Chequers guestlist revealed

By Liz Stephens

The prime minister’s guest list for Chequers has been released and it proves you can’t be too careful about the company you keep.

Sir Fred Goodwin, the former head of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) was entertained by the PM just a month before RBS announced it lost £24.1 billion in 2008.

Sir Fred’s £700,000 a year pension award was the subject of widespread condemnation.

Also at Chequers was Lord Myners, the City minister who led the government charge against Goodwin. Sadly, the guestlist does not reveal whether they attended on the same night.

For other guests, the invitation proved to be a poisoned chalice.

Sir Victor Blank, former chairman, and Eric Daniels, former chief executive, of Lloyds TSB agreed to clear the way for a merger with HBOS after meeting the prime minister at a dinner on September 15th 2008.

Despite competition issues the Lloyds Banking Group was formed but it was later revealed that Sir Victor and his executives had little idea how much trouble HBOS was in.

Eric Daniels later confessed to a parliamentary select committee that Lloyds did not carry out a full due diligence investigation before doing the deal.

The government now holds a 65 per cent stake in Lloyds.

An invitation to Chequers also came as a kiss of death for ministers Margaret Beckett, Des Browne and Geoff Hoon, who all left the government at the last reshuffle.

The Chequers guestlist reveals an eclectic mix of media personalities attended dinners – but very few journalists.

Entertainers Jimmy Carr and Bruce Forsyth and John Motson, the veteran football commentator, were in attendance.

Meanwhile although Brownite favourite Ed Miliband was invited, his brother David, who toyed with the idea of a leadership challenge last year, was not.

The list of dinner guests was one of a series of records released by Downing Street to MPs yesterday before the parliamentary recess.