They’re employed by Liberty Steel whose commitments to protect jobs were underpinned by the financial support of Greensill – a fundamental point at risk of being overlooked as the Government comes under daily pressure to extend the remit of the official inquiry that is already under way.
And Mr Johnson’s brazen attempts to deflect and divert attention at Prime Minister’s Questions – he was even scalded by the Speaker for changing the subject after six forensic questions from Sir Keir Starmer – will alarm voters who expect much higher standards of probity.
For, while some taxpayers will remain sympathetic to the Government’s decisios to circumvent procurement rules when awarding key contracts at the outset of the Covid crisis, such benevolence does not extend to the preferential treatment that Mr Cameron offered Greensill when PM and then sought on the firm’s behalf so extensively after he left office.
Given the extent to which Mr Cameron looked to exploit this privileged access, including text messages to Chancellor Rishi Sunak and informal drinks meetings with Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, Mr Johnson needs to be doing far more than expressing “widespread concern”.
He should be allowing the current inquiry to meet in public; sanctioning a Parliamentary review of lobbying laws and making sure the UK’s steel industry is saved as Parliament’s Treasury Committee launches its own hearings. That Mr Johnson gave no such assurances suggests that he, too, is in denial about the scandal’s threat as the word ‘sleaze’ makes an unwelcome return to the political lexicon.