Fox’s friend Werritty gets free office from Tory donor
And why did Adam Werritty say he was from the ‘office of Dr Fox’ when he booked into the Shangri-La, Dubai?
AS LIAM FOX awaits the results of investigations into whether he broke the ministerial code, the London media have reporters and sources from Dubai to Colombo to London producing new reports questioning the probity of his and Adam Werritty's working relationship. Here are five of today's new stories:
THE TORY DONOR AND THE FREE OFFICEAdam Werritty is given free office space by one of the Conservative Party's biggest donors, Michael Hintze, the founder of the CQS hedge fund, The Daily Telegraph has revealed.
Hintze is said to be worth £500m and has given the Tory party and individual Tory MPs nearly £1.5m over the past decade.
He also supplied a private jet for Fox and Werritty to fly from the US back to London earlier this year, as the two men returned from one of the 18 foreign trips they have made together since May 2010.
The Telegraph learned about the CQS office arrangement from an unnamed former girlfriend who says she had a relationship with Werritty between April and August this year. "He's charming," she said. "Genuinely a really, really charming guy, who is very, very down-to-earth."
THE VISIT TO THE SHANGRI-LA HOTELThe Guardian claims to have seen hotel records from the Shangri-La Hotel in Dubai which show that when Adam Werritty booked into the five-star hotel earlier this year, he described his position as "office of Dr Liam Fox" and named his company as "Atlantic Bridge", the right-wing body on which he used to serve as executive director.
The hotel disclosure throws fresh doubt on Fox's claim that Werritty always operated in "a private capacity", says The Guardian.
Shangri-La staff told The Guardian it was normal for the named company to pay all or part of the bill but could not confirm whether this was the case here. They also said Werritty gave a contact address at the Houses of Parliament.
THE SRI LANKA ARMS CONNECTIONThe Sri Lankan government asked Adam Werritty to lobby the UK government for arms and aviation supplies, according to Channel 4 News sources in Colombo. Werritty's trips there were met by the Sri Lanka government.
Furthermore, the Sri Lankan government is known to have paid out large sums to public relations and lobbying firms in the West in an effort to polish the country's tarnished image since the brutal civil war ended in May 2009. According to C4's sources, "This was exactly what Mr Werritty was involved in discussions about".
Both Fox and Werritty have visited Sr Lanka at least once a year over the past decade, according to C4 News. A spokesman for the Defence Secretary told C4: "Dr Fox's visits to Sri Lanka in opposition have been to promote post-conflict reconciliation and development. Any suggestion otherwise is without foundation and is insulting."
THE ONE-MAN INTELLIGENCE SERVICEAdam Werritty operated as a "one-man intelligence service" for Liam Fox, helping him overcome "Whitehall inertia", according the The Times.
The practice began when Liam Fox made overseas trips in opposition and has continued since the Tories came to power in May 2010.
On issues as wide-ranging as peace in Sri Lanka, Iran's naval capability and Israeli security, the aim was to ensure that Fox's foreign policy vision — "often hawkish and sometimes at odds with government policy" — did not get clogged up by Foreign Office civil servants.
Friends of Werritty have told The Times that he was driven by patriotism not financial gain. When Fox and Werritty make a toast, "It is to Queen and country".
THE OTHER MAN ON THE NIGHT OF THE BURGLARYLiam Fox was not alone in his London flat when it was burgled one night early last year – there was a "younger man" staying there too, the Sun reveals today.
Fox has confirmed the story. It was not Adam Werritty, he said, but another friend from out of town. According to friends of the Defence Secretary, the man stayed the night after having drinks with Fox.
The Defence Secretary says he never tried to hide the fact that there was someone staying there that night and is now looking into why Tory Party officials claimed at the time – shortly before the General Election - that he was alone.
The Sun also reports that a YouGov poll commissioned by the paper has found that only 19 per cent of British people think Fox should keep his job. ·
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