DAVID Cameron met with the UK’s vaccine minister less than two months before a private health firm that he advises, Illumina, won £870,000-worth of public contracts, according to a new report.

Open Democracy revealed the meeting between Cameron and Nadhim Zahawi, with Illumina represented too.

It is listed in official government transparency records as being on March 1 this year “to discuss UK genomics sequencing”.

Cameron has previously claimed that his role at the company is simply to promote the benefits of genome sequencing, and that he does not lobby the government for contracts on Illumina’s behalf.

But on April 29, just two months after the initial meeting, Illumina Cambridge Ltd was awarded a £697,788 Public Health England contract to supply medical equipment, pharmaceuticals, personal care products and laboratory, optical and precision equipments. A week later on May 7, a second PHE contract worth between £34,564 and £172,824 was awarded to the company for a similar range of supplies.

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Rose Whiffen, research officer at Transparency International UK, said: “It will make troubling reading for many that a former prime minister can meet with his past colleagues in government on behalf of a paying client, yet there are no enforceable rules to prevent this from happening.”

Whiffen added: “Given what we know now about his lobbying for Greensill, the appearance of David Cameron elsewhere in official transparency disclosures suggests that was not an isolated attempt by him to exert influence in Whitehall after leaving office.”

But a spokesman for the former PM said the meeting was “in no way connected to government contracts”.

During his time as prime minister, Cameron set up Genomics England. A £78 million deal between Genomics England and Illumina was later announced.

Cameron was signed up as an adviser to Illumina in 2018. When he was given the role, he said he “would not play any role in contract negotiations between Genomics England (or DH) and Illumina”.

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It comes after Cameron acknowledged mis-steps over the Greensill Capital lobbying controversy.

He said that having “reflected on this at length” he accepts there are “important lessons to be learnt”.

The scandal surfaced when it emerged the Conservative privately lobbied ministers, including with texts to Chancellor Rishi Sunak, to win access to an emergency coronavirus loan scheme for his employer, the scandal-hit financier Lex Greensill.

The total number of ministers to be entangled in the controversy reached four when it was reported that Cameron arranged a “private drink” between Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Greensill to discuss a payment scheme later rolled out in the NHS.

Cameron also emailed a senior Downing Street adviser pressing for a rethink on Greensill’s application for access to emergency funding.