Archbishop urges public to show 'forgiveness' to politicians

Archbishop urges public to show 'forgiveness' to politicians

04/23/2021

Archbishop of Canterbury urges public to show ‘forgiveness and compassion’ to politicians – and says standards are much higher in Westminster than they used to be

  • Justin Welby agreed it was wrong to ‘help out chums or lobby inappropriately’ 
  • But insisted moral standards are higher in Westminster than they used to be
  • Comes as series of investigations launched into David Cameron and Greensill 

The Archbishop of Canterbury has urged the public to show ‘forgiveness and compassion’ to politicians amid growing sleaze allegations.

Justin Welby agreed it was wrong to ‘help out your chums or lobby inappropriately’.

But he insisted moral standards are much higher in Westminster than they used to be.

It comes as a series of investigations have been launched into the role David Cameron played in securing Whitehall access for Lex Greensill, whose firm Greensill Capital collapsed earlier this year, putting thousands of jobs at risk, particularly in the steel sector. 

Justin Welby agreed it was wrong to ‘help out your chums or lobby inappropriately’

It comes as a series of investigations have been launched into the role David Cameron played in securing Whitehall access for Lex Greensill, whose firm Greensill Capital collapsed earlier this year, putting thousands of jobs at risk, particularly in the steel sector

The Archbishop, a former oil company executive, said: ‘If you’re going to raise standards, you need to have a strong ethic of forgiveness and compassion and understanding.

‘We have raised our standards and raised our standards and of course it’s not right to help out your chums or lobby inappropriately or whatever it happens to be. But the standards now are at a level that no 19th-century politician would have survived for one week.’

He told the BBC’s Political Thinking podcast: ‘So, it’s not that morality has disappeared, it’s that morality has got much more sting and bite than it ever used to.’ He added: ‘Let’s not pretend that politicians are worse – if anything, they’re better.’

The Archbishop said: ‘If we want perfect politicians we won’t have anyone sitting in the House of Commons.’ 


A series of investigations have been launched into the role Mr Cameron played in securing Whitehall access for Lex Greensill (right). it emerged Mr Cameron sent text messages to the Chancellor (left) as he sought to gain access to Government-backed coronavirus loans.

Mr Cameron sent text messages to Chancellor Rishi Sunak as he sought to gain access to Government-backed coronavirus loans for his employer Greensill.

The Prime Minister has asked lawyer Nigel Boardman to investigate after it emerged that former government procurement chief Bill Crothers worked as an adviser for Greensill Capital while in his Whitehall job.

Greensill, which collapsed in March, also employed Mr Cameron, who lobbied ministers on behalf of the firm. He was cleared of any rule breaking earlier this month. The cross-party panel of MPs also want to question Mr Greensill.

The Bank of England, Financial Conduct Authority and UK Government Investments also faced questions in the probe into the failure of Greensill and its attempts to lobby the Government.

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