Kwasi Kwarteng said in the “real world” people contact ministers and MPs “all the time” as he backed the Prime Minister over his text exchanges with billionaire Sir James Dyson.

It comes after the lobbying of senior Government ministers has dominated the headlines over the past few weeks – most recently with the expose of text messages between the PM and Sir James.

It was revealed on Wednesday that the inventor texted Mr Johnson in March last year to get assurance that his staff would not face a change in their tax situation if they came to the UK to help make ventilators in response to Covid-19.

Mr Kwarteng rowed in behind the PM today, arguing that Mr Johnson “averted an even greater crisis” on ventilators through his correspondence with Sir James.

The Secretary of State told Sky News: “I think that in the real world, in reality, people are contacting ministers, contacting MPs, all the time.

“Business people are contacting MPs all the time, constituents also contact me on my phone.

“I think that in a modern democracy it’s very good that people actually can have direct access to ministers and people who are taking responsibility.”

Mr Kwarteng added: “In this particular instance, I think we’re trying to create a story where there isn’t one.”

He added: “I don’t think it is a drip-drip of sleaze. Clearly, we need to have very, very high standards in public life and I think there were issues around Greensill.

“I hasten to add that we have got about six committees looking at the Greensill issue.”

During Wednesday’s Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Johnson said he made “no apology” for exchanging text messages with Sir James.

The PM hit back at Sir Keir Starmer’s questions: “If he’s referring to the request from James Dyson, I make absolutely no apology at all for shifting heaven and earth and doing everything I possibly could, as I think any prime minister would in those circumstances, to secure ventilators for the people of this country.

“And to save lives and to roll out a ventilator procurement which the Labour-controlled Public Accounts Committee themselves said was a benchmark for procurement.”

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