhere, talks are underway aimed at resolving problems related to the Northern Ireland protocol after disorder and violence blighted the region throughout much of the last week.

UK and EU officials are said to be examining how issues related to the post-Brexit agreement, which has drawn a de facto border down the Irish sea, can be addressed, Ireland’s national broadcaster RTE reported.

Meanwhile, Boris Johnson’s Brexit trade deal with the EU has put the future of many exporting businesses at risk, with 41 per cent reporting decreased overseas sales in the first three months of the new arrangements, according to a new survey by one of the UK’s leading business organisations.

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‘They say you should never meet your heroes – Shirley Williams was an exception’

MP and former Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron tweeted: “They say you should never meet your heroes – Shirley Williams was an exception.

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“She was joyful, inspiring, gentle, decent, tough, brave and determined. She was unique with gracious humility and star quality all at the same time. A lovely friend and an inspiring mentor.” 

Tom Batchelor12 April 2021 16:19


Tributes to Shirley Williams: ‘A liberal lion and a true trailblazer’

MPs have begun paying tribute to the former Lib Dem peer Shirley Williams following her death on Monday, aged 90.

Tom Batchelor12 April 2021 16:05


Former minister Shirley Williams dies, aged 90

The former minister and Liberal Democrat peer, Baroness Williams of Crosby, has died, aged 90. 

Baroness Shirley, who stepped down as a Lib Dem peer in 2016 after 50 years in politics, was a founding member of the Social Democratic Party.

Tom Batchelor12 April 2021 15:45


SNP showing ‘lack of urgency’ over Scottish independence

Alex Salmond has accused the SNP are showing a “lack of urgency” over Scottish independence.

The leader of the new nationalist Alba Party said they were going to tackle the “constitutional debate” following the suspension of the election campaign in the wake of the death of the Duke of Edinburgh.

Mr Salmond has made one of his first overt broadsides against his former party and more specifically his former deputy.

Nicola Sturgeon has previously said she hopes another referendum on independence would take place in the first half of the parliamentary term – which would be by the end of November 2023 – however she told journalists last week that would not be the case if the country was still in the grip of a pandemic.

In a statement released on Monday, Mr Salmond said: “Nicola Sturgeon’s comments last week about an independence referendum in 2023 or later have caused total consternation in the national movement.

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“It seems to be that Scotland will not be free until after 2023, more seriously it seems to indicate a lack of urgency on bringing the independence question to a decision.”

Tom Batchelor12 April 2021 15:32


MPs begin Philip tributes

MPs are beginning a session paying tribute to Prince Philip.

Boris Johnson said the Duke of Edinburgh’s work setting up the eponymous youth awards scheme “touched the lives of millions” while as a husband he had offered his “unstinting” support to the Queen.

Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, paid tribute to a “life well-lived, a life of service and duty, a life that shaped modern Britain”.

Tom Batchelor12 April 2021 15:13


Who will lead lobbying probe?

Downing Street announced that lawyer Nigel Boardman is due to lead the probe into the lobbying activity of the former prime minister, David Cameron.

Mr Boardman is a non-executive board member of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy who has previously conducted a review of Cabinet Office procurement processes.

He is also a vice president of Save the Children UK, a deputy chairman of the British Museum and serves in an ambassadorial role as chair of the multinational law firm Slaughter and May’s Africa practice.

Tom Batchelor12 April 2021 14:45


Too early for Prince Philip memorial decision, says No 10

Downing Street said it was too early to consider proposals for a lasting memorial to the Duke of Edinburgh’s life.

The prime minister’s official spokesman said “we will want to look carefully at all the proposals that have been set out” but “it’s not right, while we are in this period of mourning” while the focus was on funeral preparations to consider a memorial.

“There will be a time to rightly consider longer-term tributes,” the spokesman said.

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Ideas which have been suggested include renaming the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, where the duke first met the Queen.

Tom Batchelor12 April 2021 14:12


Cameron must appear before parliament to address Greensill lobbying scandal, Labour says

David Cameron must appear before MPs in parliament to address questions about his lobbying activities for Greensill Capital, Labour has said.

Shadow chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Rachel Reeves said Downing Street’s investigation risked “kicking bad behaviour into the long grass”.

She said: “Just as with the inquiry into Priti Patel’s alleged bullying, this is another Conservative Government attempt to push bad behaviour into the long grass and hope the British public forgets. The Conservatives can’t be trusted to yet again mark their own homework.”

Ms Reeves added: “We need answers on Greensill now – that means key players in this cronyism scandal like David Cameron, Rishi Sunak and Matt Hancock appearing openly in front of Parliament as soon as possible to answer questions.”

Matt Mathers12 April 2021 13:52


Protocol talks ‘constructive’ but issues remain, No 10 says

UK-EU talks aimed at resolving Brexit’s Northern Ireland protocol are “constructive” but “significant differences remain”, No 10 has said.

The prime minister’s spokesman told reporters on Monday there were a number of issues that still “need to be resolved”.

Lord Frost, Britain’s lead on Brexit, had spoken to European Commission vice president Maros Sefcovic on Friday.

Matt Mathers12 April 2021 13:41


No 10 orders investigation into David Cameron’s lobbying of ministers

Our deputy politics editor, Rob Merrick and Whitehall editor, Kate Devlin, have more details on this developing story:

Matt Mathers12 April 2021 13:35


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