Sunday 25 April 2021 11:45 am

Boris Johnson leadership campaign aide was lobbyist for Sanjeev Gupta

One of Boris Johnson’s aides for his leadership campaign was a lobbyist for Liberty Steel owner Sanjeev Gupta – one of the key figures in the Greensill Capital collapse.

Gupta has been asking for a government bailout to save Liberty Steel, after its main financial backer – Greensill Capital – went bust last month.

Read more: Ministers must wait to see whether Gupta can refinance Liberty Steel before stepping in, says Kwarteng

Malin Bogue volunteered for Johnson as his director of special projects for his 2019 Tory leadership campaign, the Sunday Times revealed today.

She simultaneously worked for Gupta’s firm GFG Alliance as a public affairs manager, which involved keeping close contact with Westminster figures to promote the company.

She was recommended for the role on Johnson’s campaign by Conservative Selby and Ainsty MP Nigel Adams who had received tens of thousands of pounds worth of donations from Gupta.

The revelation comes amid a series of cronyism and sleaze allegations levelled against Johnson’s government.

A spokesperson for GFG said: “Malin worked for GFG Alliance as a public affairs manager between March 2018 and October 2019.

“Malin was on gardening leave for the final six months of her employment contract and was free to volunteer in her personal capacity.”

Since the collapse of supply chain financiers Greensill last month, concerns have been mounting over the future of Liberty’s UK steelworks, which employ around 5,000 people.

The government has already rejected a plea for a £170m bailout for GFG Alliance.

Speaking to MPs on the Business Select Committee recently, Kwarteng said it would have been “deeply irresponsible” to give Gupta’s conglomerate the money.

“We can’t separate Liberty Steel from the wider group under which it sits. As Mr Gupta says, [GFG Alliance] has billions of pounds of debt, so the idea that we would sign a cheque for £170m is deeply irresponsible,” he said.

Read more: Dominic Cummings to pin blame for UK Covid death toll on Boris Johnson

“We can’t simply give taxpayer money to companies that are very opaque”, he added.

Despite concerns from politicians and unions, the steel tycoon has repeatedly said that the firm is working on securing new financing arrangements.