Ex-PM David Cameron has ‘all but abandoned’ plans for a £750million UK-China investment fund


Ex-prime minister David Cameron has ‘all but abandoned’ plans for a £750million UK-China investment fund amid rapidly cooling relationship between London and Beijing

  • Mr Cameron had high hopes of launching £750m UK-China investment fund
  • It would capitalise on Beijing’s ever increasing economic might
  • But four years after first being mentioned the scheme has been put on ice 
  • Relations between London and Beijing have cooled over Hong Kong and Huawei 
  • Cameron spokesman told the FT: ‘The UK-China fund has yet to be established.’ 

As prime minister, David Cameron hailed a new ‘golden era’ of financial relations between the UK and China as he went for a pint with President Xi.

But the thaw between the Communist Eastern giant and capitalist West he envisioned in 2015 has failed to materialise, leaving him facing another lost opportunity to make millions. 

Mr Cameron, who is heavily embroiled in the Greensill Capital lobbying row, had high hopes of launching a £750milllion UK-China investment fund, to capitalise on Beijing’s ever increasing economic might.

But plans for the scheme first discussed in 2017, to be set up with Tory peer Lord Chadlington, have been put on ice as the two nations clash over issues including spying, political freedom in Hong Kong and genocide of China’s Uighur Muslims.

A spokesman for Mr Cameron, who was prime minister from 2010 to 2016, told the Financial Times: ‘The UK-China fund has yet to be established.’ 

Mr Cameron enjoying a beer with President Xi during a state visit to Britain in 2015. But relations between the nations have cooled significantly since

Plans for the scheme first discussion in 2017, to be set up with Tory peer Lord Chadlington, have been put on ice as the two nations clash over issues including spying, political freedom in Hong Kong (above) and genocide of China's Uighur Muslims.

Plans for the scheme first discussion in 2017, to be set up with Tory peer Lord Chadlington, have been put on ice as the two nations clash over issues including spying, political freedom in Hong Kong (above) and genocide of China’s Uighur Muslims.

Mr Cameron flew to Beijing in September 2017 to discuss the plan with China’s Vice Premier Ma Kai.

In October that year – 15 months after stepping down as PM – he met with Philip Hammond, the then Chancellor, and two months later the Treasury gave its crucial support for the fund for which Mr Cameron was to be vice-chairman.

By January 2018, Mr Cameron was back in Beijing, this time for talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping about the initiative which could potentially net him millions.

‘Excellent meeting & enjoyable dinner with President Xi Jinping in Beijing, to talk about the ‘Golden Era’ in UK-China relations & plans for the new UK-China Fund,’ he tweeted at the time.

Under the ministerial code, former PMs and Ministers are banned from lobbying the Government for two years after leaving office.

It prompted calls last month for the inquiry into Greensill to be extended to cover the fund.

Mr Cameron has already been cleared of breaching lobbying rules on behalf of Greensill before it went bust. 

The regulator accepted that he worked for the firm as an employee rather than as a paid consultant.

But Mr Cameron has acknowledged he should have communicated with ministers via formal channels, rather than texting senior figures like Rishi Sunak.

Number 10 has commissioned a Cabinet Office probe into ‘the development and use of supply chain finance and associated activities in Government, and the role Greensill played in those’.

The review will look at how contracts were secured and ‘how business representatives engaged with Government’ amid a furore over the text messages, in which Mr Cameron asked for emergency Covid aid to stop Greensill collapsing.

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