Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
  2. The Staggers
14 April 2021updated 16 Apr 2021 10:41am

How the Greensill scandal has become more dangerous for the Conservatives

The story could shift from being one about David Cameron’s texts to one about how the Tories have conducted themselves in office for more than a decade.

By Stephen Bush

The Greensill affair has widened from ministers to the civil service after it emerged that Bill Crothers “double-jobbed” as both a senior civil servant and as an adviser to Greensill for two months – and that this was agreed to by his bosses. 

A let-up for Rishi Sunak? The Chancellor gave the Commons a miss yesterday and, politically speaking, anything that widens the focus of the row to “a revolving door between government and lobbying for big business” is a welcome relief if the alternative is: “What, exactly, did Sunak text back to his old boss?” 

[Hear more on the New Statesman podcast]

But it’s not necessarily a let-up for the Conservatives if the Greensill story moves from being one about a former prime minister’s texts to one about how a government that has been in power for more than a decade conducts itself. 

Boris Johnson’s biggest political success since becoming Tory leader has been in imbuing his party with the impression that it is fresh and different: that this isn’t an 11-year-old government. A scandal stretching right across the lifetime of the Conservative government may well be more damaging than one that implicates ministers in the present day.

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. A handy, three-minute glance at the week ahead in companies, markets, regulation and investment, landing in your inbox every Monday morning. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A weekly dig into the New Statesman’s archive of over 100 years of stellar and influential journalism, sent each Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy