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.