Labour is calling for new restrictions on lobbyists following revelations about David Cameron’s work for collapsed bank Greensill Capital.
The opposition party says all lobbyists should be included on a government register, thus ending an exemption, for “in-house” employees, that applied to the former prime minister.
And it says a Labour government would create an Integrity and Ethics Commission to tackle cronyism in Westminster, after a series of scandals over who is given access to ministers.
Mr Cameron, who has worked for Greensill since 2018, is reported to have texted chancellor Rishi Sunak in a bid to help the bank access a state-backed Covid loan scheme.
There are also new claims that he contacted other ministers, which raises questions about who is able to gain access to government ministers.
The bank, which ultimately was able to access a different scheme, has since collapsed, potentially leaving taxpayers on the hook for loans it issued.
Labour has called for an inquiry into the episode, and has pointed out that as prime minister, Mr Cameron blocked amendments that would have restricted his work once he left government.
“Given the cronyism consuming the Conservative party, it’s crucial that the scope of the lobbying register is expanded to include in-house lobbyists,” said shadow Cabinet Office minister Rachel Reeves.
“Otherwise it’s clearly one rule for them, and another for everyone else. The former Conservative prime minister’s conduct, and the immense access Greensill was given, illustrates perfectly both the toothlessness of current rules and Tory ministers’ complete disregard for any self-driven integrity when lobbying.”
She said her party would “introduce a fairer framework for commercial lobbying” and “stamp out crony contracts while freeing up civil society to campaign”.
The 2014 lobbying act was introduced under the coalition government and created a register of “consultant lobbyists” acting for commercial firms. It also restricted campaigning by charities and other non-party organisations during election periods.